Friday 21 October 2016

All aboard! The outrage bandwagon is now leaving...

Published 30/04/2015 | 02:30

These posters have been defaced on the London Underground
These posters have been defaced on the London Underground

By any rational standards, we live in a world which has quite obviously gone mad. And I'm not talking about the Middle East, for once.

  • Go To

The latest round of complaints received by the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland has just been released and, as usual, they consist of a litany of gripes and bellyaches.

That we even have a regulatory body for ads is itself a ridiculous notion, but amongst the complaints which were upheld included several objections to one TV spot for a car which saw the driver and passenger singing and dancing and when driving.

That seemed to enrage some people who thought it was inappropriate to sing or 'dance' while driving, while another complaint centred around a now infamous pub promotion which attracted the ire of these self-appointed guardians of morality because it "...exploits the young and immature", which, let's face it, is pretty much the role of advertising.

In a culture so saturated with advertising, we all see examples that we don't like. In fact, most of the ads on TV and radio are so terrible it would take the patience of a saint not to spend your entire day muttering under your breath every time a particularly annoying commercial appears.

But that's what normal people do - we mutter under our breath and then go about our business.

Complaining, however, has now become not just a national sport, but something which is endemic across the Western world, where people now feel a strange compunction to complain, campaign and organise petitions about things which have absolutely nothing to do with them.

The most obvious current example is the hugely entertaining controversy surrounding an ad for a protein shake on the London Tube.

The ad features a strikingly pretty young model who, we are meant to believe, has attained an undeniably perfect beach body through the use of the supplement.

So far, so advertising. They use an unattainably pretty model to aspire to, the way all ads do.

But proving that common sense wandered off the reservation a long time ago, the inevitable petition to ban the offending ad has received more than 50,000 complaints, and there has been a campaign of 'civil disobedience', which sees angry women defacing the posters whenever they see them. Which brings us to the obvious question - why do these women care? Are they such precious little snowflakes that they can't handle the sight of a model, whose job is to look better than everyone else, without feeling personally attacked?

After all, how many men have ever organised a petition calling for pictures of David Beckham or David Gandy to be banned?

No man is ever going to live up to the unrealistic heights of masculine perfection exhibited by the two Daves, but we don't go around having a fit of the vapours whenever we see one. Why is that?

Well, the simple answer is because we have better things to be doing with our time.

In the flurry of fury which greeted the ad, it's fair to say that some of these unconscionable objectors now seem to think that the world revolves entirely around them.

One of the offended women summed up this sense of irrational persecution when she whined that: "I spent my whole life thinking I wasn't good enough," and used that as a justification to ban the poster.

Newsflash, sweetheart - nobody feels good enough. That's not how we're wired. Everybody, male, female, has hang-ups and issues. The trick is not to go around inflicting them on everybody else and demanding that ads be pulled simply because they make you feel bad.

The company responsible took a page out of the Michael O'Leary public relations playbook when they simply tweeted: "Why make your insecurities our problem?"

This enraged some women even further, but they made a genuinely valid point. Why should anyone's private insecurities be used as a reason to ban something?

Honestly, some people should remember that sometimes an ad is just an ad - deal with it.

Irish Independent

Read More