Advertising is consuming our lives. When the ad breaks come on the TV, I scramble for the mute button on the remote control before the assault on my ears starts. A sure sign, along with receding hair, that middle age is finally upon me.
The barrage is as relentless in the magazines we read. Okay, advertising gives us choice in as much as it creates an environment for these media to exist. But at what point does reading material simply become a catalogue of commercial goods? Take Wired magazine for example, apart from the tech stuff and environmental issues, every other page contains a smug advert for an SUV. Ironically, I find the Jeep adverts more interesting than articles on wind power! Not because I want to buy this shit, but because I’m somehow drawn towards the advert.
Advertising is addictive? Try watching the TV ads on mute and see how far you get. The only way to do it is to physically change channels.
As I talk to people I find that critisism of consumer choice is usually met with the same derision one would associate with homophobia or socialism. It doesn’t matter how many miles of our public space is taken up with enormous orange adverts, just as long as those flights to Provance remain cheap (Zzzzz).
There is a telephone box near my house. They used to be a defining symbol of what this country was all about: Welcoming and stinking of piss. Now, the windows are plastered with garish adverts for the latest Hollywood film, life size images of Sarah Jessica Parker and some incredibly self-satisfied bloke who makes me want to punch myself in the face. As a side show, now that phone boxes are visually private courtesy of SJP, people have taken to shitting in them. Nice.
There is a church that overlooks the A4 flyover in Hammersmith undergoing renovation. Their scaffolding has been covered in the biggest advert for the tedious iPod campaign that I’ve ever seen. It’s second only in size to that one that can be seen from the M6 outside Birmingham. The Church and Apple? Everybody has their price.
How have we allowed this to happen? Moreover, when did someone decide that it’s prefectly acceptable to invade public space in pursuit of the all important profit?
Banksy got me into this, and it’s something I’ll be coming back to in the next few weeks.