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The Power of the Message

The Power of the Message

In the 1950’s and 60’s, so I’m told – plus what I’ve gleaned from Mad Men – smoking was not only harmless, it was good for you. Smoking made men smooth and urbane and women alluring and kinda sexy. This is, we all now know, a crock of poo and the truth is somewhat different. Such is the power of advertising and the public opinion generated from it.

Advertising is everywhere and most walks of life now come replete with commercial messages. We don’t even have to think for ourselves. All we have to do is sit on our comfy backsides – stuffing our faces with something we saw on the telly – and be told how to live our lives. From how to dress and what to put on our hair to what our homes should look like and what should be on our drives, practically every facet of our lives is taken care of. Such is the power of advertising as Aleksandr Orlov will be pleased to tell you.

Is it the product we like or would aspire to owning or is it the way in which it is advertised? The snarling TV advertisement for the Skoda Fabia VRS is a case in point. This writer has driven the car extensively and whilst it is a good car and a hoot to drive it will not, as the ad suggests, frighten off opposition from a Porsche, for example. It simply isn’t, as an American might say and if you’ll excuse me, bad-ass enough, despite its promoted image.

Fortunately, advertising is now monitored for taste, decency and accuracy – unlike the old days – and, to a certain extent children are protected from the worst of it but it is a major force in our lives. Car manufacturers know this and succeed with their campaigns because they are, in the broadest sense, truthful. They understand that no advertisement may encourage or condone dangerous, inconsiderate or irresponsible driving. This does not prevent flamboyant driving in scenes which are clearly fantasy or ‘theatrical’ so that the action is distanced from reality, though. They will appeal to our vanity, our common sense and our lifestyles. They will treat men and women differently, which is probably just as well.

So, is it the case that your choices are not your own, despite what you think? Is your mind made up before you even think about it? Are our lives governed by actions that have preceded us? Phew, after a while all this metaphysical stuff pecks at your head doesn’t it; but the fact remains we are sold cars for their perceived qualities and it is up to you, the customer, to make the right decision based on the facts. One thing’s for sure, the power of the message notwithstanding, we do get some great cars these days – and they don’t make your clothes smell.

This post was written by:

- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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bG9nZ2VyX0xvZ28uanBnIjtpOjI7czo3MzoiaHR0cDovL21vdG9yYmxvZ2dlci5jby51ay93cC1jb250ZW50L3dvb191cGxvYWRzLzMtTW90b3JfQmxvZ2dlcl9Mb2dvLnBuZyI7fTwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX3ZpZGVvX2NhdGVnb3J5PC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gQXV0byBOZXdzPC9saT48L3VsPg==