Advertising has been gross and scary for a long time—no matter how sexy it is when Don Draper does it. But lately I’ve been disgusted by a number of ads I have seen. I mean, let’s not forget this.
But let’s also look at this:
When I first saw this, my first few thoughts were entirely made up of, “What the fuckin’ fuck?”
Look, folks. I have asthma. I have severe asthma that is occasionally really scary. My mom was a smoker when she was pregnant with me and until I was 13, and it’s probable that this was at least part of the reason for my everyday inability to breathe. I never think about this unless I see this advertisement. And then I am horrified—not that I have asthma, and not that it might be because of her (former) addiction to cigarettes—but that some advertising motherfucker wants her to feel shittier about it than she already does.
There’s got to be a better way to suggest to parents that they stop smoking than this passive-aggressive guilt-inducing crap.
Before I say more, I recently saw an ad on Hulu.com that I cannot find on line (I was so horrified by it that I didn’t actually stop to write down the organization that put it out there—and if you find it, please link it to me so I can add it to this post). In this ad, a woman is being rescued from a natural disaster and is forced to leave her dog behind to drown while she is pulled away in a helicopter. The ad wants people to make arrangements for their pets in the event of such a disaster.
Really? REALLY? How is this fucking emotional blackmail necessary? I don’t know a single person with pets who wasn’t deeply affected by the predicament of the dogs and cats left behind to fend for themselves and/or die during Katrina. I know people who specifically went there to rescue animals. I would have to be physically restrained, possibly knocked out, and certainly dragged away before I abandoned my cat to such a fate. I am, as a responsible pet owner, always aware of the fact that he has no control over his environment.
I know that television ads have to pander to the lowest common denominator. I am still incredibly disappointed and displeased at the direction in which we are heading. I am also insulted and disgusted. Come on, advertisers. Even the slightest nod toward my intelligence would be welcome. There’s no need to hit below the belt. I can take this on the chin.