The power of advertising

I presume advertising works otherwise there wouldn't be such a big industry built around it.

Of course when the Puritans get their teeth into their latest victim the first thing they scream about is advertising.  Be it alcohol, "fast food", tobacco, salt, sugar or electrofags [damn but that list is growing fast] one of the first things they demand is a ban on all advertising.

Here in Ireland cigarettes are effectively invisible and the only time you will ever see a cigarette packed is when someone takes a pack out of their pocket.  Yet this is considered to be "advertising"?  According to the Puritans, Big Tobacco lures kids into smoking by producing "attractive packets" with fancy colouring and even fancy box shapes all aimed [apparently] at kids.  Now I'm not sure quite how this works as the only time they'll see these packs is at home, as presumably they don't hang around groups of smokers who have been evicted out of pubs and offices.  Nevertheless the Puritans have this strange idea that one glimpse of a packet will drive a kid straight into a lifetime of smoking.  If they see a film with just one smoker in it, 10,000 kids will immediately start on a fifty-a-day habit?  The mere sight of someone using an electrofag will send people into a frenzy of tobacco purchasing?

So advertising must be an incredibly potent force?

I couldn't tell you how many advertisements I have seen nagging us to quit.  Last night Herself was watching something while I stood guard with the mute switch to shut the ads up.  Every ad break they had two ads for the thing and some bloke in the last stages of cancer imploring us to give up the evil habit, so in the course of an hour, that ad was shown about eight times.  Surely the entire population must be smoke free by now if advertising is so effective?

So why does a constantly repeated ad have little effect yet a mere glimpse of a smoker causes kids to buy cigarettes in their droves?  By the Puritans logic, the sight of people not smoking should be sufficient?  Just one ad on the television should do the trick if people are so damned impressionable?  But then the Puritans insist on no-smoking signs being stuck up everywhere, so by the logic of advertising that must just increase the awareness of cigarettes?

If advertising is so incredibly powerful why am I not changing my car every couple of weeks?  Why have I not booked ten holidays this year?  Why haven't I got the latest mobile phone and the fastest broadband speeds?  Why am I not eating yogurt by the bucketful?  Why didn't I buy that lovely gingham dress that Debenhams are advertising?

Well, actually I did but I sent it back.

It didn't fit me.

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The power of advertising — 9 Comments

  1. Logically, you only have to advertise stuff that doesn't sell itself. On that basis, if your TV is showing ad after ad to get people to stop using a product they like but that you can't even advertise…..well, you have to laugh!

    Even worse, the public, and not some multinational, is paying the bill. So much for all those old nannies who said  that commercial TV was dangerous because it persuaded the uneducated to buy useless things they can't afford. Now the nannies are the ones having to advertise rubbish, and we still aren't buying it.

    • There was a bit of an uproar here yesterday when the Irish Cancer Society withdrew financial support from some cancer victims due to "lack of funds".  They have rowed back a bit today especially as it was revealed that the chief executive was pocketing €145,000 plus perks.  How come they had to cut aid to patients yet still have sufficient funds to pay for those fucking ads?

      On the subject of advertising stuff that sells itself, before the days of competition we used to have only one supplier of electricity.  They used to advertise regularly on radio and television.  Did anyone there stop to think that the only way we could get those ads was if we already had electricity?  I could never understand the logic in that. 

      • Yes, Gramps.  I’ve never understood those ads that appear from time to time about Freeview TV.  Now that there’s no analogue TV channels any more, surely the only people now who don’t already have Freeview are those people who don’t have a TV and who thus will never see the ads!

        • Well, there is a certain logic there as it is a viable alternative to Sky and the various cable operators?  I have been more than tempted in the past to switch [though I always get confused between Freeview and Saorview] but Herself loves the film channels and I wouldn't dare argue.

          • So, if you get your TV through Sky, you don't get the Freeview channels?  Really?  I always thought you got Freeview regardless …. just goes to show what I know!

  2. Greetings Grandad !

    I reckon that you should set up an arts installation thingey, with pictures done in Leggo of "Tobacco Dissidents", like your good self, Prof R Lindsen and others. When Leggo refuses to sell you the brickies to complete this great work a huge Twitterstorm will ensue, till they back down and the rightiousness of your cause is embraced by all correct-thinking persons…

    … or maybe not.

    • I would imagine the grandkids have more than enough to create such a work.   And I am extremely flattered that you would put me in the same league as the goof Prof!

  3. I was watching QI last night when I heard of a nice little irony courtesy of Stephen Fry that gave me an inward chuckle. When tobacco advertising was banned in the UK the only winner from this was in fact the tobacco industry, as they no longer had to fork out tens of millions of pounds in advertising revenue! Obviously the same was the case here when Dole Éireann followed suit. Don't you just love ironies? 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Heh!  Not only did they save millions but there wasn't a discernable blip in sales.  They're laughing all the way to the bank.

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