There was an advertisement on the television recently that caught my eye.
The reason I noticed it was that it encapsulated very neatly the signs of our times.
The advertisement was for an automatic liquid soap dispenser.
I have nothing against liquid soap dispensers and have a couple of them in the house. They are neater and handier than a slippery bar of soap. Where the advertised one differed was that you didn’t have to press the plunger – it detected when you placed your hands nearby and duly squirted its liquid.
In other words, it was a useless lump of shit.
There was a time when industry produced items as they were demanded. People wanted a more economical car, or a better vacuum cleaner, and industry responded by producing them. Nowadays it is the other way around. Industry produces some gimmick or other and then tried to convince us that we need it. A classic example of this is the mobile phone market. They produced mobile phones and people were delighted. They then had the idea that a camera was an integral part of a phone, which is a strange leap of logic but the public were sucked in by the idea. They then added more and more gizmos and contraptions and tried to convince us that we were verging on the retarded if we didn’t have a yoke that had a flashy screen were things whizzed around at the slide of a finger. No one asked for all these features – we were just told we had to have them and the gullible public fell into line and bought the damned things.
Our automatic soap dispenser neatly falls into this category. Did anyone ever ask for it? I very much doubt that. Some smart arse in Marketing came up with the idea and thus it is sold to us by telling us our lives aren’t complete without it. The advertisement showed the standard young Yummy Mummy and her two perfect little smiley happy children all beaming from ear to ear as they used the dispenser. “Buy our dispenser and you too can have a gorgeous wife and two beautiful children”
The other aspect of the advertisement was the bit that nauseated me however. The gist of their argument was that people came in from the garden, or out of the jax with their hands infested with all sorts of Ebola and Black Death and then proceeded to press the plunger. Would you want to touch this plunger and run the risk of catching a deadly plague that would turn you into a zombie? Of course not. Use our Automatic Plunger and you will be spared that horrible death. Of course the implication was that if you didn’t buy that useless piece of tat, that you were endangering your children’s lives and were a Bad Person. What they failed to notice was that the natural progression is that if you use a soap dispenser, then the next logical step is to wash your hands, so it doesn’t matter a damn if the previous person had Bubonic Plague, as you are going to wash your hands anyway.
So there you have it – the perfect example of modern society. Gullible to the last and willing to believe anything they see on television, no matter how farcical. Just make ‘em believe their lives aren’t complete and that their children are in danger and you can sell anything.
I despair sometimes.