I accidentally watched a TV advert the other day.
A woman was on a Zoom call with friends. Her blurred background failed and revealed her ugly kitchen. Her friends all laughed at her. So she went along to AMAZING KITCHENS DIRECT 2 U and got a brand new kitchen. Now her friends are embarrassed about their kitchens!
What kind of fucking psychopath puts that out there into the world? Preying on people's insecurities when there's a pandemic on is disgusting and irresponsible.
I stopped watching adverts around the turn of the century. I got an early TiVo and merrily used the 30-second-skip to jump through them. My housemates didn't understand. They saw the adverts as a kind of alternative programming. And, to be fair, some adverts can be as amusing and heart-warming as any show. But most are just low-grade junk designed to get you to buy crap you don't need.
And so, on to my theory. Most advertising is crap because it is designed to be watched by people too stupid to block advertising.
In the seminal paper "Why do Nigerian Scammers Say They are from Nigeria?", a Microsoft employee posits that the "scammer has an over-riding need to reduce false positives. By sending an email that repels all but the most gullible the scammer gets the most promising marks to self-select, and tilts the true to false positive ratio in his favor." (emphasis added)
That's what has happened now. Anyone with a lick of sense has an ad-blocker on their computers. Anyone with money has either a streaming service with no adverts, or a TiVo style box to skip them. So advertising goes from being merely an irritant to a stream of toxic sludge filled with parasites.
Advertising doesn't attempt to be clever - because clever people aren't watching.
Advertising doesn't attempt to be honest - because victims don't know how to complain.
Advertising doesn't attempt to be decent - because emotionally mature people don't fall for it.
The single most important thing you can do to improve your life - and the lives of your family and friends - is to install an adblocker.
That Wickes advert of the person buying a new kitchen because they're shamed into it by their old kitchen as a Zoom background is pretty ugh.
It also seems to suggest professionals are expected to have video on, and to not use fake backgrounds. Neither is true.
— Libraries Hacked (@librarieshacked) January 3, 2021
Me too. And that bloody Wickes advert. "Are you dying of housebarrassment?" The bloke's a massive wrong un.
— Trombone Pete 💙 (@OnionClub1) June 27, 2021
Desperate advert aimed at people who can’t afford to upgrade their kitchen & made to feel lesser than those who can, shame on Phil Spencer for doing the voiceover
— Andy 💫 Gooner for life (@almostmadeit1) May 4, 2021
That Wicks advert where the woman’s boss is shaming her into turning off her Zoom background and she’s all embarrassed because her kitchen is crappy. So many levels of wrong I don’t know where to start.
— Nigel Jay Cooper (@nijay) April 9, 2021
I absolutely HATE the @Wickes advert with the Zoom background on.
Like we haven't got enough to contend with without being shamed into thinking we have to upgrade our kitchens so we can work from home without 'housebarresment'.
What a load of tosh!
Real poor taste, Wickes.
— Emma ~ Editor ~ Creating Perfection #SaveTheArts (@emmamitchellfpr) February 15, 2021
2021 - Wickes advert pushes zoom background anxiety as a motivation for getting your kitchen done.
— David Hughes (@dchughes62) January 15, 2021
Dumbest part of this whole year is that Wickes advert encouraging you to let random strangers in your house to replace your kitchen you already have with another kitchen, so you can show it off in a zoom meeting with some not random strangers who its unsafe to let in your house.
— Barry Thomas (@newdless21) December 30, 2020
I just saw an advert where a woman buys a new kitchen because she’s embarrassed by the way her existing one looks on Zoom. On a totally unrelated note, I am really fed up with 2020...
— Catherine M. Weir (@himynameiscat) October 22, 2020