Time for a rant…

… about some really irritating developments in TV advertising.

I apoplogise in advance, but I think some of these peeves have been simmering for a while now, and it would be healthier all round if I can permit myself a little vent. There are two advertising trends at the moment which are really starting to grate.

The first is when the advertiser treats us like imbeciles, incapable of logical thought. Two examples:

1 – the dishwasher tablet which is sold on the premise that, if you don’t use it, filth accumulates in your dishwasher’s plumbing tubes and is then swilled around your cutlery and crockery, bathing them in a vile brew which is, by implication, not far short of raw sewage. Of course, being imbeciles we fail to notice that the pipes into the dishwasher come from the water main, and are presumably not already clogged with sewage; and the pipes out of the dishwasher do not convey anything back into it.

2 – the kitchen soap dispenser whose great selling point is that it includes a sensor, so that you can get your dollop of soap without having to do anything insanitary like press down on a squirter. Again, being imbeciles, we have never noticed that the first thing you do after pressing down on a (presumably plague-ridden) soap dispenser is… wash your hands.

Here’s the enigma: are these advertisements fatally flawed, foolishly insulting their target market… or are they perfectly crafted, aimed precisely at a market of imbeciles?

The other irritant is a variant on the old “vox pop” technique. Classically, this involves a reassuring third party, such as an interviewer or someone in a white coat, getting totally spontaneous product endorsements out of enthusiastic consumers who are totally surprised at the effectiveness of the product.

The variant (toothpaste being far and away the worst offender) is that when sound-editing your vox pops, you have to remove tiny snippets of silence from between random words. The result sounds something like this:

“I had never realisedthat some things I eatevery day, suchas battery acid, can eataway at tooth enameland cause cavities andbrain rot.”

Why? Why do they do this?

I am seriously considering applying for that job, snipping out the tiny gaps between words in fatuous vox pops. Then, like one of my literary heroes, Doktor Murke, I would splice them carefully together again and luxuriate in the resulting silence. Listening to it might even bring my blood pressure down again…

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