Wednesday, 24 March 2010


I've been wanting to write a literal translations piece on advertisements for a while now, but since it has already been done by somebody much better than I could ever do it, I decided to leave the subject alone. However, the recent influx of informercials hasn't been tackled yet (to my knowledge), so I'll take that one on, thank you very much.

I don't know what television is like in other English speaking countries, but over here, we have government sponsored advertising campaigns for just about every aspect of our lives over here. The majority contain useful lifestyle tips on how not to kill yourself such as "Don't drive like a narcoleptic amputee" or "Narcotics make you act like a twat", which is usually very sensible advice.

Although these adverts contain sensible advice, I do, however, have one major gripe with them as a whole. Now, I'm not trying to suggest that the information they convey is obvious, unnecessary, and downright insulting to those of us who are in possession of a functioning brain stem, but if you, say, took a small child aside and asked him or her if they understood that consuming copious amounts of a mind-altering substance could potentially lead to fatal accidents, you'd be offending their intelligence. Still, this advert was broadcast as a precaution against binge drinking.

But if binge drinking isn't your particular vice, don't worry, because we have a whole sackful of legal stuff that you can't enjoy any more. Take smoking, driving, casual sex, or being a blubbery fatty. Feel guilty, you self indulgent fool? You should do.

In all seriousness, a lot of them carry an important message and are often much better than the usual adverts you see and being sold a bunch of claptrap that you don't need. However, what about the videos that miss the mark? The ones that try to be serious or shocking, but somehow come out amusing or foolish?

Take this advert about talking to our children about alcohol. Sensible message indeed, but I happen to find it absolutely hilarious. The second girl is especially funny when she says "someone will pressure me for 'shecksh' ". Albeit, this might be down to my own immaturity, or the fact that so many of these "shock ads" are on telly these days that I've become totally desensitised to it, but that particular advert strikes me as humorous.

Then you have the Talk To Frank adverts, which usually try and include some oddball humour to discourage drug use. This one is a particularly good example. Notice that there seem to be more positive effects than negative? I'll take a little bit of memory loss if cannabis helps me to be more happy, talkative, and chilled out at the same time. Sounds like a fair a trade off.

I just wish more public information adverts were like this one about using a handkerchief. If more public information adverts were this aloof and inconsequential to everyday living, perhaps I wouldn't feel so god damned guilty all the time. Every time you make a purchase, say something, go anywhere, or do anything, there's an advert to remind you about the dangers of it. Sleep well.