Turn Off, Tune Out and Don’t Buy It

Bobby SHEPHERD / 11h22 - 12 november 2017 / 0 comments

Dr John Grierson prescribes his antidote to the advertising campaigns poisoning commercial TV and radio.

I have to be a bit careful, here. I earned some of my living, once upon a time, writing scripts for radio and TV commercials before I went temporarily insane. But I’m better now. I appreciate and respect some of the purveyors of commercial broadcasting, only because they give us something other than the arrogant BBC, which lives in a world where it believes that advertising does not exist, or if it does, it should not be touched, and if it has to be touched, one should wash one’s mind out immediately.

Having said that, what do you suppose that the BBC calls the endless and endlessly repeated announcements that clutter every BBC radio and TV channel, all the time, to promote programmes and coverage that are up-and- coming? I don’t care what the BBC calls them. They are advertisements. No different from commercial TV and commercial radio commercials. But, dear me, commercial radio and TV do try my patience. And I wonder what’s going through the loosely-connected minds of the unisex advertising agency bimbettes and the brand-managers in their client companies when they come up with the rubbish they do. I have to make special mention here of the inane and horrible TV advertisements for cars, to which I award the All-Comers Farting Cuckoo Cup and Gong. The purpose of advertising is to turn the consumer towards the brand of goods or the service being advertised (that is the literal meaning of “advertise”, by the way). But far too many advertising people actually enjoy swimming in the pools of nonsense they “create” when they start on airy-fairy rubbish which they say is “creating long-term brand- awareness”. Long-term bullshit, I say. The real and proper purpose of advertising is to get people to do something involving the exchange of cash and to do it as soon as possible. Anything else is a waste of the advertisers’ money. Actually, I have to salute the advertising industry. It has been able to con cosmic amounts of money out of businesspeople who ought to know better, by covering anyone within a fifty-metre radius in truly epic jargon, backed up, they would have us believe, by research folk-us groups, concept testing, trial exposure and whole lot of other research-cobblers besides. And then, having produced a sensationally bad commercial at a cost of shed-loads of money, they have to milk that commercial until it begs for mercy, and so do we.

A million pounds a throw is not unusual for producing a TV ad these days. So we cry out in pain at the umpteenth time we have to see the awful thing. Radio is not much better at it, either. Far too many commercial radio people only know three words. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition. Bored, bored, bored. But whether it’s TV or radio, it gets so bad that I take a deliberate policy decision when I’m thinking about buying something. If one of the candidate product’s advertising campaigns has irritated me to screaming point with its inane and repeated-ad-nauseam commercials, I strike that product off my list. At least I feel that I am getting a tiny little bit of my own back. Whatever the opposite might be of “advertise”, that’s what they have succeeded in doing. P.S. I want to reserve my most acidic vitriol for the imbeciles on Channel 5, the only place where I can see highlights of Test Cricket when England are playing. In England. And, no, I refuse to pay one penny to Murdoch Sky Sports. Murdoch? Yeuurgh. Channel 5 schedules commercials for breaks when the players were off having lunch or tea and it inserts exactly the same commercials, in exactly the same order, about six times in an hour. It’s like being hit repeatedly on the head with a mallet. I suppose that’s what it wants to do. Well, I have news. Here, too, I actively boycott any product or service advertised on Channel 5. So should you.

Dr John Grierson – PhD in local and community radio studies; in his time a radio pioneer, manager, motivator, director, presenter, writer, actor, all over the world. Writer on any subject that catches his eye, and unapologetic ranter when he sees injustice, unfairness, greed, arrogance and sloppy, slack production in TV, radio and all other media. His contributions to theairwaves.org.uk are drawn from, or based on, items in his book “Righteous Rants for Thinkers”, available on Kindle.