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.

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