Creepy advert watch

Lloyd had a bit of a rant yesterday. He’d seen an ad for Stella Artois saying if you bought their special pack of their beer they’d plant a hedge for you in the countryside. His reaction is understandable:

If you really want to grow a hedge in the countryside, why don’t you just go and do that, rather than making people pay for your poisonous and habit-forming liquor and then spending money trying to make them feel good about you by doing something entirely unconnected so that they’ll buy more.

Yes, if I really want to do something for the countryside, wouldn’t it be more efficient to go direct rather than using a beer company as my agent?

There’s been a huge growth in this kind of promotion as Corporate Social Responsibility has taken off in recent years. I saw an ad yesterday for British Gas saying they are sending all their customers a ticket for a free family swim, somehow connected with their sponsorship of British Swimming. I don’t want to sound sanctimonious but this stuff feels creepy to me. It’s a little like strangers offering sweeties to our children.

2 thoughts on “Creepy advert watch

  1. David Spira

    I got into a rather heated, very public argument with a sustainability agency hack regarding this issue (among others). The ultimate intent is supposed to make consumers feel good while never going out of their way to do a damn thing.

    “I can do good by eating food that I was going to eat anyway!”

    I find it particularly maddening when Breast Cancer Month rolls around in October (I think), and damn near every end-cap in the supermarket turns pink. I’ve lost a lot of people I cared about to breast cancer, and to have it trivialized by a company donating three pennies in return for a $5 of a box of Cheerios drives me up the wall. They probably spend as much money on the advertising campaign as they actually give to the cause…

    And that’s not even getting into the inefficient, and wasteful mega-non-profits that these companies give to during their special promotions.


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