The Season’s adverts have started!

Hugh MacLeod

It’s barely the 1st November and I saw my very first Christmas advert on TV. I was having some lunch in the kitchen, whilst ‘Loose Women’ was playing on the TV. As this was on a commercial station, I saw and heard my first 2018 Christmas advert.

It’s only the 1st of November!!

This means we nearly have 2 months of Christmas adverts ahead of us. And that’s why I try to avoid any commercial TV or radio stations, because the adverts drive me insane.

The trouble is with the digital world we live in, it’s going to be almost impossible for me to avoid seeing and hearing adverts, especially the Christmas ones. Whenever I deliver any kind of talk or presentation about storytelling I ask the audience if they like the adverts. Usually I have just a few hands that go up and that’s because they work in the marketing industry, most of the room keep their hands down. 99.9% of everyone dislikes the adverts.

I work in the industry too and I can’t bear (or is it bare?) them.

Why?

Imagine a large rock and think of that rock as your brain. Now take a hammer, doesn’t matter what size, think of that hammer being the advert. Pound the hammer on the rock multiple times, what do you get?

A dent on the rock, that will stay there forever. And that’s what’s happening in your brain when the advertising industry continually repeat their adverts on all the possible channels and networks they can think of. You know the ones I’m talking about right?

Whether you’re browsing on the web or walking through the high street or shopping mall, notice what you are looking at. Might some of those items be the exact items that were being advertised?

Did you ever experience a phenomenon called ‘Amazon Amnesia’? Made up word of course, it’s not real but it has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? It’s when you receive a parcel in the post and you can’t even remember what it was that you ordered! Well you can thank the advertisers for that. You may even have experienced bringing home a product from the shopping mall or high street and wondered why you bought it. Yep, exact same reason. The hammer (advert) created a gorgeous neural pathway for that product in your brain. When you saw it you may have been compelled to buy it, without realising why.

99.9% of the junk we buy we do not need.

There are children going hungry, there are people living on the streets and all because society is too obsessed with wanting the next iPhone in their hands, when the current on is working absolutely fine. Nobody wants to connect the dots between buying stuff and the state of the world, whether it’s hunger, homelessness or climate change.

We’re all so totally self-obsessed with our own wants and needs that we dig our heads in the sand and just think of number one, yourself.

Happy shopping this Season!

Michael de Groot