Advertism

I’m getting more and more annoyed by adverts. Hopefully, I’ll start talking about adverts in more detail over time, but for now I think I’ll stick to just one example and preface it with my feelings about adverts in general.

I have one of those intensely analytical minds. I don’t really mean that in an arrogant or even a positive way. I analyse everything around me to an insane degree, to the point where my girlfriend won’t let me get started on rants anymore.

Adverts are one such target of my limitless ire. I understand that adverts are there to sell to products to people, and that there’s going to be an element of coercion inherent in a lot of them. That’s okay. In fact, if adverts weren’t being pushy and trying to make me buy a product, then they wouldn’t be doing their job.

Come to think about it, that’s exactly half of the reason why many adverts annoy me – they just aren’t any good. To gain a competitive advantage over your competitors, your advert has to either be better than theirs or you have to hope they don’t bother to advertise at all. So why does every single price comparison site create a single annoying mascot and then reuse and reuse and reuse them until the only thing left to contemplate is whether these site compare prices for assassins?

Then comes the second reason, and it’s one which happens less often but gets me far more annoyed when it does: pushing traditional lifestyle roles on people to try to tell them how they should act (and what they should buy). Often this comes in the form of gender roles – when was the last time you saw a man worried about whether his carpets smelled stale in an advert? Nope, it’s only women, and of course according to the advertisers any self respecting woman is absurdly houseproud, and couldn’t live without regularly giving her soft furnishings a good dose of Febreeze.

The problem here is that ‘traditional’ gender roles are a holdover from a past rampant with misogyny, where women stayed at home, cleaned and looked after their two god-fearing children while the man went out and won some bread while simultaneously slaying a bear. Every call back to this absurd idea that ‘men’ are in charge and women are essentially faithful house cleaners raises the hackles of inner feminist. Still, it could be worse. I could have Sky Sports.

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