Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Wednesday 24 September 2014

Advertising today

Nobody denies that advertising sells products and that sex sells most, but at what point does it go beyond what is appropriate or even decent. It is 4.30am and I have just seen a television advert by Calvin Klein for a product called 'Reveal' which I found offensive because of its overt and gratuitous sexuality. Sadly, I realise that even mentioning this exposes the product to a wider audience and that its resulting infamy might increase its appeal to the gullible public but please can we have this sort of promotion in moderation.
So too the escalating supply of adverts for videos and computer games that resort to gratuitous extreme violence for its appeal. The television programs are punctuated by adverts for these violent and noisy products, alongside trailers for ever more violent films complete with murderous explosions and firefights. Today, children, often very young, are literally bombarded with violent images, often demeaning to women, in which widespread slaughter seems to be the attraction. Now, I'm aware that since earliest times, children have been exposed to scary stories, indeed some of them are celebrated works of literature but it is the scale of today's unrelenting recourse to what I can only describe as evil that worries me. Despite the manifest effect on children and their attitudes, governments are reluctant to tackle the problem because the gaming Companies are successful and pay tax but wouldn't you agree that their very existence says something detrimental about the society in which we now live?
As if youngsters of today are not having their childhoods reduced enough, the Socialists now want to expose them to electoral awareness by introducing voting for sixteen year olds. Like Alex Salmond's demand in the Scottish referendum, the proposal is disguised as promoting interest in their futuristic Nationalistic life but is, in reality, a blatant means of increasing your vote by appealing to the known charitable leanings of the young. Sixteen year olds are still children; they are still being educated whether in school or in work, learning about life and their role in a challenging world. Even the most precocious have been nowhere, done nothing and shouldn't be exposed to decision making until they are older. This cynical exploitation of children is typical of a political party that is not so much interested in the welfare of the British people as their success in the polls, whatever they say. Why stop at sixteen? Make it thirteen; anything to defeat the toffs especially as the Scottish MPs might lose the vote in English affairs.
Whether you are selling perfumery, 'entertainment' or votes, advertising tries to get a message across. Clearly lies cannot be told but I fear that the balance is shifting and advertisers are pushing the boundaries as to what is and is not palatable or acceptable in the society in which we live, especially for the susceptible young. Despite various 'watchdogs', the advertisers are leading the argument, not following and I suggest the consumers should be setting the agenda, not the industry as it seems to be at the moment. After all, the advertising industry, does not  manufacture anything, it only adds cost to a product, ultimately paid for by you, the consumer. Despite this I recognise that we need advertising but urge that in place of smut and gratuitous violence the industry ought to be smarter, not ruder, in their appeal, especially where the young are concerned.
As for the Socialists...aaagh!

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