There’s something particularly comforting about the way the Independent
Television Commission’s advertising complaints report plops on to my
desk each month.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some sort of masochist. I don’t take it home
to read in bed, or have a fetish for windy corporate speak. It’s just
that it makes me feel extra-ordinarily sane, and there are times when I
I swear there are people out there who spend all day scouring ads for
even a hint of sexual innuendo. But it’s children rather than the whiff
of genitalia that really seems to get the nation’s whingers going.
They’d have us believe we’re nurturing a generation that’s been
perverted by the evil forces of advertising (does your child have bad
table manners? Blame Nissan).
And can you imagine the orgasmic triumph of managing to work children
and sex into the same complaint? What was Harry’s mother thinking of
when she let him do that Safeway ad? Disgusting.
How exciting it must have been then to discover last weekend that
Imagination for School Media Marketing is planning to put ads into
schools. Schools - those hallowed places where children are taught how
to become fitting citizens. Where there’s plenty of money for books and
computers, and teachers.
The reality is that many schools desperately need more funds. And they
are not full of children who’ve never heard of Coca-Cola or Levi’s. We
all know that children are more ad literate than ever, exposed to more
commercial messages than ever before and can sift through the bullshit
in a way us journalists would be proud of. Unfortunately, I suspect that
there will be a moral outcry, and any advertiser that braves this vocal
minority will risk a lot of negative publicity.
But surely more teachers and books are worth giving up a few grey
corridor walls for. It would be a shame if the whingers halted this one.
I am sane, really.