Saturday, 28 May 2016

Is advertising appalling, or is it just plain, old, extremely bad?

The internet gurus keep warning us that if we continue to use adblockers, it will break the internet.

For those of you perhaps not too familiar with internet parlance, adblockers are little extensions you can add to your internet browser that run automatically to prevent intrusive and nearly-always unwanted advertisements popping up on your screen or when you are browsing the World Wide Web.

You know the sort – those that pop-up for PPI claims every time you type the letters “ppi” of the word “happiness” into your computer. When not using adblockers, as you go about your web searching, your social media meandering, or your visit to a real media site, big brother, who is of course watching you all the time, picks up what you are either searching for or looking at and, hey presto, a “relevant” advertisement pops up on your screen.

 It’s all quite clever really. Except there are only so many times you can be asked whether you have accident insurance to claim, PPI from a credit card, or a cheap flight you don’t want to a destination you have no interest in visiting, to sell something on ebay when you have nothing to sell, or an overpriced ticket (plus service fee) for an event you aren’t remotely interested in attending.

YouTube does a similar thing. You want to watch a video on how to plant out parsley shoots, and immediately the video is finished, off it trots, without invitation, to play you another video on how to plant a forest, then, if you let it, how to lay decking, and then onto a Caribbean cruise – because big brother fails to correctly distinguish between domestic decking and the deck of a cruise ship.

 So while for all the years and years the internet service providers have been charging us a fortune for a phone line we never use to not make phone calls on top of our internet access fee, none of this money has gone to “the internet”, and so we really must watch their appalling and intrusive advertisements in order for it to survive.


But I do wonder how Sir Martin Sorrell, the advertising guru, managed to secure a thumping £43million salary for 2014 and £70million for last year given that current advertising is so unbelievably lacklustre, poor and totally plagiarised. I'm not saying he is necessarily responsible for it all, but I am sure some of his creative agencies are in the thick of it somewhere.

Everything is now “awesome”. If you believe the advertisements, you can do the physically impossible and “pre-order” – and here’s me thinking you can only either order something or not order something.

We are being told to snack happy, breathe happy, shop happy, move house happy – in fact, if one more advertiser tells me to do something “happy” I think I will probably scream, seeing as I no longer have any hair to tear out.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

We keep getting the politicians we don't deserve

Local election day in the UK, where many Britons head off to the voting station to put an "X" beside the name of someone they don't know representing the political views of a party they know nothing about. And that's just the candidates.

Just back myself from the high-tech plywood and nails that I believe is officially called a "polling booth". Plainly the local invigilator must have worked in a bank, as the little voting pencils were very technically Sellotaped to a piece of string in the booth. The iPad generation hasn't enveloped the political voting system just yet, despite many councillors spending vast sums of local council tax-payers money on iPads and Samsungs to assist with a larger screen to play Candy Crush on as they attend vital Council meetings.

The local school kids have been kicked out of their play-school hall to accommodate this. I was bitterly disappointed that only four names appeared on the ballot paper, none of whom was a member of the Monster Raving Loony Party, so I was forced into voting, rather embarrassingly, for a Normal Raving Loony. There were three "members of staff" in attendance, all rather chipper bearing in mind they had already been there for two hours when I arrive at 9am.

As I left the lovely wood-scented booth and junior-school smelling polling station, a lass, possibly in her early twenties had just finished a conversation with the rather dumbfounded-looking outside vote-card number checker. The outside vote-card number checker told me that the reason for her 'dumbfoundery' was that the lass had informed her that she (with, the outside vote-card number checker noted, an iPhone 6 Plus glued to her hand) didn't know there was an election on today. No wonder we keep getting the politicians we don't deserve.

I wonder should we just turn off the lights and leave the country.