Didn’t pay TV, like Foxtel, originally have little or no advertising? Isn’t that why we paid and continue to pay, for all the repeats, so we could watch them without the commercials that came with free to air telly?
I’m pretty sure that 10 or 12 years ago, the number of ads on Foxtel were nothing like now. It’s hard to work out which is on screen longer, the repeated repeat show or the commercials before, during and after the repeat. I guess that’s not really fair saying after, because an after really becomes a before, does it not?
I don’t watch much telly. Most of my viewing is what I hear or see when passing the telly to and fro. When I do sit to watch something, that’s usually when the show breaks for the next string of commercials. So I’ll have a shower, then make a coffee and by this time the commercials have almost finished. This can be a problem if I’ve already showered, so it’s either another shower and coffee or endure the ads created by the advertising geniuses (genii) of this country.
It’s a few years ago now, probably mid 1980’s, but I remember a tv news reader being suspended for saying the word ‘sh#t’. He thought he was off air but a 2 or 3 second mistake (not his own) sent his off-air naughty word into living rooms. For this verbal outrage he was suspended from presenting the news for a week or so. In todays climate of who gives a stuff?, he’d probably get the thumbs up from the channels executives and given a weeks bonus pay for the extra publicity.
Which leads me to the current standards of commercials that are viewed by just about every soul in this country. While the majority of ads are perfunctory, non offensive, clever or even funny, there are those in a class of their own. I call it Limbo Advertising; as in, how low can you go? A touchy, subjective area of below the belt selling that makes me wonder where this is all heading.
I have just a few examples to mention and will kick off with;
- Get the F ‘n’ L look with Fructis Full and Luscious fortifying shampoo.
F ‘n’ L, I reckon an advertising guru from Garnier overheard this unoriginal gem on a packed primary school bus. Maybe it works though; when I was having a commercial shower a couple of nights ago I noticed a bottle of it hanging from the shower arm.
Do these creative blockheads have little kids?
- Bonds talking testicles for mens underwear.
Great balls of fire, is nothing sacred? I almost feel violated. Why the hell does everyone need to know how things work in my thunderies? The creative genius for this concept of advertising must have caught the same school bus as the Garnier Guru.
Giving the testicles an affectionate title of ‘the boys’, hoping for their adoption as a household saying, is just plain irritating. The humour of the video ads has been described by some as hilarious. Embarrassing or Humour Neutral is my rating. You know, like Open Slather’s stab at humour. Sorry ‘boys’.
Personally, the undies they are flogging with the stitching and secret exit remind me of the old white Y fronts my Dad used to wear. Not a good look in my book, but then everything old becomes new again I guess. Another thought; their looks are really irrelevant are they not? After all, under most circumstances, who else besides those you live with will be seeing them? Don’t answer if you don’t want to incriminate yourself.
One thing did catch my attention however, through watching the undie ads. Discrimination. That’s right, discrimination.The undies with the sneaky exit, as with the fly on mens’ jeans etc, appear to favour right handers….. or is that left handers?
- Carefree Ultra Thin Pads – with wings.
Again diving into the past; when a young shaver, my first official job was as a casual shop assistant on Saturday mornings in a little grocery store in Sydneys’ western suburbs. A little variety store with a solid function in the neighbourhood. Bread, milk (glass bottles), fruit and veggies, ice cream in a cone, cold meat and kerosene, shoelaces, needles, pins and cotton. You could also buy Bex Powders singularly or in a box, yellow and black I think. Remember the ad, aimed at women with a sore back or headache? A cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down. Three steps to feeling better.
Behind me, where I stood behind the counter, were shelves from floor to ceiling. It took me a while to learn the layout of items. Often (by women) I was handed a note or followed a pointing finger or a nod with eye directions to an item residing in the shelves behind me. This item was wrapped in plain brown paper. Sometimes, a woman would just straight out ask for a packet of Modess though not in a loud voice.
Having sisters meant that Modess weren’t a mystery to me, but that was all. This was the womens’ domain, a natural womanly thing that was not really my business. Initially it was a little awkward for me as it clearly was for many of the women buying the item wrapped in plain brown paper. Less awkward for me as time moved on, but not necessarily for the women.
It’s different now, isn’t it? Everyone can talk and laugh or commiserate about …. such things. Anyone with a telly can thank the advertising agencies for such a raised awareness level of, well you know, women’s things. Hell, we guys can sit down and have an intelligent conversation with the girls about … you know what. We can compare size, performance, fit, visibility, wings and aerodynamics of …. these things.
Well not everyone I guess. Why do I have to know everything about women and pads or whatever? I only want to know what is really, really necessary. A need to know basis. Thanks to the commercials, I now wonder about any female I see wearing white from the waist down.
From a hushed request for pads in brown paper to HD full screen images of pads with wings, bike riding crutchy close-ups and winged girls concert watching on their guys shoulders. The mind boggles.
What about the ad where a guy is plastered with Libra Invisible pads? Omg, what mastermind got this junk to the screen?
Do women like these ads? Are they useful, embarrassing, annoying? I know many other commercials were short lived on the screen due to incredibly poor taste and presentation, some portraying women as having something wrong with them. Check this ad just above. And the shorts. Caption this if you’re game.
What will ads be like in five or 10 years from now? Twenty years from now?
In this country we have an Advertising Standards Bureau who, amongst other things, adjudicate on public complaints about certain ads. I’ve read a few of their decisions and agree with some, not others. A subjective area. The Bureau appoints members to the Advertising Standards Board.
Like movie censorship and the news media, The Australian Standards Board regulate, in their opinion, what is or is not acceptable viewing for me. That does not mean they are right.
I think the advertising agencies will continue to push as far as they can go under the guise of apparent cleverness. You see, while I can identify with the talking testicles taking a dip, the undies being flogged are irrelevant to this reaction. And if I lived in Melbourne, at some time I’ll likely be confronted by giant testicles on the side of a building. How weird is that? What next?
Sometimes I wonder how visitors to the country see us. Newly arrived, from anywhere in the world, what do they think when they flick on the telly in their motel room and sample our ads?
To the Advertising Standards Board I say spare a thought for a young man in his teens and his new girlfriend, sitting side by side in the lounge room meeting her parents, the telly on to break the ice. During one of those quiet, awkward moments what’s likely to pop up on the screen?
Nothing less than two talking testicles choking on powder and a crutchy close-up with invisible wings.
Words for today; Less is more — Less is more
More to come; same blog time, same blog channel