Commercial Break


They’re horrible things. They try and sell you stuff when you were minding your own business. However, some are far more teeth grinding than others.

Take, for example, the woeful TV commercial.

The first time I saw the advert, I went about drinking petrol and swallowing matches in the hope that my stomach would erupt through my nostrils and take my brain with it. Just to be on the safe side, I also closed my ears with an industrial stapler.

It was painful, but not as painful as watching the advert.

Obviously, I’m acutely aware of the fact that this dross has achieved its primary objective, which is to be post-modern and burrow a way into my psyche via annoyance (see also: those godforsaken GoCompare ads).

Very clever.

Coupling something as dreary as car vending with the kind of rave music you hear coming out of cars driven by little shitehawks who pay huge dividends on their insurance before burning in oily flames in accident blackspots, only to be later described as an angel by a grieving mother.

As you can see, this commercial has made me unnaturally angry. Now it’s your turn to suffer.

TV commercials are a strange human invention. Once upon a time, they were simply straight forward infomercials, with stats and claims and maybe a little catchy jingle that would earworm you for a week.

Over time, us humans (especially the sub-humans who work in marketing) got more and more sneaky and started to play with our minds, hiding messages subliminally and intentionally toying with our lust by putting fit women and men in various provocative poses (even in adverts for combine harvesters and worming tablets).

The minute platform that a company has to play with is to show you what the brand is all about and how they have this ace product you simply can’t live without.

Some commercials transcend mere sales tool and become part of popular culture. Guinness consistently sell the idea of stout via imaginative and fun ways. Milk Tray sold you the idea that their chocolate was dangerous, sexy and enjoyed by mystery men who sneaked into your house and… hang on… that seems a bit creepy now I’ve typed it out… but you get the picture.

Some companies try to sell you a feeling, rather than a mere item to buy.

Just look at perfume and aftershave commercials. Year on year the nostril industry makes the most baffling and preposterous set of TV adverts, leaving viewers entirely confused and possibly slightly aroused, leaving them with their members in their hands, or fingers up their frontbot and a feeling of being trapped in an airless art gallery full of camp Frenchmen.

See, that’s the thing. Perfume ads think of themselves as high art. That’s because perfume is a luxury product. We know darn well we don’t actually need to spray ourselves in this stuff because, well, if you’re going to a club, you’ll invariably end up smelling of sweat and the bleach from the bogs, or if you’re going to a job interview, no-one will bloody notice anyway because the potential employer is focusing on the inane shittle spewing from your mouth.

What parfum commercials do is sell you the idea of sex: Cock shaped bottles that ejaculate a fine spray, scented like whoknowswhat?, leaving you with an image of a some celebrity (probably shot in in black and white) who is soundtracked by jazz or opera wearing little more than a fragrance.

‘Yeah. I could be that.’

It’s high-end dross that is designed to make you think you’re sophisticated, when the crushing truth is that, should a sick dog grow a rudimentary thumb and the brains to learn how to use your credit card online, it too could spray itself with some aftershave and be as classy as a human. It’s all about walking around with a mental erection anyway.

As such, the TV spots for perfume are confusing and stuffed with self importance because, deep down, these people are merely selling us some expensive liquid that serves little or no purpose. It doesn’t turn you into a movie-star… it just makes you smell less bad. No perfume advert is ever going to confess to that.

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