Ciaran Watkins – When Advertising Goes Wrong: Part Eight

Posted on April 4, 2011 by

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Well, it’s finally here. It’s part eight in my critically acclaimed (fnar) Badvertising series. Today, while flicking through the metro on the way to work, I fell upon this absolute abomination of an advert. It actually made me gasp, much to the amusement of the person next to me. I wanted to thrust the advert in their faces and say something about how absolutely horrible it was, and why I gasped, and that if she didn’t do the same then there’s something wrong with her. Here’s what I saw.

Seriously. What the fuck is that? How did the ASA even let that run? What part of that advert is supposed to be a good idea? It makes me genuinely angry!

Okay, deep breaths Ciaran. Deep breaths. Let’s try to break the damn thing down. First thing’s first, we see a man in a hoodie holding a gun. That alone is a terrifying sight. We all know that guns are bad, especially when they’re being pointed at us. We’re also influenced by the media to think that anyone in a hoodie is going to slash us right up to steal the pennies from our back pocket. Put two and two together, and you’ve got a situation that would make any Daily Mail reader absolutely piss themselves.

Here comes the integral part of the campaign, the flakiest of copy, the line “Consequences of 20% cuts to Policing?”. Wait a minute. Wait one fucking minute. Why is this man holding a gun at the camera (us)? Oh wait, because the police services have been cut! Talk about scaremongering! That’s a disgrace. The ‘Police Federation’ whatever that is, (I imagine a federation of policemen and women who oppose the stringent cuts that are happening to most public sectors at the moment) have tried to make the absolutely disgraceful, tenuous, abhorrent link between a cut in police spending, and a non existent statistic of a rise in gun crime. That’s basically saying “Hey you! That’s right, a twenty percent cut in police spending means that armed gangs are going to roam the street, and you’re going to get shot by a hoodie”. What an utter crock of bullshit!

Now I know what you’re going to say, the advert is supposed to make you stop, it’s supposed to make you think, it’s supposed to cause a reaction, which is exactly what it did. Great, the advert has done it’s job then right? Wrong. An advert like this should never run. It’s scaremongering to the ninth degree! They have created a none existent fact and trying to push an agenda through with fear. The thing is, I’m not a seventy year old Daily Mail reader who is terrified of any one wearing a hood because they’ve been conditioned to associate a hood with violence. What I am, is a normal, moderately intelligent human being. The link between the image and copy is just, well, wrong. In all senses of the word! I’m genuinely angry, and advertising shouldn’t do this. I’ve actually shown this ad to a few people and while some agreed with my absolute shock, some thought there was no problem with it. One person actually said “Well yeah, with police cuts of course gun crime is going to rise! It’ll be more dangerous on the streets”. I’m sorry, what? What are you basing that on? Where’s your statistic? Oh right. That made up one.

I decided to try and put this method of advertising to a different approach. My Mum was recently made redundant from Oldham City Council. She works as a Primary school Maths, Science and Assessment advisor. She’s someone who helps teachers understand the best way to teach kids about maths and science. She’s damn good at her job, and has helped quite a number of schools through tough times, and encounters with Ofsted. Let’s apply this idiotic logic to her loss. The cuts to that particular section.

That’s right. All of your children will become strippers because without my Mum and her team teaching standards are going to drop. Can you see how fucking ludicrous that is? If you say no, then I hate you. Please, stop reading into scaremongering of the worst sort, and go outside and live your life. You’re not going to get stabbed by a man in a hoodie just because you saw it on Murder She Wrote. I’ve got a grey hoodie, and I wear it with the hood up! I’m probably the most least likely person to stab anyone.

I think I’m going to need to get my blood pressure checked after that. I mean, Jesus people, just live your lives already! Society really isn’t that bad.

Read more over at Whatever’s In There, Falls Out Here.

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Posted in: Ciaran Watkins