Monday, August 15, 2011

new adventures in advertising

One of the greatest benefits of digital television is the ability to pause and resume when you like. Not just so you can go off and take a shite without missing the lovely Mary Kennedy easing you into a story about cheese carpentry in Bagenalstown, but so you can leave it for ten minutes or so and then be able to fast-forward through all the ad breaks on whatever show you're watching. No more Pat Shortt singing some bollocks about something or other, no more Simon Delaney and Craig Doyle selling you everything, no more shit McDonald's ads that only serve to suggest that the future is nothing but manky food, mutants and morons.

It all feels positively utopian, quite frankly. I was starting to wonder if there's some sort of catch to it all, as though my refusal to watch these ads mean I'll have to suffer advertising in some other way. I'm soft on it in many ways, recognising its financial necessity in certain contexts. There are, for example, some bloggers who I appreciate need to feature ads on their sites in order to do what they do to the highest possible standards. So I click on those ads from time to time and, even though I've no intention of buying anything, dilly-dally wherever they've landed me for a while - just so the corporate bastards don't recognise that my click-through was executed without even a morsel of consumer intent. I also understand that TV funds itself through advertising, though I wish a state-funded station like RTÉ would be a little more BBC and a lot less ITV when it comes to poxy commercials.

Turns out that if you've found a way of circumventing telly advertising then the cinema is where the fuckers get you back. Captive in your big seat under a pound of popcorn and a three litre bucket of coke they will show you the gammiest, gratingest ads for about ten minutes before the trailers even start. They will show you one of those hideously unfunny Red Bull ads, and some weird fucker behind you will chuckle at it. Sometimes they'll show you a bizarre propaganda film for the EU, filled with the kind of sunshine and cornfields rhetoric that Pravda would have rejected for not being subtle enough. If you're anything like me you'll start getting thoroughly tetchy and take to groping your wife for distraction.

But at this point, fifteen to twenty minutes after the advertised starting time of the film, the trailers begin and you relax, because trailers make sense and are often what you'll base your next choice of film on. What you won't be familiar with, unless you've been to see Super 8 (or perhaps others) in Cineworld is Take That's cunty heads popping up on screen to introduce their new shit video to their new shit song from some new shit take on The Three Musketeers. Whereupon you think to yourself, "Why am I being forced to watch music videos? I didn't really even know music videos existed anymore, since MTV stopped showing them and went full retard on scripted reality shows instead. They're charging everyone about a tenner to be in here and another tenner for their snacks, should we really have to sit here and take this? Will I just slip out and go for a piss while this is on? You took a piss just before you came in, she'll just think you're masturbating if you go again now. Shit, why did I tell her Mark Owen was my favourite one, I feel a little gay now. Quick, grab her tit and then smile disarmingly so you get away with it. Nicely played."

This is what happens when advertising pounces in whole new ways and pushes us to the limit, my friend: innocent breasts get grabbed and ladies question the sanctity of certain vows they have made. But I believe there is a solution. Among the chin-stroking and musing over the causes of the London riots last week most commentators seemed to overlook Heidegger's trenchant maxim of Dickheads just gonna be dickheads, y'all and leapt into notions that rampant consumerism has led to a culture whereby kids just have to have blingin' trainers - be it by hook, crook or petrol bomb. So the only solution to my mind (and the mind of an Irish 29 year-old bloke who likes a bit of early Dizzee Rascal is exactly the kind of mind that should be consulted) is to ban advertising outright. Just fucking all of it. We'd all  shout at the telly less and go to the cinema more even though we could download films for free, we could put poems and pictures of flowers on buses instead, riots would be averted as teenagers all over the world  learn to just be satisfied with their lot, and mammary glands would be at least 27% less pawed. There is no downside.

From the excellent Photoshoplooter

9 comment(s):

Rosie said...

you'll be delighted to hear about tv3's latest venture - product placement!

i think we may have found another catch.

Jo said...

'They will show you one of those hideously unfunny Red Bull ads, and some weird fucker behind you will chuckle at it.'

I know. It's just not right.

The cinema is also too loud, and the popcorn is too salty and I hate 3D. Just to throw in my thruppence worth, there.

Tessa said...

Hard to believe, but in my day (near the end of the last Ice Age) we LOVED the ads at the flickers. Although we spent most of the actual film parading up and down the aisles to the jax, throwing shapes at the fellas, we were spellbound by the ads. Then we'd all stand around afterwards, sucking on our filterless fags, to discuss the finer points of the latest Coca Cola or Fanta ad. (The Club Orange ones were rubbish.)

In our defence, most of us didn't have tellies and there wasn't the wall-to-wall advertising we're all subjected to now.

Great times.

Umer Munir said...

The war of 'Pepsi vs. Coke' is still going on, but i think 'Coke' is winning!
BTW, Great Post!

Sign: DXF File

Andrew said...

Rosie - I'm only amazed that TV3 haven't been at that shit for years, it seems right up their street. Actually, they most likely have been, it's just that you're now allowed to openly whore yourself out in the Irish Times when you do it.

Jo - Yup, agree with all of those things. I bring my own popcorn in general, as paying 6 quid for it is one of the great insanities of modern life. And 3D is shit, and is proven to cause eye-strain.

Tessa - Not that hard to believe at all. When I was a kid living in Tanzania you wouldn't believe the excitement my cohorts and I felt when a massive 7up billboard was erected. children and teenagers are more drawn to advertising than anyone, presumably because it provides a handy set of aspirations while you're waiting for some real ones to develop.
I also recall a huge amount of enthusiasm for a Snickers ad when I was old enough to know better. Ads can be really enjoyable, but the majority of them aim for flat-out irritation instead.

Andrew said...

Umer Munir - You spammers are getting subtler, aren't you? Go away now.

Kitty Cat said...

Yes! Yes to everything you've just said! We skip the ads thanks to pausey rewindy tv too and few things give me the level of RAGE that ads in the cinema do. Subjecting people to a music video is taking the piss altogether, did they actually make you sit through the whole thing? Bastards!

irish film portal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew said...

Kitty Cat - Yup, the whole fucking thing. Cunts. You know that solo drivel that brandon flowers releases? It was like that but far, far worse, and featured some of the worst lip-synching I've ever seen.