…the answer is, “no”.
We see on average 3,500 brand images a day, fleetingly or full on, from TVs, magazines, newspapers and, increasingly, on our computers, tablets and smartphones. But we see them, too, on billboards and buses, in taxis, on the tube, on trains and in stations, and even in hospitals and schools. Is there a difference and should we do anything about it?
Of course we shouldn’t do anything about it. Private organisations have bought space from other private organisations in order to advertise their wares. So what? While I don’t much like intra-programme adverts on the television and avoid them by time shifting, I wouldn’t argue that they shouldn’t be allowed to do it, that is, well, totalitarian.
This, though, is Guardianland and their first reaction to anything of which they disapprove is to ban it.
The difference is choice. We can decide what stations to watch, websites to look at or magazines to buy. But we can’t choose not to be in public spaces, to walk down streets, get on buses or the tube or reasonably expect our children not to do the same.
Yeah, and I choose to ignore the billboards. It isn’t difficult. Anyone can do it even the cretins who write for CiF.
So where is the harm in outdoor adverting and should we be allowed to choose?
There isn’t any and we can. Nothing to see here, move along.
The harm is the same as for other advertising. Images of perfect bodies, flash new cars or cheap fast food are researched, tested, designed and plastered everywhere to make you feel anxious, insecure or become obese. Adverts are not there to inform but to sell one thing: unhappiness.
Oh, FFS! Are these people for real? I mean, really. I look or not at adverts and am unmoved by them. I am not made unhappy because I don’t have a six-pack or the latest fast car. They do not sell me unhappiness, they make their wares available for me to look at if I choose to do so. If not, I ignore them, like any grown adult can. Just say “no”.
To those who say “just say no” I would suggest they look at themselves and their wardrobe and the infinite choices they make to belong to one particular tribe and then look around them at the way in which everyone else is doing the same. The advertising industry exists to ensure it becomes culturally and emotionally impossible to refuse.
Bollocks on stilts. Just say “no”. It’s very, very easy and, no, I don’t belong to any tribe and I am perfectly capable of resisting the ad man’s lure.
We then get unmitigated claptrap about them causing mental illness, fer cryin’ out loud. This is bunkum of the first degree. It’s advertising, that is all. The manufacturers showcasing their latest product. It’s as old as the hills and if you want to shift your stuff, you have to let your potential market know that it is there to be shifted. All that Neal Lawson tells us here is that he is somewhat weak minded if adverts affect him in any other way than flogging stuff.
And the thing about outdoor advertising is that you can’t not look and you can’t escape.
Yes, you can. I manage it every day. I go past lots of billboards and they don’t register because I’m not interested in what they are selling. There’s one at the top of the road from here and unless I went out and looked I couldn’t tell you what the product is it’s selling, despite passing it twice on Wednesday.
Still, this twat has an answer for his simple minded inability to resist the lure of adverting:
If outdoor adverts were banned…
Campaigners in Bristol are already on to it. They have instigated an online petition to get the council to ban outdoor adverts and are calling it “Bristol: the city that said no to advertising”.
Well, I sure as hell won’t be signing it. I have no problem with adverts on the streets of Bristol – even if I can’t remember what they are advertising. I’d much rather we banned nasty authoritarian control freaks such at the authors of CiF – that would be doing the world a favour and a half.