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BADvertising and Role Models For Our Kids

Popularity 5Viewed 7354 times 2013-8-6 08:42 |System category:News| programs, kitchen, through, living, aroundBADvertising

BADvertising and Role Models For Our Kids

I watch a bit of TV when my kids are around - can’t help it! They watch their favourite programs as I walk through the living room on my way to and from the kitchen. I too watch what the kids watch when I sit down to chat or eat with them. Usually I don’t really watch a program fully unless it is a documentary and I am alone. The only things on TV I get to see completely are the commercials or advertisements! They are too short to miss.

I saw one particular ad that caught my eye. It has undergone many changes or it appears that a different version of it is played during different programs. This featured the popular singer, Katy Perry, who is spruiking a product called ‘ProActive.’ It seems to be basically a zit-cream to help rid one of pimples. In listening to her songs, which can only be fully appreciated when watching the video that goes along with it, it becomes clear that if there were any imperfections, like a pimple or a freckle almost anywhere on her body, it would soon become obvious to her ‘listeners’ (or should we say watchers?). Now, I or anyone can understand why a person like Katy Perry might have a justified ‘need’ for a zit cream. We would want nothing to detract from the perfection of her stunning looking body and many would take personal offense at a ‘zit’ or something that dares to transgress upon the person of Katy. While we listen to Katy explain at great length how she deals with these lumpy trespassers on her face, we can still sympathise. We are all duly shocked at a picture of Katy with a few pimples and really exhilarated at her vanquishing them with ProActive.

I was less sympathetic when I saw another young singing star, a young lad called Justin Bieber, come up one day on the commercial for ProActive, saying how he found a zit on his face and how his confidence faltered and he was able to finish a recording because he was saved by the zit-cream. He too talked at length about his zit. It was not very pleasant to listen to him. I could listen to Katy Perry talk about it for ever, because it did not matter what she was saying, one could simply look at her talking animatedly for hours on end without getting bored. With Justin, it was different. It occurred to me to point out to him that if he was truly talented in singing, and relied only his vocal chords as he should, a zit on his face should not get in his way. He should simply get on with his singing. How did he get this far in life with his singing? Was he always kept zit-free to reach this far? I have known of truly exceptional singers whose faces were scarred-one even had leprosy. It did not matter a whit what they looked like, their voices were divine.

Now, coming back to Justin B, if his confidence was faltering because of a zit, then did it call into question his true singing ability? I know a few who questioned his singing talent even without a zit being visible… Still, it just struck me as mildly odd, as it does whenever I see a man too concerned about his looks, unless his profession absolutely demands it.

However, I was even more concerned and alarmed when I saw the latest version of the ProActive ad! It featured a world champion bike rider or roller skater who again seems to have a taken a hit to self-confidence when a little bump appeared across his face! Now, that really says something about his real talent in biking. This ad seemed downright disturbing to me.

One wonders what will be next? Will we see top scientists and mathematicians stopped midway through a scientific calculation due to failing self-confidence because of a zit? Will top surgeons performing life-saving surgery need to get their zits cleared before we can trust them with our lives in danger? One wonders what formula Einstein used to clear his zits before he made his discovery. What were the secrets of Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan in maintaining a zit-free, world conquering confidence?

What about our elite soldiers at the war-fronts? Do we assure them a sufficient supply of zit-cream? According to the ads, even with this miracle cream, it takes a few days for the zit to clear? How can we prepare a sufficient supply of zit–free commandos all ready for action in times of war?

I read stories about a famous slogan used to ‘sell’ something like this cream to millions of women who likely never needed the stuff. The slogan I am talking about is – “I’m worth it!”

It is considered a success because it helped sell a product worth probably millions or billions of dollars to make a handsome profit for the company. It perhaps did not make many women more handsome or worthy. It worked by actually making them feel worthless in their normal life - being a mother, a carer, a professional or whatever. The message was really, you should or do probably feel worthless. But if you wanted to feel worth something, you would buy the cream or shampoo because you were then worth something. You were worth something alright, to the company that made the stuff, but not worth anymore to the world than you would otherwise be. The idea seems to have been that they would feel worth something only if they bought and used this product, which was expensive. When it comes to women lacking in self-confidence, this is really preying on a vulnerable class.

Now, what is this sudden recent outbreak among men? Have they started to evolve into this new species that cannot perform at their job unless they look good or perfect? Or is this kind of commercial and talk that actually tries to start this kind of thinking? Are they trying to get a whole new generation of kids obsessed with their own looks, even kids of the gender that is usually genetically less worried about its looks when it comes to doing the job? All to make a buck! It is truly a shameful message to push out. It is BAD advertising. I call it BADvertising.

 

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report CC-yang 2013-8-7 10:04
yes, most ADs are only aiming of making profits by presenting celebrities, stars. And, nowadays, more and more men begain to pay much attention to their looks, if for women,it make sense,but for man, we, women, don't judge much on a man for his appearance,but for his talent, his personality, his achivements.
Reply Report voice_cd 2013-8-7 10:23
This has been recommended to the front page. Thanks for writing.
Reply Report zakoi 2013-8-8 10:46
Colorful advertises are the honest way of making people fool.
But one must admit that Advertising industry is a highly innovative world.  Creativity needed in an attractive advertise is appreciable. One has to express about the product within seconds and it’s not an easy task at all. Making a sensible advertise is harder than making a popular movie.
Reply Report zakoi 2013-8-8 10:46
CC-yang: yes, most ADs are only aiming of making profits by presenting celebrities, stars. And, nowadays, more and more men begain to pay much attention to the ...
Colorful advertises are the honest way of making people fool.
But one must admit that Advertising industry is a highly innovative world.  Creativity needed in an attractive advertise is appreciable. One has to express about the product within seconds and it’s not an easy task at all. Making a sensible advertise is harder than making a popular movie.
Reply Report KIyer 2013-8-8 15:08
Zakoi, you make a good point that it is harder to make a sensible and good advertisement than it is to make a movie, where one has more time to make a point and clarify this. Advertising tends to go for grabbing the attention and creating a sense of dissatisfaction with oneself, to make one want to buy something. I have seen real good sensible and creative ads too. But i just wrote about some of the senseless ones, that can easily affect growing children and mislead them into a way of thinking.
Reply Report Ted180 2013-8-10 18:45
Helping children to analyse BADvertising is the answer. It is fortunate that they have these BADexamples to learn from!

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