Getting down over “Up”

When I was in high school (shortly after the earth cooled), we had a bunch of TV adverts about how great advertising is. That’s right: our advertising industry felt the need to promote itself. They even had their own tagline: “Advertising. You’d probably notice it more if it wasn’t there.”

It’s been years since I’ve seen those adverts. (I can’t find them anywhere on YouTube). But I can still remember that tagline, as well as the line they all opened with: “In some countries they don’t have advertising.”

And right now I’d like nothing more than to live in one of those countries.

Is it just me, or is advertising becoming more and more intrusive (i.e. “annoying”)? I can’t seem to get through my day without being bombarded with it.

I grew up listening to commercial radio, and I can actually remember when it was more radio than commercial. But now it seems like the music is just a way of breaking up the advertising. (And to all you breakfast announcers out there, stop trying to disguise your advertising by turning it into a conversation with your co-hosts. You’re not fooling anyone.)

I can still remember the excitement of getting Foxtel in our house. Now only did we have another 80-odd channels to flick through mindlessly, but if we did find something decent we could watch it commercial-free. (Sure, they still had endless cross-promotions, but we no longer had to put up with ads for Pizza Hut.) But somewhere along the way that all changed, and now we’re literally paying to see commercials we could get on free-to-air television for… well, free.

It’s even happening in cinemas. Look, I’m okay with the adverts for the local businesses, especially when the owners do their own acting (I love a good comedy). But now they’re throwing in adverts for free-to-air television shows. Why? Do they really think we’re all going to rush out of the cinemas to program our DVRs?

A couple of days ago my wife bought me the DVD of Pixar’s latest movie, “Up”. Now usually when you throw in a DVD it goes straight to the main menu (though you may have to watch ten minutes of video before it gets there). But not with this one. Instead, I saw three advertisements—one for Toy Story 3 (which I already know about), one for the ‘Up’ video game (which I don’t want), and one for Wall-E (which I already own) before finally reaching the menu.

To add insult to injury, the Wall-E advert also doubled as a message against movie piracy. Yes, piracy is bad. But if it means people can see the movie straight away instead of having to sit through all this advertising, I can see why they do it.

I can handle most of the advertising in stuff I get for free (though I can no longer listen to the radio unless my iPhone is completely dead). But if I pay for something, be it a movie ticket, cable television subscription or DVD, I should be able to enjoy it without people trying to sell me stuff I don’t need.

Oh, and for the record, “Up” is brilliant. And if you can get through the “getting married” montage without your eyes watering, you’re a better man than I am.

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