30 April 2010

Un-Advertising

"however this advert caught my eye (and nose and left ear)...now call me dumb or slap me about with a wet fish"

The other day I was reading the local newspaper when I came across an advert inside it. Now, I hear you say, there's nothing wrong with adverts in a newspaper. After all, it helps keep the cost of the newspaper down to a reasonable amount. This is very true indeed. However this advert caught my eye (and my nose and left ear).

So what was the advert that grabbed my attention?

Well, you see it was an advert for a local pet shop that was having a sale. It must have been a large pet shop given the number of sale items. In fact, it was one of the items on sale that struck me as being quite odd.

The advert stated, and I quote verbatim. "50% off all live fish". At first glance this seemed to make sense. Your long awaited addition to your tropical fish tank would be half price (no, I didn't need a calculator to work that one out!). However, a literal translation of it could be that this pet shop also stock dead fish. Otherwise why use the word "live" in the advert.

My mind started imagining little Johnny going to this pet store with his mother to get a new fish.

"Look Johnny, that goldfish is now half price. Shall we buy it?" Only for little Johnny to retort "I don't want a live fish, mummy, I want a dead fish!!". One could easily assume that little Johnny will either grow up to be a lead singer of a death metal band...or a Prime Minister!

I also recall many aeon's ago that there was an advert on television that stated that a certain shampoo removed all harmless alkaloids from your hair. Now call me dumb, or slap me about with a wet fish (don't do the fish thing to me as I might enjoy it), but if these 'alkaloids' are harmless then why would I want them removed from my hair!!

Even today I was walking in a Sydney suburb when I saw a shop that was categorised as a 'well being' shop. However, the actual shop was one that was selling mobile phones. From my point of view I find it hard to equate mobile phones with well being. To me something more holistic would fit that category.

So you can easily see that adverts do not always portray the message that they should do. Next time you are reading a newspaper or taking your pet stick insect for a walk take a close look at the things around you. If you do this you could well be in for a literal surprise!