Samsung Australia launched a new ad today: featuring its front end loader wash machine and fridge, it had a middle class family round the dinner table. Suddenly the entire family launch food fights. These are reversed, the film is reversed to show the effectiveness of the wash machine.
Reassuringly its FB page which ran the ad and solicited responses had a number of adverse comments. One person, surprisingly employed by the Vic Salvos, said that the ad was being taken way TOO seriously; that the critics’ waste of breath could be better used elsewhere. He called our comments RANTS, and then ran a spuriously eco line of argument that our criticism was just equally wasteful of the earth’s resources.
Another be cool type said he would not criticise unless he was also doing something. I have solar panels on the roof, I recycle everything I can, I use food respectfully. Etc. My arguments were twofold: 1. the ad disrespected family values, ie mutual respect, 2. it disrespected food, the earth’s resource.
Most of the Samsung glee club commentators were just the happy witless, I wonder if they thought Samsung would reward their enthusiasm?
I can see the witless rationale of the ad designers: generally a coke-sniffing hyper lot, their main aim is to shock & startle the bourgeois, thereby gaining their attention. In that other advertising obscenity of the bourgeois world, the puppy goes around sniffing people’s backsides, if they fail the clean smell test it unrolls some toilet paper. The ad covered its breach of etiquette with puppy cuteness. That said, much of the bourgeois world is preoccupied with odour and giving offence. The big rule of behaviour is smiles and niceness. In this instance, reversing the food fight left everyone smiling, losses restored, sorrow undone.
At home in the Shire, the North Shore, the Eastern Suburbs, where the surface is maintained unruffled, acknowledging that the rest of the world lacks what we take for granted is not part of the consciousness, except when hostesses go on charity drives, being more than usually hostessy for a good cause.
I was at a Dutch party and noted that people opened conversations with anecdotes about the third world; it was a less cynical version of “I wonder what the poor people are doing tonight”. I am aware how privileged we all are; I live in modest affluence, sitting at a clean desk in the corner of a clean, dry room at this computer. It would become self defeating to browbeat myself everytime I did something denied to pooer people. However, that does not entitle me to waste what is given to me. Food, especially, is a gift of the earth, none of us have deserved it by some prior right.
Today three of us [two neighbours] converged before my front fence. A woman was gently walking her dog which had recently had a large tumour removed. I’d used the same l9ocal vet clinic for my two Tonkinese cats. I remarked to her that when the cats were being looked at, I often thought how they were receiving better medical treatment than third world people. That was seriously guilt inducing.
Meanwhile, I hope Samsung sees the light and withdraws its regrettable ad.