Article February 10, 2016

Advertising Faux Pas

The real art of modern advertising is to conceal your pecuniary intentions amidst a beguiling story, preferably one with only the most specious link to the actual goods you want to sell:

Advertising exec: So, you want to advertise your well-known department store?
Client: Quite so, we were thinking of having Clive from electronics walk around in his beige suit talking about the quality of our products and reasonable prices.
Advertising exec: Umm, we could do that, or… we could make a short art-house film about an old man living in a shed on the moon and the whole thing could be a sort of metaphor for isolation in our fragmented post-industrial society.
Client: But what’s that got to do with our TVs?
Advertising exec: Nothing, that’s the point, you moron.

Some experts have suggested that the modern advert has evolved to the point where it may soon negate its own existence. Rumours abound that the next John Lewis Christmas advert will be nothing other than 24.6 seconds of blackness, followed by the sound of Alan Sugar sighing emphatically. The most popular game of 2016 is expected to be “guess the advert”, a family game in which the viewers must guess whether the minute-long gritty depiction of World War One is trying to sell them chocolate or soap.

Of course, in the good old days, you know, where everything was good, adverts were rather more direct. They may have been casually racist, sexist or in some other way demeaning to minorities, but they were straight talking – sort of like Donald Trump actually… Just to clarify, I am being ironic. With that in mind – take a look at these woefully misguided advertisements from yesteryear, and may you laugh, cringe and be appalled: