Friday, March 22, 2019

Snake Oil: Maltesers best weekend

Image result for maltesersI was beginning to think I had this all wrong until I Googled the ad I'm going to talk about, and discovered it was the subject of an official complaint to the Advertising Standards Bureau. In short there were a couple of interpretations of this ad which deemed it inappropriate. Then there was Mars Confectionary's official response. I suggest you read it, both for a laugh, and for an absolutely perfect example of snake oil.*

Some people, including myself, read a sexual inference in the Maltesers television ad. Naturally that says something about me, but I own that. Other people saw an obvious reference to drugs, as in pill popping. The company says it is simply about women sharing stories of fun weekends while enjoying chocolate during an office break. They're just bonding.

Everyone knows advertisers push the envelope. Many over the years have used blatantly inappropriate ads; unconcerned about being fined and having the ad pulled, because the short term impact from running a controversial ad is often worth it. Controversy equals publicity which usually works in the company's favour. Usually.

I've seen ads which I have been offended by, and as a result made a decision to not purchase that product. Although I like them, I don't buy Maltesers often. Now I don't want to buy them. Whether it's my fault for immediately connecting multiple Maltesers with multiple sex partners is a little beside the point. Accusations will follow, but, as Sam Smith sang so well, albeit in a different context, "I know I'm not the only one." Speaking of "not being the only one", Maltesers have produced a number of ads with even more obvious sexual references, so they have a track record here.

I watch ads with a critical eye. I sift them through my world view. I'm interested in what they say about people, in what emotions they appeal to, and what needs they are trying to meet.That's how I roll. Here's the ad if you haven't seen it. What do you think?

Bonus material: One young man's amusing commentary on some Maltesers ads. Language and sexual references warning, but pretty much on the money. 

*The term "snake oil" is being used slightly out of context here. I'm stretching the definition to cover all deceptive and/or offensive advertising.(according to me.)

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