Yesterday, the e-mail that jumped out of my in-box at me was the one containing my brother’s blog post.
Today it was one with the following subject line:
Concerned about revamping your kitchen?
It was from a well-known Swedish furniture and homewares company, whose products, warehouse-style stores and meatballs (!) I like very much. But I have to wonder about their worldview – or rather, the worldview they are tapping into – with a headline like this.
‘Thinking of revamping your kitchen?’ sure, ‘Hoping to revamp your kitchen?’ maybe. Concerned about it?
If your biggest (or even your second or third biggest) concern in life is how to revamp your kitchen, I think there’s something seriously wrong with your priorities and your grip on reality.
It’s great that, recession or not, there are vast swathes of the British population who can afford to revamp their kitchens, but this and adverts like it need to remind us that possessions aren’t everything, and that even people who have functioning kitchens always want something more, or better or just newer. Possessions never satisfy, and the need you think you’re feeding when you seek more of them will never be sated.
When you see ads like this, why not start commenting on them to family and friends? Just make a joke of it, keep it light (not ranty, like I’m having to restrain myself from being – yes, I could have ranted more!!!), but point up ‘What is this saying about our society, its values and its priorities?’
We probably can’t change the advertising agencies, but if we can change people’s response to the ads and open their eyes to the (not so very subtle) messaging, that will have a transformative effect on our culture.