Old Advertising

Wasn’t there something comforting and satisfying about those days when advertising slogans contained simple and straightforward messages like: Guinness is good for you; Polo, the mint with a hole; or Murray Mints, too good to hurry mints. Having said that, I am still not convinced that “hands that do dishes can feel soft as your face.”

Not surprisingly, the latest advertising campaigns attempt to blind us with science, particularly when it comes to face creams which I cannot admit to using myself. As Jamie Carragher once said, real Scouse boys don’t use ‘product’.

So what are things like Nutrileum and Poly-Collagen, words they throw at us as if we all have chemistry degrees? Whenever any of these adverts appear on the telly, I cynically (and monotonously) say: “Wow, look, it contains Pentapeptides!”

The only thing my mother ever put on her face was a dab of powder, dispensed from a little round ‘compact’ that she carried everywhere in her handbag. Even in her later years, people often commented on her wonderful complexion, and not a Pentapeptide in sight.

When it came to skin problems, my late grandfather – born in 1890 – believed a smear of good old fashioned Vaseline was the solution for everything, even winter colds. He would rub it on the end of his nose, claiming it kept those pesky germs at bay.

My father was a chip off the old block with a cupboard full of those evil-smelling chest vapour rubs that he swore by. The only way to shift the smell was to get a pan of salt fish on the boil.

There is no doubt about it, we are all susceptible to targeted advertising and while many campaigns are inventive and even entertaining, other areas are clearly potentially dangerous. The Italian government has just taken the bold step of banning all TV, radio and internet advertising relating to betting from 2019 on the basis that gambling has simply become too big at the expense of people’s health and dignity. Will the UK follow suit?

I’d go even further and ban all those smarmy pay day loan adverts that instinctively target the vulnerable with a sunny pitch and outrageous and punitive repayment charges.

Suddenly, those Pentapeptides and Poly-Collagen ingredients almost seem sensible, while remembering my granddad’s alternative sage advice.