Public perceptions of harm and offence in UK advertising.

Very complex issue. Part of the question at hand is what, if any, responsibility does advertising have to communicate ideas that are linked to social well-being (i.e. honesty and compassion).

dream, discover, design

I came across this PDF file when trying to look for information about false advertising. The file is all about the different perceptions of advertising, but I wanted to look mainly at the ‘false’ side of it, and the effects advertising puts on people.

The main offences in advertising:

Sexual content and nudity

Body image

Innuendo and bad language

Negative stereotypes of specific groups

Violent/Scary content

Distressing/Shocking imagery

Misleading/Aggressive adverts

Adverts for products participants thought were harmful/Inappropriate

Repetitive/Annoying adverts

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 13.38.57I even found a stats chart, showing the responses of adverts and the public’s reactions. What I thought was interesting, was seeing that more people thought others would be offended by the advert than them their selves. The consistency of the feeling of offence however does still seem steady and shows no sign of slowing down.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 13.41.13

Another chart of offence by the media, a HUGE increase in opinions shows the majority…

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Beautiful Cars & Fast Women!

<doh> Strike that headline and reverse it!

In our world of politically correct, culturally relevant, meticulously targeted branded content, how much breakthrough potential the anachronistic fast car + beautiful women tactic have?

It’s sexist, hedonistic and materialistic. It glorifies the spoils of greed and excess, sends the message that young, thin, light-skinned women are trophies for rich men and that that should be the aspiration of all women. It diminishes the self-worth of men, most of us who will never be able to afford an exotic car, and taints our perception of our own partners who may not match this female stereotype.

From the perspective of social responsibility and the power of advertising, nothing can be more socially irresponsible.

But – revisiting my original question – in this day and age will this breakthrough?

I write extensively on culture, identity, advertising and the social responsibility of the advertising industry. Let’s revisit this in a week’s time and compare click-through rates.

(Irrespective of how many or few people have clicked through to this page, the Geneva Motor Show will always be the pinnacle of auto shows. I can’t wait to get there myself! And as exotic cars go, the Alpha Romeo here is among the most attainable in the category.)

O RadioShack

mitnick_wanted0610231802O RadioShack, Titan to a generation of Olympians, how your absence will be felt, especially by those of us who both know the smell of molten solder and work in advertising.

Your brand was the subculture of my youth. We were subversive, clannish outsiders. We valued craftiness and wit. We communicated incessantly (but only via devices and networks of our own making). And we believed that upon the shelves of RadioShack lay the secrets to world domination.

This subculture – RadioShack subculture – was the launching pad for the true digital natives: the likes of Bill Gates, Bill Wozniack, and especially Kevin Mitnick.

But you mistook yourselves for a consumer electronics store, the very nemesis of those still nursing their homemade RadioShack receivers. We, your loyal target audience, waited patiently for you to come around. But you never did. You went 9-to-5 when you could have gone 24 hours-a-day (we are a nocturnal tribe, after all).

We – your erstwhile target audience – is growing, but we have matured from integrated circuits to Arduino, Open Source and iCub. We hoped that you would mature along with us, give us a homemade of atoms rather that bits. But, alas…

A final thought:
Mr. Magnaccia: I can’t stand to watch a once-great brand die of irrelevance. March 28th is Adruino Day, and Kevin Mitnick is out of hiding. Txt me if I can help connect the dots.