BACKBITE

There’s something particularly comforting about the way the Independent Television Commission’s advertising complaints report plops on to my desk each month.

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

do wonder.



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.



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