Wednesday 22 July 2015

Are You Influenced by Advertising?

I’ve always insisted that advertising does not influence me. I avert my eyes during the TV adverts and, when I look at my Twitter timeline, I ignore the obligatory advert flashing up just below the top tweet. Advertising passes me by, or does it?

I belong to a monthly discussion group and this afternoon the proposal was that advertising is evil. The discussion went something like this:

Surely we can ignore advertising. No we can’t. We might think that we are ignoring it but it works its way into our psyche.

Surely advertising can't harm us. Yes, it can. In the last century there were many adverts that would now make us throw up our hands in horror; adverts for smoking that involve babies (see left), adverts using the female body to sell cars, adverts convincing us that it is good to eat sugar as it helps weight loss.

We discussed the OXO family adverts, that ‘perfect’ 1960s nuclear family. We remembered the coffee romance adverts and the bizarre Meercat phenomenon. Without adverts there would be no newspapers as they rely on the revenue but then surely prices would be lower if companies didn’t have to pay such a lot for advertising.

We talked about how annoying it is when you click on a website about, for example, Spanish holidays and then get bombarded by adverts about such holidays. It’s this type of thing that is unnerving. Advertisers are delving into our lives, finding out things about us that maybe we don’t want them to know.

What do you think about advertising?

One of my favourite TV adverts (apart from Nick Kamen in the launderette, of course) is Maureen Lipman and the ‘ology’ advert for BT. 

What’s your favourite advert?