Whilst waiting for the tedious adverts that maddeningly interrupt my evening joys to finish, I find myself watching yet another of those patronising spot cream adverts. Taking over our worshipped TV screens, they emphasise how fraudulent the advertising industry truly is.
Centred round flawlessly perfect teenagers who have clearly never had to use the treatment in their life, we less fortunate and more realistic viewers are forced to squirm in discomfort at our inequality. Yet in reality, these are likely to be twenty-two year olds who are having no luck getting actual acting work and have been Photoshopped to the point of oblivion. After 20 seconds of watching spotless teens saunter around in a dubious society, you are zoomed in on one person’s face to see a hugely grotesque spot that was never on that persons face; even in the most convincing adverts, these actors have clearly only been poked on the face with a red marker pen. Then you are shown how the teen applies this magical formula to their ‘spot’ and it miraculously disappears, displaying again the immaculate face. Suddenly, flocking to their nearest pharmacists are hundreds of needlessly self-conscious women - and men, but obviously in a manlier manner – in order to purchase this mythical product. Needless to say that although it is likely to help the erupting volcano on the face, it won’t have the desired Helen of Troy transformation that was publicised; thus leaving customers up and down the country feeling conned of their money.
As if it weren’t bad enough to see ordinary people disgrace themselves in these adverts, you have celebrities who also endorse this scheme. The likes of Katy Perry, Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Love-Hewitt partake in these counterfeit commercials, in order to bring in more money. Evidently their dollar shining eyes don’t have enough already, despite the fact that we are currently in an economic crisis and they should be dispersing the wealth rather than taking in more.
However, it’s just the peak of the deceptive iceberg. It’s just the next in a long line of evidently edited commercials: “Maybe It’s Maybelline” (Maybe it’s Photoshop) or “Seize Power Today” (Yeah, sorry Oral B, but there is nothing powerful enough to make my teeth that white).
I suppose I could suffer it if it were only every couple of shows. Yet these abhorrent commercials have found a way to sponsor my favourite TV shows, with themes that are completely irrelevant. I am sorry Freederm: finding a man looking at you in the mirror may be slightly spooky and tie in with Vampire Diaries, but what on earth does it have to do with spot creams? They seem to be finding anyway to display it – which I suppose is the key to good advertising – but at least use something relevant! Sponsor Glee or 90210 where the show is about teenagers! Admittedly, none of these ‘teenagers’ have spots either, but it is closer to home than Big Brother or Take Me Out. True, these are real people who are more likely to have spots than the fake million-pound-tan-and-unnaturally-white-teeth-actors on American TV shows; but they will have been in make-up for the last 10 hours, meaning that they too are prepped and preened ‘til they look nothing like their true selves.
There is something strange though. If someone came a-knocking at your door, claiming to have a miracle cure for spots, you’d turn them away without a second glance, let alone invest in their over-priced products singing of false hope. So why is it different when we see it on TV? Perhaps it’s the fact that we know there are advertising regulators or that in the glory of the modern age we have become too believing of what we see on the TV. Yet maybe it’s just because the idea that there is a cure for something as small and often as seemingly insignificant as complexion catastrophes can lead to the hope that maybe, just maybe, there is a cure for the bigger, scarier issues that plague modern society.
Whatever the reason behind our fascination with these spot cream treatments, their advertisement campaigns are as annoying as the younger sibling that just used your headphones to rescue your useless spot cream that they just flushed down the toilet (by accident, of course). Spot creams need to find a new way to reach their target audience, without pointlessly disrupting my evening TV. Their blemish on my life is becoming a lot more threatening than the one on their face.