Advertising: rage Magazine Archive Pages - Issue 6 Oct 95

Where's the Glory in a Morning Story ?

And now, the News. Tim Rafferty has been watching ITV again...

Selling has never been easier. Millions of potential buyers are sat there, just there, waiting passively for hours, waiting and wanting to buy. Selling has never been more simple. There's nothing to it. You could do it. The market is solid, stolid, simple and so easily defined.

Demand has rarely been stronger. Supply is your only problem. You have something to flog ? Wondering what to do with you new line of dead horses. Don't worry. Don't sweat it. Sit back. Get passive. Slack out and make a TV advert.

Think it can't be done? What's the matter with you? Don't you know it's easier than falling off a log. A log spinning at 1000 RPM. A mahogany effect log, slicked with age-reduction cream. A slippery, slappery log that just wants you to leave it unhindered in its long journey to a Swedish furniture store near you.

Child's play. A doddle.

Don't do any 'market research'. Don't concern yourself with demographics. Whatever you do, don't worry about the competition. Whatever you do, then stop doing it. Start selling and make an ad.

Billions of yen, dollar, deutchmark and shiny pound coins can be made by following this advice. Make an advert.

Everybody's doing it. Some better than others. Some are betterly betterly than others. Some with skill, insight and humour. Some without giving a toss (but doing it all the same).

Gain insight into the ways of capitalism. Produce. Advertise. Profit. It's a linear process. It's as dependable as the time loop which becomes 'The Last Week of the Sale'. There are no dependencies. No risk.

I Can't Believe It's Not everybody's sole purpose in life. To make an advertisement. To sell something with art, craft, guile and cupidity. To really reach out. Only to connect. To communicate. Smooch. Flatter. Threaten. Slap. Sting.

Let's just make one thing clear. Television adverts are fascinating insights into our society, our psyche and our methodologies for living. They encapsulate humanity in the late twentieth century. They are our children and have inherited our manners, peccadilloes and attitudes. They squirm and evolve, become all things to all men, polymorphically challenging our view of what is a truth and what is a blatant lie.

Let's just make one thing clear. Television adverts are inconsequential side-shows. We could do without them. They don't stand up. They can't stack up. They don't work. We don't take any notice of them and wonder, if we wonder anything at all, why.... why.... why.... why don't we make one?

We could have made one to shift a lucrative, laxative breakfast cereal. It could be the one problem product clogging up our profit pipeline. So we could have stressed how it makes things move more easily. Maybe shots of tube-trains hurtling through tunnels. Maybe sausages being squashed through keyholes. Or perhaps we could have a set of wholesome brown people in a field full of cereal. Brown hued you understand and only because of the sepia 'art' tinge. Remember sepia? It's the colour of old photographs. It's a muddy brown colour. The colour of mud dissolved in water. So that's it then. Fit young things in a field and everything shot in a hazy muddy colour. Who needs branding when you can create an ad like that - which is what someone has already done for All-Bran.

Or perhaps we could go mad. Barking. SERIOUSLY baked beans. Sit in a corner, hunched up, a dribble of saliva dripping from our chin. Staring blankly at space. Muttering darkly about the Dark One and revenge. Knowing that it was out there. Our mad advert. Our contribution to the cereal pushers. Our 'Kitty in the Pocket' promotional ad. Spinning, plastic, pre-pubescent cats would attract our morning munchers. Some cats might be seen toying with balls of wool. Some cats would be tearing the stomach from a still live rat. And all along, underneath, tingling the hairs on the neck, causing sweating and nausea. The sound of a distant sickly memory. A man gesticulating as children's art was paraded for the nation. The music from the sad bit in Vision On.

See that there. That's the brink. Step back and be glad you're not the man who made the mad ad for Wheetos.

Rather than mad, let's just be peculiar. Blatantly odd but without any hint of serious psychosis. Let's get plainly weird. Let's look again at the early morning meal. It's not that interesting and neither are we. So why not just shoot the box and say that our cereal has a difference, it 'has a light and crispy taste'. That's it really, not very turbulent, just 'a light and crispy taste'. So we might want to say we have a breakfast cereal with a difference, the difference being ' a light and crispy taste'. Just that: 'a light and crispy taste'.

Not mad, just unsettling, with a difference just like Nestlé with their Fibre 1 ad. Not mad, just a little bit strange, just like the bloke at the party who smiles too much, doesn't speak clearly enough and smiles too much.

Hopefully you get the idea. There aren't any ideas. There's nothing to think about. Making an ad is like saying the first thing that rattles into your empty head. Do it yourself. Get a camcorder and shoot your friends as they snack on a pot of instant gratification. Send it in. Send yourself up. Make a playful reference to those cheap programmes that benefit from the public's desire to turn up on TV. It's a bit of a laugh really 'cos really you're a comic who just had a slot on studenty BBC2 comedy show with your attractively pathetic persona. Not to be taken seriously. And end by saying something like the problem with Pot Noodle is that they're too gorgeous.

That's the problem with adverts. They're too easy to make.

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