Advertising has an interesting relationship with the truth.
People will tell you that the classic way to construct a TV ad is to take the product benefit and dramatise it.
By ‘dramatise’, we mean ‘exaggerate’ and by ‘exaggerate’, we mean ‘lie about’.
Look at Lynx: you don’t just pull women, you pull gorgeous women and lots of them (not true).
Or VW: their car is so small but tough that policemen would hide behind it in a shootout (they wouldn’t).
Or Cadbury’s: eating their chocolate brings you as much joy as a gorilla playing the drums (not in my experience).
Or Macdonalds: their restaurants are full of pleasant, salt-of-the-earth types and smiley, well-behaved families (they are packed with eye-bleeding shitwhistles).
Of course, people will say that we’re all aware of the rules and we should expect to be lied to when we take in ads. We will then tune out the lies and accept only the true bits that we can easily decipher and understand.
But isn’t that just bullshit? We’re saying that these massive, expensive exaggerations won’t confuse anyone, that people can separate truth from horse feathers perfectly well in the blink of an eye, that they are supposed to accept one piece of film as both mendacity and veracity simultaneously.
I find it odd that we’re supposed to stuff ads with pointless legals that no one will ever read just in case they get the wrong impression about something that barely matters, but the humongous flim-flammery goes unchecked. If I tried to say, legally, that Lynx will definitely make you pull more women I think I’d run into a large brick wall from the BACC. However, if I just imply it, somewhere in the world of bullshit, then I’m fine.
‘But,’ I hear you cry (I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that Gout-Legs will take particular issue with this), ‘aren’t you just saying the public are morons? Can’t you credit them with enough intelligence to separate fact from fiction?’ Well, I guess I just don’t understand why a massive illustration of a load of bollocks is fine, and why it’s so hard simply to tell the truth. Whether the public can understand or not, why is sophisticated smoke and mirrors so acceptable?
Perhaps if it weren’t, we wouldn’t end up with so many dogshit propositions about life being better when we get together (unique to every alcoholic beverage, telecom company, airline, and postal service in the world).