Wednesday, January 30, 2013

False Advertising...

[Post by Cliff Harvey]

I remember watching television with my sister one evening and a cheese commercial came on the box.
It showed a pristine New Zealand vista, with a small shack on the banks of a lake filled with artisanal style cheese wheels...
It's a lovely image, but it's bullshit.
These are the guys that make our cheese...

I don't want to beat up on cheese, or cheese-makers, or the advertising agency that's trying to convey a particular brand image for their client's product, but as consumers we need to be very aware of the implicit biases that we may build up based upon what's presented to us by the commercial and popular media.
It is extremely easy for repeated images to subtly influence how we act. As we know over 90% of what we do day-to-day is unconscious reaction to stimuli, and those unconscious reactions can be created in response to the messages that we are repeatedly exposed to.
Of course my rant is directed not at cheese or at advertising necessarily, but more-so at the saturation of false messages that we are exposed to with increasing frequency.

I do think that although I'm sure a lot of people will read this post and think "Really Cliff?...What's the big deal?", that if advertising was a little more truthful we may be less likely to indulge in a lot of unnecessary buying, and make healthier choices. I mean if you saw lines of cows being milked and then the milk taken to a huge factory with enormous steel vats and process lines you may be a little less enamoured with the clean, natural image of cheese, or if you walked into McDonald's and the burger in the advert actually looked like the sad and wilted excuse for a sandwich you get over the counter...

We need to cultivate and exercise mindfulness and critical awareness so that we are not steered towards actions, purchases and decisions that are not congruent with our highest values and ethos.
We need to exercise critical awareness so that we are not misled by false, albeit good (and palatable) advertising messages....

~ Blessings
Cliff