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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A short commercial break

The advertisement begins with a shot of a small boy of oriental extraction sitting on a lavatory. The camera angle is carefully chosen to leave us in no doubt that what he is sitting on is a lavatory (and not, for example, a sofa) whilst at the same time studiously excluding anything which might detract from the wholesome image he presents, such as the fact that his trousers and underpants must be round his ankles.

Having completed his daily business, the little boy is immediately revolted by the stench of his own bodily waste. (Thereby demonstrating that he is a very great deal more fastidious than are the majority of little boys, and leading one viewer at least to suspect that he may well prefer Barbie to Action Man.)

Obvious remedies to his olfactory predicament - such as opening the bathroom window or simply flushing the offending solids away - seeming not to have occurred to him, he reaches instead for a device which will endeavour to mask the unpleasant aroma by squirting an equally-unpleasant and probably considerably more noxious mixture of synthetic fragrances into the air.

But, oh, calamity!! The device is empty!! He emits a wail of misery which brings his mother (who, curiously, is of an entirely different ethnicity from that of her son) to the bathroom door. "What's the matter, darling?", she cries. (From the desperate nature of his wail, she has no doubt assumed that something really dreadful must have happened, such as her precious son having accidentally blinded himself with an inaccurately-wielded toothbrush, or inadvertently maimed himself with the nail scissors.) At this point, the boy's voice is over-dubbed with that of a singularly repellent stage school brat petulantly intoning the words, "It's all gone, it's all gone".

Now, we have already established that the bathroom door is not sound-proofed. The boy can hear his mother, and his mother can hear him. Would it not therefore be reasonable to assume that, when she asks him exactly what it is which has all gone, he would simply tell her? He would not need to know the name of the product in question: mothers are accustomed to the fact that small children often describe things in an endearingly naive way, and are generally able to decode their charming responses without excessive difficulty. Surely, "the squirty thing that makes the nasty poo smell go away", would be sufficient to identify whatever it was which had all gone?

But no. Eschewing the simple expedient of telling his mother what the problem is, he instead draws a picture of the product on a piece of paper, and slides the drawing under the door.

An action which raises three further questions in Lady Bracknell's mind:
  1. Is her ladyship unique in not keeping paper and pencil to hand in the bathroom against just such an emergency?
  2. Is it not stretching viewers' credulity to the breaking point to expect them to believe that a child who has not yet learned to write has sufficient manual dexterity and artistic skill to dash off a deceptively simple sketch which, in less than half a dozen pencil strokes, portrays the advertised product with such devastating accuracy that it could not possibly be mistaken for anything else?
  3. Why doesn't the child just open the door? Surely he has pulled his trousers up by this time?

All of which world-weary cynicism and capacity for independent thought goes to show why persons such as Lady Bracknell are so roundly loathed by advertisers, and why Lady Bracknell avoids commercial television stations whenever possible.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too have seen the advert in question, but not heard it because I always mute them. As you say, more noxious substances are released into the air from that contraption than are ever produced normally. Needless to say, I don't use it!

I'm glad your Ladyship is of an era that recognises the futility of most modern advertising, and points out the flaws so accurately. Given that it costs so much to make a TV advert, the people promoting this product must be rewarded n ways other than just artificially sweet-smelling rooms? Money is no doubt at the root of it... she says cynically!

Loved the picture of the two cats, by the way. Master Bertram is certainly growing fast. He'll be behind (as well as in front of) a camera in no time at all.
Angie xx

10:23 am  
Blogger Mary said...

Ma'am, I must inform you that I *always* have paper in my lavatory.

The pen, however, finds my bathroom provisions wanting.

12:15 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Very droll.

No, the paper on which the child draws his marvellous sketch is lined, writing paper. From a writing pad.

12:18 pm  
Anonymous kethry said...

i'm so glad i'm not the only one to think all that about the advert in question.. am i also the only one to grab the remote and kill the sound as soon as mr cillit "i'm shouting everyone look at me!" bang comes on the box?

2:05 pm  
Anonymous Vic said...

Merely a paper and pen? I have no less than an easel, canvas, six brushes and an appropriate array of paints....

Seriously, on another point - it could be (fictionally, of course) that the boy's father is of oriental extraction whereas the mother is not.

6:54 pm  
Blogger seahorse said...

This is all highly amusing given the situation at our new abode. Ralph has the runs. I tried an odour neutraliser this morning and promptly had an allergic reaction to it, nevermind the mental image you have created of Ralph sitting on his litter imploring me with a woebegone look to 'bring the spray quick and take away the nasty poo poo smell'. I therefore declare the use of noxious chemical sprays banned in our household. Cat poo and unidentifiable rotting smells are fine though. Oh happy day, largely spent changing cat litter.

7:25 pm  
Anonymous Dame Honoria Glossop said...

Chez Glossop televisual programmes are often recorded, so those irritating 'commercial breaks' can be skipped.

The sight (and sound) of the Hon. Glossop attempting to 'fast forward' a live programme is highly entertaining.

1:52 pm  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

One expects the advertisements to be tendentious, patronising, mendacious and stupid.

What gets my goat is that so many of the programmes are now no different.

7:48 pm  

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