It is with an enormous amount of pleasure that I can say that my lifestyle choice is changing the way I look at the world of consumerism. I have never been easily led, either when it comes to the choices I make, following the crowd or making purchases, but it is only more recently that I have been watching adverts with new eyes. I am grateful to the advertising standards agency for providing me with a lot of pleasure and laughter at the various ridiculous adverts on screen and magazine. Especially the small print.
Here are some of my favourites:
Mascara adverts with small print at the bottom of the screen: 'Styled with lash inserts'.
Hair dye adverts done with Davina Macall which say at the bottom: 'Davina has been styled with hair extensions some of which have been dyed using the product.'
Most make-up ads: 'enhanced in post production'
A real favourite, walkers sensation crisps: 'Made with real ingredients'
Subway advert for their low fat sub sandwich: 'Only low fat when a 6" Sub with no sauces and on brown bread.'
Lipstick advert that claims all day long lasting colour: 'Top coat may need to be re-applied throughout the day'
Computer videos games showing fantastic action: 'Not actual screen shots.'
Once you get into the mode of seeing the small print, you begin to realise how ridiculous buying any of this stuff is and how advertisers are trying to fool the public all the time to part with our money for a product that doesn't actually do what it says. Unfortunately because they are getting popular house hold names to endorse the product they are tapping into the wannabe celebrity market, especially for things like beauty products.
For me, besides providing me with a good laugh, I thank the false claims for making me view all products with a certain amount of suspicion and cynicism. It is easy to start asking yourself if you actually need it, does it actually do something that will enhance your life, or if you can get something cheaper and just as effective, or best still, if you can make it yourself at home.
Perhaps the best small print an advert could say is using the words of William Morris: 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.' A good phrase to ask yourself before you buy anything.