During a commercial break on television last night I saw two adverts in quick succession. One was for vodka. Vodka is great stuff, but the advertising can't tell me this. It has carefully to ensure that no images or messages are used which might make me see it as enjoyable, because this could make me, as a blubber-minded member of the public, use it irresponsibly. And in case there's any lingering doubt about how much I'm not supposed to enjoy the vodka, the advert is plastered with the slogan "Drink responsibly" and points me to a website where I can learn how to drink less.
This advert was followed by one from Renault, selling a car which plops out noxious pollutants, is built to exceed the legal speed limit and is quite capable of killing innocent people. It was marketed with lots of exciting images of the car being driven wildly and ended with the slogan "Serious Fun". You can watch it, if you like.
Isn't there an inconsistency here? Alcohol: most people people enjoy it but it can cause harm if abused = constant warnings and can't be marketed as making your life more fun. Cars: although some people enjoy them, they cause harm when used normally = no warnings, and the marketing can promise sex and fun in return for using the product.
Surely the time has come for car companies to go where the drink companies have gone? Renault could have an advert which focuses solely on some minor aspect of the product's design -- the shape of the gearstick, for example, with resolutely no mention of how people might feel when driving the car. It would then display warnings like "Please enjoy the Twingo responsibly". Naturally oil companies should carry similar exhortations in their commercials too. And of course, both types of advertiser should direct consumers to websites where they can be helped to spend less money on the the products of the people paying for the adverts. Just a thought.