End Evil

2/03/03 - Advertising

I really hate advertising. It has to be one of the most consistently irritating by-products of the capitalist system. A constant barrage of moronic ideas most of which aren't even aimed at me. Adverts are indiscriminate; they don't care who they annoy just so long as the brand name sticks in your head. I think, if done well, they can stick associations into your sub-consciousness and this is a very dangerous thing, especially for children. I can recall having the feeling of wanting specific things and not really knowing why and I still occasionally feel that way but try not to act on the impulse.

The world of advertising is huge business, all about generating an image for a company and nothing to do with the quality of their goods or the competitiveness of their prices. The most favoured way of selling products seems to be to associate them with sex, doesn't matter what the product is as long as the advert makes you feel horny. Advertising executives then believe you will associate your attraction to sex with their product, as though it is sexually attractive. I resent being made to feel horny against my will.

Adverts also generally seem to be aimed at specific groups of people, the target audience. If you are not part of that target audience the advert is just going to be really annoying but you can follow the clues and guess fairly accurately who they are going for. For example as soon as some classical music plays you can bet there will be an old guy selling life insurance to pensioners, with a free clock so you can count down those last few hours. The way these advertising guys categorise people is disgusting and insults everyone's intelligence.

I remember a Bill Hicks routine where he says if there is anyone from the world of advertising in they should 'do us all a favour and kill yourself, there is no rationalisation for what you do'. He is right, adverts just increase want, they make people want more useless crap that they don't need. People fall for it in their droves, like the fact they recognise something is reason enough it to buy it. It's like taunting poor people with all these wonderful things they could never afford and they see hours of adverts for things they'll never buy in their lifetime, what a waste of everyone's time.

Unfortunately advertising is pretty well dug in, like a big pestilent tic, and it doesn't look like budging anytime soon. The assault is constant and if you live in a city there is no escape. I hate that feeling of memorising something you don't want to know, reading it over and over because it is there, like a billboard you pass everyday on the way to work. Go to some poorer countries and the advertising is even worse, huge coke signs painted on the side of people's houses. Imagine growing up with that symbol on the side of your house, I wonder if the people who live there got anything for it.

Then you hear stuff like the most recognised symbol in the world after the cross is the f*cking big M on McDonald's signs. I can't fully describe how that makes me feel. The latest irritation is this idea that wacky, supposedly surreal adverts are great, the kind of nonsensical gibberish that makes you want to throw the tv out of the window. Or the representation of a certain lifestyle as being in tune with some stupid product most commonly used for 'girl power' ads for beauty products. They ruin songs too, some great songs are played to death and grow duff associations because of adverts.

It seems there is no escape, ads on tv, ads on the radio, billboards in the street and pop-ups on the net an endless cycle of pointlessly distracting drivel. I just wish your tv came with a checkbox - do you wish to receive adverts? And I could check NO! I'm off to hunt down some advertising execs and beam my own adverts into their houses and paint slogans on their cars, the fat soulless whores.

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