Friday, October 18, 2019

Snake Oil: completely normal

Advertisers push boundaries, deliberately creating ads which will cause controversy because controversy sells. Sex is also a great seller so if you combine the two you, ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. Even if the ad gets pulled because the standards council, or whoever has jurisdiction, says the ad has gone too far, the product will still get a boost. Controversial ads never lose.

I decided earlier in the week to not buy a particular product because of its use of women in sexy sleepwear. The women are depicted-let's saying putting the product on. If I mention camera angles I think I've said enough. I then decided to not buy any product whose advertising contravened my personal standards. Mainly in the area of sex which regular readers will know is a hobby horse of mine, but generally anywhere where I felt offended or didn't like the message the ad was projecting.

And then came Libra with it's "periods and menstrual blood are completely normal so why cant we show them in an ad." What do you think the chances are of a condom ad being produced which shows another completely normal bodily fluid? We don't have nappy ads which show faeces, do we? Sexual intercourse is also normal.  We used to little see very in films, and none on television, but is okay now. You can't escape it. Sex is used in some films even when it is of no relevance at all to the plot. Maybe we should depict sexual intercourse in ads for beds. Anyway, I digress.

Feminine hygiene ads have traditionally been a bit weird, for men and women, but I think has changed. Some companies have made some very humourous ads which were designed to defuse the awkwardness surrounding this natural function of the human female. There's no reason to be weird about it. My wife and I talk about it in the same way we would discuss what we're having for dinner. The question is: do we want to see it on the TV while we're eating dinner?

Advertising can do a lot of good. It can be highly effective at educating people, and changing people's opinions. However, it is also a front line weapon in the war against decency and moral standards.

I understand what Libra are doing with their ad, but I think the logical extension of their justifying argument takes us into dangerous water. It smells a bit like the pervasive and divisive social engineering undertow of which the majority of people are blithely ignorant. At times the effect of snake oil is subtle, being applied gradually and in small doses. At other times, it's more like a snake bite. Is there an anti-venom to fight against this poison?

Here's the ad if you haven't seen it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment