Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ohhhh Crrrap!

Rumour has it (How true I dont know) that the kid in the singing Frosties ad (below) has been getting death threats by people because it is so irritating.

As much as it annoys me, and as much as i'm sure most viewers want to throw bricks at their screen every time it's on; death threats are too far. Surely this kid is already being picked on in whatever school or college he goes to, like most child actors; anything more is just cruel. No actor deserves that, no matter how bad the part.

But it opens up the old question:

Could / Should we hold creatives or agencies responsible for all of the results of their ads? If someone threatens this poor kid, isnt that indirectly the fault of the (in this case) rubbish ad which used irritation to get attention? Likewise, when kids started slapping each other after watching the Tango ads, was that then the fault or responsibility of the creative?

I think the answer is slightly different for both those cases, but id love to hear your thoughts...

The ad:


Doug said...

Interesting post Rob - not sure I ever thought I'd see a Frosties ad spark such a wide-reaching question!

It's a tricky one - where does the responsibility lie? For example, if a builder's work fails and the house falls down due to the dodgy work, it's no-one's fault but theirs and they should be held culpable. However, I'm not sure if you can apply the same logic to advertising - it's not an exact science like construction.

Ultimately, it's the client that signs this stuff off, so one could argue the buck stops with them, though I'm sure some would argue that this shouldn't be the case, given that they're paying agencies for their expert recommendations, and to some extent, therefore sharing responsibility.

It's something that's not just evident in advertising but across all aspects of culture: can we blame GTA's programmers for gang violence, Beenie Man for homophobia etc. etc.?

As long as we operate within the realms of common decency and taste, I think it's hard to blame the creative for any indirect effects that the work may have - ie. kids being bullyed - though the further we stray from these parameters, the harder it would be to defend.

Anonymous said...

I am so pissed off ... I wrote a massive reply and it didn't get through. Oh well, I'll try and remember what I said.

As one of the guys behind the Tango campaign ... as well as having a Father who represented Ozzy Osbourne against the legal claim his music 'influenced' teenage suicide, I say this ...

Whilst communication/media has the power to influence negative individual actions, ultimately the responsibility HAS TO be with the person undertaking the acts otherwise life will stop.

My father argued that if Musicans and Video Game Producers were to be held responsible for any acts of violence [by individuals who claim their 'inspiration' was from their creativity] then the bible should also be banned.

He argued that not only does it feature incredible acts of violence throughout the book, but as the human mind is so powerful, the words could be imagined in far more outlandish, violent ways than any video game or song could achieve.

In essence, words have a far greater ability to inspire 'wrong-doing' than audio/visual creativity [because the brain has zero limits on its imagination]

Thus, if the case was to continue, then the judgement had to be all creativity needed to be 'goverened'.

He won the case.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Doug though - decency and real consumer understanding is vital - which is why the M&C India ads upset me so much, shock for the sake of shock.

[Oh, and the reason my original entry didn't show up is because I am an idiot and would rather not go into any more detail than that!]

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree. I just wondered whether the distinction between a game or music (entertainment and engagement) and advertising (directly trying to influence someone to do something) makes the latter far closer to having a responsibility.

"Blame Ozzy and by definition we have to ban the bible..." way to sock it to middle America! Your dad would have made a great planner!

Go on Rob...why didnt it show up?!

Anonymous said...

Of course you are absolutely right ... that is unless, like me, you believe the Bible is the longest running and most successful ad campaign of all time, ha! (I'm so going to hell for that comment aren't I? Oh, hang on, I'm saying heaven and hell don't exist, phew, saved)

As for my 'technical issues' ... put it this way, I sacrily became Andy for a second. Oh dear, dear me.

Anonymous said...

Even if god exists, its still an ad campaign; just one with truth behind it!

Became Andy...thats worrying, explain!!

Anonymous said...

Truth behind it? Hahahaha ... I'm such a heathen aren't I! As for my moment of 'Andyness', I simply clicked on a completely unrelated link rather than the 'POST MY COMMENT' button and hey presto, one lost blog entry and a red face.

Off to bed now ... my Dad would be mortified to be talked about on advertising blogs, he hated the industry, ha!

Anonymous said...

Truth behind it?

Such faith, hahahaha ... I'm such a heathen aren't I!

As for my moment of 'Andyness', I simply clicked on a completely unrelated link rather than the 'POST MY COMMENT' button and hey presto, one lost blog entry and a red face.

Off to bed now ... my Dad would be mortified to be talked about on advertising blogs, he hated the industry, ha!

Anonymous said...

God DOES work in mysterious ways ... he somehow placed TWO entries instead of one. Whoops.

Anonymous said...

As least you clicked the right one this time ;)

Anonymous said...

Orange Tango's slapping craze was a simple case of life imitating art. The Frosties hysteria is different: it's trendy to turn on the ad (which I reckon is quite good), in particular the kid in it in the same way that otherwise sane kids gang up on a victim in the playground.
People who waste time getting het up by advertising (except for those in the industry) are morons. Discuss.

faris said...

The kid is fine - Kellogg's released a statement:

The current advertisement has been well received by the vast majority of our customers. We would also like to take this opportunity to confirm that the lead boy within the advertisement is well and continues to live in his native South Africa.

I love the first line ;)