Thursday, 1 January 2015

What the Ad?!

I once heard a comedian ask, "Why are there ads for toilet paper? Are there seriously people out there that aren't buying it and need to be convinced that they need it?" I've wondered this myself just recently.

I don't watch TV much anymore, not just because I don't get very good reception at home, but also because whenever I am near a TV with full reception, there's a myriad of choices and most of them are unappealing and reruns which have been done to death.

My dad had a similar gripe not too long ago. Back 10 years ago or so there were only a handful of channels and you could easily map out exactly what you wanted to watch and spend hours in front of the TV and actually be entertained. Now everything seems to be repeated and there's more ads than actual programming which makes you want to give up on whatever you're watching just because you don't need whatever product you're being convinced to buy.

I get that ads are important for free TV and their sole purpose is to make already rich companies more money by showing a new or improved product in a way that will convince viewers that they must rush out and purchase it as soon as humanly possible. But sometimes they just don't make sense and you almost look forward to seeing the ad come on so you can try and figure out what it's actually trying to sell and how the context is relevant to the product.

I must admit back in highschool I did have 2 favorite ads I loved to watch. One was for Sultana Bran or something which featured the song 'Heard it on the Grapevine'. It was catchy, had a cute dog and the kids in it were around my age so the advertising and marketing team did well there. Of course I didn't actually buy the cereal since it wasn't really my kind of thing, but at the very least I was entertained when it came on TV. Occasionally mum and I would have a mini singalong for the 15-30 seconds it was on screen, our own little bit of fun.

The second was an ad for Tim Tams which featured an attractive guy presumably meant to be a genie in an Arabian-esque setting tempting a girl with a full pack of biscuits. That was genius casting I must say, although I wasn't tempted enough to actually buy the product in question, but I was pleased and amused nontheless.

I recall an ad that was screening a few years ago when I did my first acting class and the teacher asked us which ads we thought were good and why, and which we thought we bad and why. The ad that came to mind I think might have been for an Orange Everyday bank account and featured orangutans or something similar although I could never work out what relevance they had to the product they were selling aside from the possible literary connection of 'orange' and 'orangutan'.

From what I can recall there have only been a few times that I've pestered my parents to take me shopping after seeing an ad for something, most of the time it was sold out by the time I got to the shop, but on a few occasions I've been lucky enough to get the product advertised and I actually wanted although there's always that high and low that comes post-purchase and you're back to waiting for the next amazing thing to be shown and convinced that your life will have a ridiculous amount of meaning and purpose once you acquire said item. Sometimes it is exactly what you need, but I think for a fair few cases consumers get caught up in the frenzy of advertising and once they get it they wonder why they cared so much in the first place.

Advertising works in some cases, not all. Buyer be aware, be entertained and maybe a little confused.

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