A beautiful lie

Are you a little tired of insurance companies and banks and supermarkets telling you they're your friend and how much they care about you and your family?

I dig my friends - they shout me lunch and lend me jumper leads for my car when the battery is flat. Conversely, I'm yet to receive one friggin' thing from a bank except stationery for my daughter to write on the back of.

Friends don't want anything from you. They don't make you feel bad about yourself because you can't fit into their jeans or drive their car or breed with their spokesmodel.

Most importantly, friends don't lie to you; they tell you how it is, even when you don't want to hear it.

An actual friend of mine recently starred in a television advertisement for a national fast food company, wherein he chows down on their deep-fried product along with his 'wife' and two 'children'.

The irony of the ad is my mate has no children, let alone a wife, and the only way you could get him to eat this particular product is to pay him thousands of dollars.

But that's advertising, innit? Mounds and mounds of horseshit, expensively produced, gorgeously lit, artfully framed. A beautiful lie.

I cannot name one thing I have rushed out to purchase because of an advertisement, unless you count Vegemite. Even then I'd argue I had a formidable habit before I even became aware of the concept of money.

My car, my clothes, beer, soap, toothpaste, ice-cream and my dunny paper - I can't remember seeing an advertisement for any them. I certainly didn't buy them because an inner-city vegan actor pretending to be a pie-eating construction worker tells me how bloody good they are.


In fact, the more advertising that hits me in the face about a product or service, the more I wonder why the hell they have to convince me to buy their stuff. Surely word of mouth should do it?

I look at the biggest advertisers, the ones who saturate any major event with billboards and 30-second TV and radio spots, and they're often the companies least worthy of patronage.

Mobile phone carriers whose coverage is laughably awful, supermarket chains who'll happily suffocate entire primary industries with anti-competitive pricing, banks who charge you for farting, insurance companies that fine-print flood or fire victims out of coverage.

They're like the bloke at the pub telling you how good he is - a sure sign he's an absolute tool (or that he works in advertising).

I get the irony of bitching about advertising on a news website when it pays my rent. I also get that it's because of advertising revenue most of the media even exists.

The thing is, I also love deep fried chicken, but I'm buggered if I'm gonna buy some doped up, mutant chook that's been crushed into a shoebox-sized cage since it was four days old - even if it's my own mate on TV telling me how good it tastes.

My choice as a consumer - albeit an expensive one - is to buy free-range chicken because I want to feel better about killing chooks. You know, that they had a good time in a meadow before execution.

I just wish advertising would offer us this unpolluted option - straight facts, no spin. Tell me why your product is better than another. Then leave me alone.