Monday, April 03, 2006

Crap advertising advertising crap

There are three ad campaigns running on radio which really annoy me and suggest lazy or no research by the advertising agencies involved.

The first is the campaign aimed at getting people to pay their TV license fee. It labours under the illusion that there is some major social stigma or embarrassment to being prosecuted for not paying the fee. There isn’t.

The second is the series of ads encouraging us to complete our census forms so that planning for future needs for schools, roads and other public services can be as effective as possible. Given the state of the national infrastructure, you'd have to ask what they've been doing with the result of all earlier census operations.

The third is supposed to be an anti-racism campaign but it only succeeds in sounding incredibly stupid. The bottom-line is that we’re all supposed to become colour-blind now that we’re all “Irish”.

The reality is that Irish people have always been inquisitive, it’s part of the native charm. In rural Ireland, if you’re white with red hair and freckles they’ll ask you where you’re from. If you’re anything other than “a neighbour’s child”, you’ll still be categorised as “a blow-in” unless you outlive those who remember the fact.

The reality is that people from other countries have interesting backgrounds and cultures that we should be asking them about. Of course, the tone and tenor of the discussion can be either friendly or threatening - but I’m sure that when it’s the former it’s quite welcome.

Niall Toibin has a great joke about the CIA attempting to infiltrate the IRA in order to use their contacts with Ghadaffi to gain intelligence. So they train their best agent to speak perfect Irish in all the regional dialects. He visits pubs, ceilis etc all over the country but fails to make contact with any IRA people. Finally, having a pint in Kerry and speaking perfect gaelic, the barman compliments him on “speaking great irish for a yank“. The CIA man is stunned and asks the barman how he'd guessed he’s a yank. “Sure aren’t you as black as the ace of spades” comes the response.
Niall has probably had to retire that joke, though there’s nothing racist about it.

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