Friday, April 30, 2010

Truth, lies, advertising, politics and newspapers

After two years in adland I still don't understand the divide between how we are seen and how other institutions are seen. The worst excesses of hard sell advertising pale into nothing compared to the amount of manipulative bullshit we are fed every day by so called respectable industries.

Particularly shocking is the current election coverage. Here are two examples to demonstrate:

1. Paper publishes online survey suggesting David Cameron won debate number 2. However it was revealed that the poll was opened when he started his opening speech, and closed when he finished it, before the debate even happened!

2. The Sun's own online survey (which requires registration) showed a 40% victory for Nick Clegg in last nights debate. Their headline is: Scrambled Clegg and Toast - but Cameron is full of beans. Ignoring their own polls when it contradicts what they want you to think.

How is it even legal for some papers to talk about the election? The Sun, Telegraph and The Times are Tory propaganda machines. The Mail is a slightly racist Tory propaganda machine. This is the kind of bias that would be slammed in an FMCG product ad, yet millions are allowed to be exposed to what is at best heavy bias, and at worst outright lies.

Lets look at The Daily Star who during the ash cloud fuss published a front page with a 747 jet with engines burning and "TERROR AS JET HITS ASH CLOUD". It turned out that this was a picture from a 20 year old film about what could happen.

From now on every page of The Sun should have a large disclaimer explaining how they are owned by Rupert Murdoch and nothing they say should be taken as fair. There is no parity, no fairness, no justification for government to say that advertising shouldn't be allowed to mislead people when it so blatantly happens every day in our newspapers.

The future of branding isn't advertising. It's buying newspapers and being allowed to print what the hell you like regardless of the truth or motives.