BY THE TAPE, IN RETRO

Illustré par :

It has often been said that the art of advertising is to manipulate its victims. Many people think they can resist its sirens, but its designers are fooling you without you even knowing it. Two examples.

An advertising clip praises a green detergent that will make your dishes foam beautifully… You are not going to buy this brand for that? Okay, but look at the kitchen where a cheerful housewife is working gracefully. 30 m², splendid furniture in the latest Scandinavian design, the window overlooks a beautiful garden of at least 2 hectares. We may be selling you X soap, but above all we are selling you a way of life, a consumerist normality that is not the norm for the majority of our contemporaries. In your little 9 m² kitchen overlooking the grey walls of the city, you may not buy the lime-scented liquid X, but you will dream of the setting in which you saw it and take the risk of a mortgage to buy a small house in a green suburb (40 km from your workplace: hello energy-consuming travel). You have put your finger in the gear…

Remembering a morning study on water organized by the Responsible Consumer Network(1). We are looking at a beautiful advertising photo for Y mineral water at 20. A very very beautiful woman, very lightly dressed, is washing herself in her bathroom. Her bathroom scale is in the trash. Advertising argument: by drinking bottled water Y, you will keep a great figure (in fact, the model has an admirable profile).  » Balance your scale » is the nice slogan that supports the message. First reaction of the audience: « Another ad that uses the woman’s body to encourage guys to buy ». Small debate, collective reflection. In fact not at all. This beautiful creature in front of her two beautiful big sinks and two glasses with two toothbrushes is obviously fulfilled: she has a guy, she lives in luxury (the look of the bathroom leaves no doubt). The target of the ad is therefore female: the one who will say to herself « I will also drink Y water; I will be beautiful, loved and will have a comfortable life with a guy, handsome, kind, intelligent and… rich ».

About water: I remember green magazines advertising an « extraordinary » mineral water from Norway. So, there were some pseudo-ecologists naive enough to buy a water « so pure » coming from the Nordic glaciers… at the price of the long transport of one of the very heavy elements that we find in abundance here (and in such good quality). It is a palm to put in the hat of the advertisers: to have succeeded in making people buy water at 2€/liter while in every house there are taps delivering water of such a good quality (all the laboratory analyses prove it) at a price 400 to 600 times lower. But the taste, the incomparable flavour of spring water, you might say… Still at this morning of the Responsible Consumers Network: blind tasting of a small dozen waters, brands X, Y, Z… and tap water from 3 or 4 cities(2). One of the participants who swore by her favorite brand did not recognize it and gave the best taste rating to… water from the Ottignies distribution network. The distribution of preferences for one water or the other was purely random. The colonization of our imaginations is widespread and it could not leave uncultivated a ground as essential as the most vital element in the true sense of the word — pure water.

Alain Adriaens

Notes et références
  1. www.asblrcr.be
  2. Même contenant, même température, même temps d’oxygénation…
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