Monday, 22 February 2010

Misguided Ads

What are the people devising tv ads thinking of at the moment? All the way through the Australian Open, Panasonic was trying to get us to buy their air conditioners. Yet, although it was as hot as I can remember it being in my home town, I was never tempted for a moment. Who would be when what they were offering was a box full of strangers stuck to your kitchen wall? And now Toyota is enticing us with a car that you start with a power button (what happened to car keys, incidentally?), which releases your own personal team of tumblers. They seem to go with you everywhere, somersaulting behind you, in front of you, turning in perfect formation, no matter how far or fast you travel. As well as this eerie group - could they be lost Romanians, left over from Ceausescu's Olympic dreams or failed synchronised swimmers trying out for a job in the circus? - huge red cannons are shown rising slowly from suburban gardens to left and right, spurting out more tumblers, great sprays of them, shooting up into the evening sky. And to top it all Ford is getting in on the act. The advertisement for their latest model suggests that, if you buy it, wherever you drive you will be permanently surrounded by a five-man-thick ring of paparazzi - it's that attention getting apparently.
Our lives and our cities are getting more and more overpopulated. Crowding is one of the major causes of stress. If you decide to get a car, it's more than likely that part of your reason for doing so is that you want to get away from other people - by using the car instead of packed public transport or as a way of getting out of the city altogether. And when you do get home - either via public transport or private car - you want to close the door knowing that you are alone, within your own private haven, protected from the mass of people you've had to deal with all day. Even a hint that you haven't shut them out, that they're actually still with you, queuing up to peer through a peephole that you've paid for, is completely offputting - to me anyway. And, as for cars, what happened to shots of curving coastal roads and no sign of anyone for miles around? That's the one I'll buy - the model that comes equipped with empty landscapes and total solitude guaranteed.

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