Saturday, September 09, 2006


All art is useless.

About two months ago I changed from Vodafone to Meteor simply because it's cheaper. I'd have changed a lot sooner if I had known but I didn't. I asked the man in the phone shop what the catch was when he showed me the comparison between what I was spending on 087 and what Meteor would cost. He said that there wasn't a catch except that 085 hasn't got 100% coverage but you could always go over to the O2 network for no charge. I asked him was it not the case that Meteor was only cheaper on Meteor to Meteor calls? He agreed that the 5c calls were in-network only but even taking that aside, Meteor was the cheapest.

So I switched to Meteor and he was right; it's a hell of a lot cheaper and if ever I do have reception problems, I just change over to the O2 network. But the whole time I kept thinking, why didn't anyone tell me?

Then I started taking notice of the Meteor ads. Especially the TV ones. You've probably seen them; they are the ads with the two really annoying chicks above. One girl wants free texts, the other wants 5c calls. I have seen those damn ads for ages now without even realising who or what they were selling until after switching to 085. All I got from the ad was - wow, what an annoying ad.

Now, I'll tell you this. If Meteor had just done an ad that said - hi, with Meteor you can call anyone at anytime for 20c a minute. Vodafone cost X cent per minute and O2 charge Y cent per minute but with us it's just 20c - if only the ad had said that instead of Bimbo Blond and Bimbo Brunette prancing about the place, I'd have switched ages ago. All the ad needed to do was show me what the man in the phone shop showed me.

Whenever I've suggested to friends that they should switch to 085 because it's cheaper, frequently I've gotten the reply that it's only cheaper for Meteor to Meteor calls. Obviously Meteor hasn't gotten the message out.

What's my point? Why should I care if Meteor doesn't increase its market share?

Well it's not that I give a shit about Meteor.

My point is that advertising has gotten so big and slick and intricate and elaborate that it has completely and entirely ended up, embedded in it's own arse. Advertising has missed its own point.

Advertising is intrusive. That's why I dislike it so much. But now that it's not even serving its own purpose, it has become degenerative. Decadent even.

Oscar Wilde once said that all art is useless. As is advertising now. However, not everything has changed. Unlike art, all advertising is still soulless.


Sinisilma said...

Advertising is useless? Souless?

I don't think so! For one thing, whether not its useful depends on what you're trying to do with it, and for every annoying meteor lady theres a thousand million examples of advertising that works.

Second, soulless - you think that if you slaved your ass off writing, directing and crafting a piece of theatre tomorrow, the posters you put up around town would be soulless? The texts you sent to your friends asking them to come?

John The Bad said...

Let me quantify. Everything needs balance, including advertising. An ad that tells you about a product or a show or whatever is fine. When the process is - build it first then tell the world about it - that's fine.

When the ad becomes the issue, when it becomes the product or becomes the show, when it consumes what it was meant to advertise in the first place (ie a movie is made in order to sell merchandise) then, yes, it is useless. Useless from the point of view that it no longer serves its original purpose.

I didn't say that all advertisisng is useless, of course not. I did say that all ads are souless. In that, I'm wrong. But I have no problem in saying that the vast majority of them are indeed without soul.