Tuesday, October 30, 2007
All adverts are lies. Let's ponder that for a moment.
Okay, we'll return to that later.
Meanwhile, Consumers International (who are unsurprisingly an international consumers organisation) have unveiled their list of the crappest products on the market worldwide.
Top of the tree are sleeping pills marketed at Japanese kids, closely followed by Coca Cola's tap water masquerading as spring water, Kelloggs' sugary breakfast cereals that pretend to be healthy, and shit Chinese toys sold by Mattell that fell apart and were full of lead.
Now, let's drop the shit toys from the list. What's so wrong with sleeping pills? Did they poison people? Did they not work and instead, like being sold cocaine instead of mogadon, they kept kids awake? No. They worked fine. They just weren't properly advertised.
And what's wrong with selling tap water? If people are prepared to pay a quid for something they can get out of a tap, bully for you (or in this instance, Coca Cola) for parting fools from their money. It's not like the tap water is bad for you.
Incidentally, Coke pull the same stunt in Ireland. Deep River Rock, the water you wear, is also the water you get out of a tap in Belfast. True.
As for Kelloggs' breakfasts, well, no doubt they're not the sort of thing that Mr Kellogg had in mind when he set up his healthfood company back in the Nineteenth century. But they're not bad products. They're simply sugary products that should be considered akin to sweets, desserts and other things that kids should only have in moderation.
So what do all these things have in common? They're not bad products, despite what Consumers International say (apart from Mattell's shit Chinese toys, which are genuinely bad products.) They're actually bad marketing.
Let's return to where I came in. All advertising is lies. It is. The next commercial break that comes along in your evening's telly watching, analyse the lies you're being peddled.
"Because you're worth it?" Says who? Worth what? Worth it how? What does it even mean?
Don't read into it, simply dismiss it as the lie it actually is - the lie that these mass-produced, morally dubious cosmetics products are somehow 'elite' and you are part of that elite and entitled to these unlikely expressions of luxury lifestyle.
There's the crux of the ad (not the science bit, which is total bollocks) and it's a fundamental lie.
Same with any of them, all of them in fact. All adverts are lies. Lies designed to part you from your money for something you don't need.
I previously highlighted my plan to fine companies 50% of profits if they can't prove their advertising claims. I still stand by that as a plan to universally improve the existence of pretty much every human being on the planet (apart from advertising execs and marketing scum, who we all know aren't human at all.)
Having established that all ads are lies, it's time to return to the bad products list and rap the knuckles of the Consumers International people for failing to notice that these are bad marketing stunts, not bad products, and also for failing to notice genuinely bad products out there.
Ryanair flights, for example. 'Booking fees' for concerts. Premium rate phone lines, especially on customer support lines. Ringtones. Dry cleaning. Luas tickets. Fianna Fail governments.
These are really shit products, and I hope to see them on the next Consumers International list, rather than products that are actually legitimate, but are merely the subject of bad marketing lies.