Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Advertisements - lies couched in hyperbole wrapped in statistics

Ah, the joys of Christmas... the season of lies, lies and more lies. This is the time in the UK that spawns an extraordinary number of advertisements that are 100% more nauseating than at any other time in the year. You get to see ads at Christmas time (or during the 30-45 day build-up to The Day) that never get aired at other times - and I cant tell you how thankful I am for that! Now if only they'd stop showing them at Christmas as well...

All advertisements, if you ask me, are a crock of lies. Some more than others. I mean the ones that use picture-perfect, stick-thin, flawless models to advertise skin cosmetics, hair-care products and perfume - those are especially blatant in their claims and/or dim-witted in concept and execution.

I dont actually MIND watching someone like Natalie Imbruglia (an Australian pop-star and actress) sing the praises of some wrinkle de-creaser on TV - she's flawlessly lovely. Or Claudia Schiffer, for that matter, telling the world that she would have lifeless blond hair if she didnt use a certain conditioner. Or Andie McDowell coming out coyly with the information that she covers up ALL the grey in her hair by the regular use of a home hair colouring agent.

But to imply that Natalie would have wrinkles if she didnt use Product A, or Claudia would have crunchy dry hair if she didnt use Product B... well, how stupid are we common, wrinkled, crunchy-haired people supposed to BE? Could you imagine, for even ONE moment, that a model as rich and famous as Claudia Schiffer would suffer even ONE strand of dry hair on her head? Ha! She probably has a whole beauty salon worth of minions just to look after her crowning glory! And as for Andie - of course she colours her hair at home herself. Could there be any other possibility for a famous movie star???

What I hate about "real" advertisements featuring "regular" women is that they LIE! Blatantly, openly and obviously lie while trying to make out that they're speaking gospel truth. And what's worse, they use dubious statistics to back it all up. For instance: "89% of women who used our de-wrinkler agreed that their wrinkles improved after 6 weeks". Very impressive - until you read the small print which says that a total of 50 women were surveyed. Yep, that certainly represents the majority of women in the country!

And perfumes... perfume adverts mostly lie low for most of the year. But at the moment, there are about a dozen adverts for perfume on TV, and ALL of them drive me crazy. My favourite blood-pressure-raiser has a sylph-like creature, clad in a minimal pink floaty dress, leaping dreamily up trying to catch pink balloons in a particularly dim-witted manner... if you saw anybody do that in reality, I guarantee you'd make an emergency call to the nearest loony shelter.

I DO like some ads - humorous ones, for example, are always welcome. Those that are NOT based on reality, those that rely on exaggeration for emphasis are cool. Since nobody who watches television can escape advertisements, at the very least, the ads should be watchable. I like ads that are totally deviant from reality - at least nobody's pretending to be telling the truth, and everybody has a good time. Watchers included. Especially me.


Harish said...

And that's exactly why there's something about these Fevicol ads. Brilliant. :)

hari said...

Hi Shyam,

Unfortunately not everybody thinks as rational as you. I have seen people buy goods only after seeing the ads or just believing the impressions created therein.

Yes, as you said the ads would much more realistic if they were not featuring the same celebrities everywhere. Instead a fresh face would make much more impact.

Sowmya said...

I agree some of these ads are ridiculous; the ones that gets to me is the Hamam ad where the mother sends her daughter to buy soap and then is worried that she did not mention which soap to buy. I will nominate this for the worst ad ever!!
But there are others which compensate for these stupid ads; One ad I really like is the Manhattan ad - where the baby chooses his name.

Manders said...

I <3 it, i dont mind ads on television because you can just change the channel but yea they really do, over do it. However, imagine you go to the movies and are pumped to watch the movie, first of all they show you comercials now, which is horrible i did not pay to watch comercials if i wanted to watch comercials i could have sat at home for an extra ten minutes, and then they show you a thousand preivews which isnt neccessarily that bad, but its the comcercials im at the movies damn you! do i reallly want to see a comcercial about teeth whitener? or a mini suv? no i want to see dancing hotdogs! and soda pops!

haha sry this is complete randomness, have a wonderful holiday!

Prabz said...

Woah.. lots of lies but there are a lotta creative ones too.. I really liked this HP digital camera Ad.. i think many indian ads are taking this cue nowadays..

Ravi said...

Shyam, how right you are re: "I DO like some ads - humorous ones, for example, are always welcome." The word that is being coined for this ( thanks to an article in India Today ) is "advertainment"!! Cool, huh, this word play? :)