November 18, 2008

More woo infiltrates UK advertising

Two current ads from British telly that are worrying.
We like to think that regulations keep our advertising clean from bunk and woo. I believe that consumers should be left in no doubt about what they’re being sold.
This first ad at least has the honesty to be open about the organisation behind it. Brits in general have a healthy scepticism about religious messages, so hopefully the vast majority will ignore it.

But it can’t be right to sell a scientifically unproven concept such as God in a TV ad.
You can hold a Mars bar. You can see the AA man fix your car. You can get that cheque from the insurance company. But what proof do you get that you’ve received divine service? And yes, it could be argued that it’s the church they’re selling, not the deity, but what would be the point in signing up unless you believed in a divine being? It’s like selling the sizzle without there being a sausage.
Take a really close look at this second ad.

At first, I thought it was a peculiarly-skewed tourist promotion. I can see the message being enticing to almost anyone (although I’m gratified that my teenager, upon seeing it on Sky News, scoffed and judged it “weird”). But when you visit the website, there’s the feeling that this is some kind of humanist, all-inclusive, officially-endorsed peace-promoting charity.
Dig around, and it turns out the the way to happiness follows an unexpected path.
Dishonest, or what?

No comments: