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Another candidate for Room 101. Advertising… 27, January 2008

Posted by babychaos in Adult Content, General Wittering, Grumpy Old Bag, Life and living, Light Fluff, whinging, winging.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m going to have a good old rant today and there’s some swearing and a lot of views many of you may find offensive. That’s why this is an anonymous (well… ish) blog because that way I get to be honest.

I always laugh at the euphemisms used in adverts for things which prissy people consider “not quite nice” or conversely insignificant things which they consider us too emotionally retarded to be able to face hearing mentioned out loud.

In fact a lot of the time, I watch advertising or soaps or the like and wonder if anyone anywhere actually believes any of this bollocks. I guess I’m feeling it a lot at the moment because I can’t help noticing that as a mum-to-be I am under the advertising cosh…

I find myself giggling helplessly when I am induced to try product x, y or z to combat “that bloated feeling”

Why don’t they call it what it fucking is?

Here’s how the ad usually goes. Two women in a cafe and one’s telling the other how uncomfortable she feels…

“Ooo, that bloated feeling?” Asks her friend.

“Yes.” Deep sigh.

“Here try one of these…” Hands over blister pack of pepto-bismol or some other burp-inducing remedy and we spool forwards a couple of minutes to the pair of them skipping lightly into the street like spring lambs with the bloated one saying how much better she feels.

What happened in there? Here’s a translation.

Woman A, rubs stomach.

Woman B. “You look terrible, what’s wrong.”

Woman A. “I’ve got terrible fucking wind!”

Woman B. Handing over Rennie. “Here! Take one of these, you’ll soon feel better.”

Woman A Gingerly pops pill in mouth and after several seconds lets out a belch like the MGM Lion. “Wow! That’s better!” Waving bubble sheet of wind medicine. “Can I keep these?”

Woman B. “Sure.”

Cut to them joyfully gambolling out onto the street… Woman B farts loudly as she skips down the steps… That’s my version.

Or alternatively, I’d stick with the first one but tell it like it is. When they come out, we know woman A could only be feeling that much better if she’d sat in that cafe and farted out more swamp gas then Shrek in the shower. So I’d cut to an interior shot of the other customers over come by gas and the waiter, struggling to drag himself across the floor to the window to open it… Or maybe someone lights up… BOOM!

Then there’s a completely hilarious one which all the pro-biotic yogurty drink people have jumped onto. It’s called.

“Uncomfortably slow digestion.”

Hmm… people. What do you think this one could be? Here’s a clue. Bran helps.

“Drink Danone Bio,” (pronounced Bee Oh like the smell, of course rather than correctly, like the first part of the word “biological”) “and you will fill your digestive tract with good bacteria which will aid digestion!” Says the voice of the announcer, talking down in a manner most people would be embarrassed to adopt with an educationally sub-normal 3 year old. Then he tells us that it is also proven to help reduce the effects of “uncomfortably slow digestion”.

Can you tell what it is yet?

Yes, that’s right, he’s talking about constipation. Drink probiotic yogurt drinks! They make you pooh regularly.

What the fuck is wrong with the word “constipation”?

It’s like when people die. They die! And what? We squirm and roll our eyes and tell each other they “passed away”?

Why? Because heaven forfend we should mention the word “death”. And yet “passed away” is marketing puff, spin, a euphemism to make the situation a little more palatable by being indirect and obfuscating the truth.

It’s just something else the person on the other end of the conversation has to mentally translate into meaningful English! And we’re doing it because we hope that will distract them from the pain and stop them from doing anything that might embarrass us or worse cause us to have to step out of our comfort zone, like expressing a genuine emotion to which we will have to make a genuine response. Crying, for example. Jeez. We need to lighten up.

Perhaps I’m being harsh, perhaps it’s just me but I’ve always sought the truth and confronted the facts head on. It’s bruising at first but in the long run it makes reality easier to accept and more importantly, if required, to change… We are uncomfortable with death but it’s a reality so surely it’s better to accept its presence rather than pussyfoot uncomfortably round it as if it’s a fart in a lift.

It’s there, it ain’t going to go away, it is real and present and a proper appreciation of its existence makes for a proper appreciation of our own existence, every day we are alive. I’d have thought that would be a good thing. Then again, I am a freak.

I am also suffering a double dose of the hard sell because as well as being a pregnant woman, I am ageing…

Ageing is clearly a particularly rich area for advertising shite. To me, wrinkles – oh I’m sorry, I beg your pardon, “fine dryness lines” are quite interesting. They give you a lot of information about a person.

If someone habitually smiles the lines on their face and crow’s feet round their eyes will reflect that. As I understand it, my great aunt was a bit of a society beauty in her heyday. She died aged about 90 and even then, she was beautiful because the older she got the more obvious it became that she was as beautiful on the inside as she had been on the outside.

I think about people like my Great Aunt and I wonder why anyone would want to have plastic surgery to try and look younger. I find the whole thing perplexing. It smacks of desperation. Like death (yeh, and taxes) ageing is a fact of life. Which bit of that do people not get? Bits of life are hard to take. Surely one of the most important parts of living and developing as a human being is learning to face them.

Yep, we are all going to get older and one day we will die. Are people really so vacuous they can’t face that? Get over it already Canute people!

Aside from being moronic, ignoring reality is a kind of social cowardice. It’s like suddenly trying to pretend that some basic obvious commodity like… air doesn’t exist. One day we may suss cell regeneration and live for ever… fair enough… but randomly stretching, pulling, stuffing and cutting bits off… nah, that looks like bollocks to me.

Then there’s the teeth thing. Yeh, if you have billy bob teeth it ain’t good for you and yes, they do look vile although whether or not, as mature human beings, we ought to be able to see beyond that is open to debate.

With all those nooks and crannies billy bob teeth are more likely to get holes and decay, they may cause their owner to chew wrong, which could lead to problems later on and so yeh, getting them straightened and properly spaced out is sensible and laudable. But teeth are naturally ivory coloured, they’re off white. A smile in bright sunlight is not supposed to give people retinal burns, not unless you are one of the Autons.

Why the fuck? What is the problem? Worse, if your teeth are white, they’re fucked. My teeth have been straightened out, I had braces as a kid but yep, they’re the colour of teeth. That is not white, or yellow actually, just… ivory. I’d never cut it on TV in the States or, most probably, here… but then, I don’t care because I’m a bit out there, I don’t want to have teeth which are so white and plasticy that when I smile people think I’m an android!

So how do sensible, grown up, well adjusted humans come to be bothered by all this completely irrelevant, vacuous, meaningless stuff..?

Well, I have a theory… (hem hem). It’s this.

They’re educated to care by advertisers. They’re taught that it’s unhygienic and antisocial not to. As if there’s something wrong with them for being unfazed by the transitory realities of existence. It’s not like we’re hunter gatherers any more, living hand to mouth and with important things to worry about like predators with big teeth and starving to death but a lot of that wariness must be programmed into our genes.

Maybe that’s how we are so easily persuaded to grow our little worries so they fill the gaps where the big ones used to be. It’s like there has to be a challenge and if existence on its own isn’t big enough we will warp it until it is.

I think the reason I’m so on the outside here might be because I was never beautiful in the conventional sense. I have always had a strong personality which, when you are young, is something that guarantees that people will only fall in love with you against their will.

When you’re a kid, you want to be different but not in a way that doesn’t conform to your peers’ interpretation of coolness. If you’re really, truly out there, especially if you compound the felony by being female, few young lads will have the balls to ask you out, or to bed, or if they do, to admit it to their mates!

It means you’ll probably end up with a much older or younger man because an outsider from an era less familiar and understood than your own means coolness is less of an issue. You don’t know for sure whether or not they’re cool… Or you do what I did and stumble jammily into the arms of somebody who is as much of an outsider as you are. Bless you, Mr BC!

So… gradually drifting back to the point. If you’re not physically beautiful you have to learn to use all sorts of other things to get by, humour, personality etc. That probably makes you about as sure as anyone can be who you are. You don’t self actualise through any particular thing, you’re not a mother or a marketing manager or a sports woman, or an x brand of car driver etc, you’re a person who just happens to do those things.

So I guess a lot of “beautiful people” have two problems. First they never have to make any effort because people always come to them so they don’t know how to use anything but their looks to get on. Secondly, that makes them less likely to explore who they are and more likely to self actualise through the highly transitory medium of how they look.

If they see themselves as “person x the society beauty” then when that beauty begins to fade, maybe they don’t know who they are any more. Perhaps that’s why they fear growing older so much, why they have to try and hold back the years, because the way they see it they ARE their looks and nothing else.

Blimey! That’s bleak…

…And if it’s true, how evil and wrong is it to prey on them?



1. Geldoff - 27, January 2008

WOW!!! You have immediately passed into the Geldoff Hall of Fame! (Many attempt but few are chosen … 😉 I think that’s the most down-to-earth, in-you-face, blood’n’guts common sense opinion I’ve heard for … well .. aaaages! Deliciously funny too.

” … is something that guarantees that people will only fall in love with you against their will.” That one’s deep and (happily) I know the feeling.

Keep it up, BC!

2. Mark Kenny - 27, January 2008

Laugh out load funny. I hate those adverts too. I mean really hate them!

The worst ones are the toothpaste ones that have testimonials on. It’s like interviewing a victim of violent crime: “Alex’s story”. And it turns out she didn’t realise that brushing her teeth would make her teeth better! They’re so enraging! They’re so vacuous and inane!

I personally find perfection unnattractive, cos it looks fake. Hooray for normal teeth and wonky faces 😀

Ha ha, “wonky faces” what a silly phrase.

3. Mrs. Nicklebee - 28, January 2008

Laughed out loud here about the ads!

Do they sell Budreaux’s Butt Paste over there?

4. flyingrowan - 28, January 2008

firstly this made me laugh out loud in several places!

secondly, I identify a lot with what you say about growing up using your personality to make people fall in love with you, and it happened in school in the past that “cool” kids liked me but were never never able to admit it to their mates.

thirdly i think its spot on about the lack of self actualisation of generally beautiful yet bland people, its easy to ride out life on that card alone i guess, in some circles at least.. and easy to become consumed by the idea that your social life/relationships/getting on at work etc hinge on your looks – even in a subconscious way and when they start to fade “whoops! i forgot to develop my personality! Id better get some surgery”. of course there must be some conventionally beautiful people who don’t remain completely shallow…

I’ve spent the last couple of weekends with an old school friend who now works in the fashion industry, and she spends nearly every day focused on what people look like and what they’re wearing, which means this is her first port of call when she is interacting with anyone, especially new people, this is definitely something she’s developed after being surrounded by the “beautiful people” and its sad to see that she’s just been sucked into some kind of vortex made of hairdos lipgloss and the latest trend.

fourthly i shout a lot at the television when those ads come on, the best one lately has been “Target your A area” !! excuse me? I think wrinkles are an extention of your feelings and experiences over the years, why on Earth would you want to erase that.

Lastly, thank you, I’ve now got “holding back the years” stuck in my head.

I’ve gone on rather.

5. Alabaster Crippens - 28, January 2008

I think Rowan’s said most of what I could add here. All I really wanted to say was that it’s been a while since someone’s rant has wanted me to yell ‘hell yeah’ so many times.

Spot on. Thanks.

The biggest problem comes from the feedback loop when peer groups take on the role of the advertiser. The whole thing gets reinforced (as with Rowan’s ‘old school’ friend above…I couldn’t help reading that as being an early nineties Jungle friend…don’t ask) by a social group whose only goal is to ensure that the beauty construct reigns supreme. All this socialising by buying makeup, reading up on what to wear and bitching about people who don’t look pretty enough…it just makes this stuff harder to distance yourself from, because it surrounds you.

Personally, I’m still quite superficial in a way. I love to look good, but I never ever do that by conforming to societal constructs of what looks good. It’s about feeling good inside, and making that radiate outward, like with the old people where you can see the inside better because it pushes outwards.
That’s another of your nail head moments. Aging is important and impossible to get in the way of. Let it happen and you’ll age much better than if you contort yourself to standards impossible to fill. I’m always reminded of the old women in the film ‘Brazil’ who stretch, slice, burn and cut their way to extreme deformity or physical injury, purely for the sake of the competition between them (and their respective surgeons).

But then, you ice the cake, by pointing out that we need to speak sympathetically to people who’ve not been able to develop themselves well enough because of the easy ride offered by good looks. Lets hope more people realise how many different ways they can express and actualise themselves. Not just prey on those who find it hard to do so.

Or we’re stuck in the same self congratulatory plane that they are.

(turns out I did have more to add…sorry.)

6. magneto bold too - 28, January 2008

‘And if it’s true, how evil and wrong is it to prey on them?’

Bwaaaaa haaaaaa haaaaaa!

That post could have been broken down into a series. Seriously. So much explored in one post.

But beautifully done.

7. babychaos - 28, January 2008

Geldoff always pleased when I manage to get a laugh in the right place! We aim to please!

Mark K, ditto! And yeh, toothpaste ads are another big offender and should all be banned!

Mrs N, what a scream! Sadly, no! Rest assured it would have featured on one of my product names posts if it had! Damn!

Flying R – It’s always a pleasure to know I’m not the only one when I rant about how I feel about something. Also “whoops! i forgot to develop my personality! Id better get some surgery” had me laughing quite a lot. Thank you and sorry about the Simply Red.

Alabaster – I, too, am superficial but there’s wanting to look good and enjoying feeling that you’ve well… maximised your physical attributes and there’s being obsessive, like Flying Rowan’s friend. I absolutely agree with what you say about peer groups, too. I was bullied by the “beautiful” people at school it was the ones at university who liked me but couldn’t ‘fess up to it in front of their mates… until I painted a mural for a ball and then suddenly, it was all ok because I was an “artist” I fitted into a social category all of a sudden and was, therefore, acceptable.

Magneto – thanks such acknowledgement from a bit of a blogging pro! You flatter me.

Everyone… there is a brilliant book about somebody who can’t believe the fashion industry takes itself seriously. He goes to work at Vanity Fair and is just gobsmacked to discover that these people whose lives revolve around what’s in, what make up to wear etc think they are doing great, relevant and worthwhile things. He thinks they’re just making up ever more dumb things to get the morons to do.

It’s by a chap called Toby Young and it’s called “How to loose friends and alienate people.” While you’re reading the sequel, “The sound of no hands clapping” Is also very amusing and more to the point both are incredibly honest and true.



8. Joe Drinker - 28, January 2008

See BC, there’s nothing wrong with the rant…just look at the great feedback!

While I do appreciate it when people take care of themselves, it has been blown so out of proportion that it seems that there’s no going back. Case in point: I live and work near Scottsdale, AZ (Google it, there are some real gems that come up), and the norm is the laser whitened teeth, huge breast implants, hundred-dollar face creams and hair modifications. And that’s just the men! Many of the women around here look like escapees from some kind of plastic surgery laboratory.

There are days when I feel like I’ve managed to put myself together and feel pretty good about things until I have to meet somebody out there. It always gives me that weird invasion-of-the-body-snatchers feeling.

9. babychaos - 28, January 2008

Woah Joe! That sounds scary! What frightens me most is how standard they all are, you can tell what size boobs, colour teeth, shade of spray on tan are “in” in any given year… more to the point I could imagine you can also tell exactly when each of the clones had their “work” done.

I googled and um… Yeek!


10. Noble Savage - 29, January 2008

The euphemisms which wind me up the most are ‘back passage’ (instead of saying rectum or anus), ‘water infection’ (instead of saying urine) and ‘windy pops’ (instead of saying farts, or just wind). Are we all two years old?! I’ve had health professionals actually use these terms to my face and I just want to shout “Um, I know what they’re actually called, don’t you? Being a doctor and all, I thought you would’ve taken anatomy and some kind of terminology class.” I wouldn’t be surprised if they referred to my vagina as my ‘flower’ or some such nonsense. I hate all these made-up terms for genitalia, it’s so juvenile. A penis is a penis is a penis and a vagina is a vagina is a vagina.

Oh, have I made you uncomfortable? 😉

11. Steff - 29, January 2008

Mm right on! In the States the female sanitary products were the main culprits of pathetic advertising – apparently we’re meant to play volleyball and do backflips because our periods feel so bloody great! There was an episode of Family Guy last week that expertly took the p out of the notorious (in America) “Do you ever get that not so fresh feeling?” ads that had me in stitches. Advertising is just such a bizarre practice – you have the kidgloves approach to normal bodily functions (which is understandeable on some levels – for instance the adult diaper adverts), but then again they can be incredibly brutal/tasteless when it comes to drink driving, etc. Recently I saw the seventies ads with Death around every corner waiting for kids to slip up, that was pretty hilarious! My current favourite tasteless ad is for Tetley redbush tea : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=na7sGGA_1So – I mean is it just me or is this beyond belief? It reminds me of the Aunt Jemima maple syrup branding in America, which even they have largely left behind its former racist connotations (they couldn’t abandon her entirely as she was the brand). I mean, Tetley presenting Africa like that, they might as well have filmed it in Disney’s version of Africa. Ok sorry rant over! Hope you are having a dandy day! 🙂

12. babychaos - 29, January 2008

Nope, it’s not you! It’s fucking condescending! I have several South African friends and frankly, it’s embarrassing. Sanitary ads are crap here, there was one with this song “Waaaaaah Body fooorm!” Sung in a kind of 80s stadium rock/Rod Stewart kind of way. Me and my flat mates used to completely crack up over this when we lived in London because as we all know, having a period is completely brilliant! The other one that cracked me up was the “with wings…” as Dawn French said “If I want Wings I’ll buy a fucking owl!” and of course “for freshness”. Similar to the not so fresh feeling.

I am now beginning to understand that this is a euphemism for “Have you been pregnant? When you laugh, or sneeze or cough, does a little bit of wee come out? Well don’t worry wear a mini pad to catch the drips and ensure there are no embarrassing damp patches…” Those are quite handy when you’re expecting the painters but not quite sure when they’re due, except that the hunt is always on for a brand which doesn’t come infused with thrush-inducing perfume….


Otherwise, I’m having a splendid day and I hope you are too!



13. Steff - 29, January 2008

Oops, didn’t realize it was S.Africa (as the advertisers put so much effort into authenticity!). Ooh don’t get me started on wings, all they do is stick to places that are very painful to have sticky things on gah! I have found these to be a nice handy un-spring bouquet scented lady stuff http://www.spiritofnature.co.uk/acatalog/feminine_hygiene.html?source=googleadw&camp=Feminine+Hygiene&kw=organic+tampons, they sell them at Boots. Not sure if they are sturdy enough for pregnant sneezes or not ;-0 Hope all is going otherwise smoothly with your impending wee un 🙂 I am fine, just had my hair cut, wasn’t too traumatic!

14. flyingrowan - 29, January 2008

well, this is a wonderful device avoiding all mention of wings and freshness and absorbant cores! http://mooncup.co.uk/ i’ve been using one for the past 18months or so and its great. I sound like a walking advertising campaign. That Tetley ad is awful! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing

15. babychaos - 29, January 2008

Steff, luckily I’m not leaking yet but thanks anyway.
Noble Savage, spot on, I really can’t be doing with all this euphemistic shit, it’s prissy and anally retentive!
Flyingrowan, I use one! Indeed here’s a long and protracted eulogy I wrote about how wonderful it is.




16. Geldoff - 30, January 2008

Excellent Ciao review and what a talented reviewer Sweary is, BC!

17. babychaos - 30, January 2008

Ah you flatter “her” ambassador! 😉



18. flyingrowan - 31, January 2008

I think the grippy part is the cervix..? Enjoyed the review, especially the image of – can it be? – you falling down the stairs with your ass hanging out! I could Never get the hang of tampons, so I was dubious about this too, but it’s surprisingly very easy, far less dry. {Sorry guys, a little too much information} Also, I wholeheartedly agree about cutting off the entire stalk, I was tentative about it and it was very scary lobbing the whole thing off – no going back! Its interesting that it’s not advertised any more than the stickers on the back of toilet doors, {you usually get a lot of graffiti along with it, which reads like reviews from people whe have never used it who are disgusted, and those who have and are delighted} As long as this works as well as it does I’ll never go back.

19. babychaos - 1, February 2008

I’m amused to think there are disgusted people and that a debate grows up round the stickers, the one I found had nothing more than the hippy comment, maybe it was new though! I’m very pleased to have found another Mooncup user out there! I thought I was the only one, most people look at me askance when I tell them what I use. At the same time, I wear the larger of the two and I wonder if it will still fit, post Muffin!



20. flyingrowan - 2, February 2008

Ha, I guess it will if you stick to the kegels!

21. babychaos - 2, February 2008

Well… fingers, or should that be, legs, crossed eh?



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