Do you ever have the feeling that advertising is becoming more
I first thought so 11 years ago, while I was waiting for a train late
one night at Waterloo station.
There, in the middle of the concourse, was a bank, nay cube, of
television screens, announcing jocularly: ’It’s the new Canon Sprint!’
An inane jingle played, a smarmy voiceover quacked away as naff smily
people gambolled on the screen with cameras. Then silence - for ten
seconds - and the whole thing started again. There was no escape. I had
half an hour’s worth - about 40 times in all. Buy the new Canon Sprint?
No way. I’d rather have cut my ears off and plucked out my eyes.
The same thing happened in the Post Office a few years later. This time
I was in a queue, forced to listen to drivel about gift-wrapping Great
Aunty Ada’s cardigan, premium bonds, TV licences, car tax discs and
Postman Pat and his sodding black-and-white cat.
Now, not only are there plans to put TV monitors on the new
Paddington-Heathrow Express to target passengers but also, in a separate
move, ads in train tunnels or by the track to catch you as you speed
past. Is nothing sacred? All us poor buggers want to do is work on our
laptops, doze, read or even, for Chrissake, just enjoy the scenery.
Euston to Edinburgh? Pass the straitjacket, please.
At least with traditional TV ads there is the remote control. And don’t
get me wrong - I’m not a right-on do-gooder who thinks all advertising
is ideologically unsound. I love advertising and applaud the cleverness
of those in the industry. What I don’t like is this glorified
brainwashing - this sort of pernicious advertising is bound to alienate
the very people who are the target.
Send your rants to Diary Editor, Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Road, London