I take pride in my stubborn resistance to advertising, I resist the influence of brand awareness in my purchasing decisions and have never purchased insurance from a meerkat. I am intelligent enough to know that major marketing campaigns and subtle brand escalation are not bespoke, they do nothing to help me and are all about swelling corporate bottom lines. The one inadvertent area where advertising does affect me, despite my awareness, is negative advertising.
I will use a UK example to explain this phenomenon, forgive me if you don’t recognise the specifics but I am sure that you can draw parallels. For some years a bank here ran an advertising campaign based around an irritating, jolly, round faced buffoon by the name of Howard. Now the ‘genius’ of Howard was that he showed us that bank managers were not just stuffy suits in offices, oh no they could be moronic half wits that danced there way into our living rooms. This advert did nothing positive for my relationship with the bank, I will never use that brand on principle and should I ever win the Lotto I would seriously consider appointing a hitman to rid the world of this apparent idiot.
The storyline was that this bouncing fool was a branch manager ‘found’ through internal advertising, I suspect he was actually smuggled out of an asylum or a special care unit by a drug fuelled advertising executive drunk on his own power. The thing with negative advertising is that it creeps deeper into life than we first see, sure there are several brands that I would never interact with because their advertising has had a negative affect on my view of them, but sometimes its more than that.
Most mornings I watch the early morning news to see what despot is threatening to absorb our military budget that day and on some days I struggle with the presenter. The BBC you see have a newsreader who looks like an oversize Howard, I only just made the connection, and he irritates me as much. Now you could argue that I have some inherent dislike of round faced men wearing round glasses, perhaps born of a childhood experience, but it wouldn’t be true. The sad truth is that advertising has done its thing but the message is not what was intended, for me the message is that round faced people with large round glasses are idiots and when I see them I am at serious risk of them bursting into song and having to throttle them.
So when a jolly, round faced and bespectacled person collapses down the escalator or is hit by a car you will have to forgive me for not coming to their aid, it is not my fault its the advertising executives.