Let's dumb it up!

Submitted by Garry on Fri, 31 Jul 2015 - 16:39

Further to my previous discourse (The Skip Button) on the refined art of insulting TV viewers ...

On the subject of advertising, I've been thinking about clichés that may be unique to Australia.

1. ALL NEW!  On my last visit to Canada in late 2012, I noticed the distinct absence of the "ALL NEW" mantra in advertising and promos. It's tediously overused here, and usually a complete untruth or just plain DUMB. I think it started back in the day when Channel Ten was accused of promoting new episodes of the Simpsons in a one hour timeslot, but in fact showed one new and one repeat. This riled Simpson's die-hards and generated many complaints. Soon after, the promotion was augmented with "ALL NEW" to create a clear distinction from "half-new". (If you remember otherwise about the origin of this, feel free to contact me and state your case.) Since then, the cliché is pervasive.

How can a new model of motor vehicle be "ALL NEW" with the implication that every nut, rivet, cable, gear, seat-cover, dashboard instrument and rubber part has been redesigned from it's component elements? Bullshit. How can you promote a single episode of any fictional TV series or movie as "ALL NEW" when it would be ludicrous to splice half an old episode with a new one, and expect us to make any sense of it? Dumb.

2. THE MELODIC FRAGMENT TAG.  Toyota had a particular successful campaign with the introduction of a catchy melodic tidbit at the tail of every ad - "Oh what a feeling". It did precisely what was intended; an ear-worm recalled in a instant. It's success stemmed from the association between the words and melody. Now count how many other advertisers try this., from large telcos to burger chains, all with their meaningless little musical twitch of ten notes or less, that add little to the message and that few can recount. Why are they failures? They're all sooooo similar to the Toyota catchphrase that it hurts my brain. It's as if the same notes were pulled from a Scrabble bag and reshuffled.

3. THE DISCLAIMER.  Finally as an aside, what's with the 200 word disclaimer in 4pt Helvetica that barely passes through the digital broadcast chain and remain legible? Are we expected to record and freeze frame every Ad break to digest these salient points and caveats? Disingenuous at best. The most idiotic disclaimer is "Actor portraying real person". WTF? Guess what? That's what actors do. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. I expect the trend to provide unnecessary disclaimers stemmed from some painful litigation in the USA, encouraged by the deliberate blurring of advertising and content.

Unfortunately I won't get any traction complaining about annoying marketing strategies, mantras or musical twitches. However, if you want to complain about the content of an Ad (inaccuracy, false claims, misogyny, stereotypes, racism etc.), write to the Advertising Standards Bureau or the station you are watching. Remember that there's little point complaining about what is being advertised unless it's illegal activity.