I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I did a post about a piece of advertising that irritates me! Surely for someone as easily irritated as me, this should be ripe blog fodder and yet I haven’t touched that poisonous fruit in some time. Wondering how that could be, I’ve come to the conclusion that a) my resistance to live television viewing is strong and b) like most folk in this day and age, I’m so generally bombarded by it as to become largely inured. I don’t read magazines anymore, so most of my exposure comes from online ads (which barely register, with the exception of the ubiquitous ModCloth ads – cute dresses!) and product placement in films/shows (again, unless someone blatantly pops open and takes an Adam’s-apple-bobbing gulp of Pepsi or ostentatiously places their Apple Mac in the smack-dab center of the screen, I don’t so much notice).
The one place I do notice it is on the street. Billboards on buses and cabs, posters on buildings, and above all else, the massive adverts along the walls of the tube. The latter is the only situation in which I am forced to stare at an ad for a prolonged period of time, contemplate it, internalize it. Nothing subliminal about staring at a Hennessy ad for two minutes while you wait for the train and avoid eye contact with your fellow commuters. So while I’ve been waiting for the tube every morning for the last week and a half, I am annoyed afresh by this relentlessly stupid Google Chrome ad that’s directly in front of my preferred Stand for the Train Space (halfway down the platform to the right of the entrance, approximately six cars from the back – it’s an art form):
12 days to Christmas
11 times Julie emailed me link to Chloe handbag (hint, hint)
-9.52 in my bank account
11.7m search results for “discount handbags”
7 sisters, cousins, aunts & nieces consulted about alternative gift options
6 emails back saying don’t take the cheap route
5 part-time Santa’s helper jobs found on Gumtree
4 personal items sold on eBay (I didn’t like playing guitar anyway)
2 seconds of indecision before I click buy buy on on Netaporter.com
1 Christmas morning request: Love it, but can I exchange it for a Marc Jacobs?
12 tabs open
Wow. This is irritating on so many levels, I’ll need to break it down. And damn if I don’t especially hate idiotic ads from companies that provide products or services I actually like. Google, you’re better than this bullshit. Share a closer look with me at the saga of Julie and Jim (this is what I’ve helpfully named the much-put-upon speaker):
5 additional product placements!: Chloe; Gumtree; eBay; Netaporter.com (which apparently needs the dot-com for the ignorant masses); Marc Jacobs
5 sexist stereotypes: Julie is a nag!; Only women can pick out gifts for women (because women be shopping)!; Menfolk are clueless!; Women demand expensive designer bullshit!; Women are fickle and change their minds!
2 normative assumptions necessary for the ad to work: This is a heterosexual relationship; Julie and Jim are not Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, or Zoroastrians
5 ways in which Jim is a martyr: He indulges Julie’s “hints”; he has no money; he fiendishly researches gift options for his beloved; he works extra jobs to buy a handbag; he sells his own stuff, even sacrificing his guitar (and his dreams of rockstardom? Say it ain’t so!)
7 references relevant to the product: Personal email; online banking; search results; web services; tabs; crashes; browser (I suppose they could have gone the extra mile and spelled out that Jim received confirmation to his Gmail account that his Paypal transaction went through and then tracked it on FedEx.com, but overkill, right?)
To recap: Julie’s a self-absorbed bitch, Jim’s a pathetic doormat, and I guess I’m supposed to shake my head with wry amusement and download Google Chrome as a result. Negative, Google, negative. I mean, I get it. I get it and I don’t like it. If I stop and allow myself to think how much they probably paid an advertising agency for this piece of hackwork, my mind starts to boggle (and promptly crashes). Like, it wouldn’t be difficult to use this same basic formula (although I would drop the cutesy “Twelve Days of Christmas” allusion) and come up with something much more clever. I’m going to have to rework my Stand for the Train Space until this is replaced by something more blandly ignorable.
How are you most exposed to advertisements, how much attention do you pay them, and what recent ones are pissing you off?