Magazine article Marketing

Saddam's Silver Lining

Magazine article Marketing

Saddam's Silver Lining

Article excerpt

Saddam's silver lining

That is the trouble with metaphors. They settle imperceptibly upon our shoulders and insinuate themselves into every description, every comparison, tinting every view. The Gulf War can be found everywhere.

Advertisers pulled their commercials, not only through shortage of funds, but in the sudden realisation that content might appear too glossily upbeat when screened in breaks between pessimistic despatches. Few clients want to stand accused of public bad form.

Their problem is clear if, for example, their brand's personality is expressed by young people of flawless form leaping about on beaches having fun. That ad, interrupting a sombre newscast, might project negative vibes. But the identical gamble is taken in peacetime, when the world is seldom short of catastrophe. Unless, I wonder, our propaganda looks tame next to the real thing.

In these straightened times be grateful that corporate budgets are too skint for advertisers to demonstrate their patriotism. Visitors can see this for themselves in the current Institute of Practitioners in Advertising's modest exhibition of US ads from the 30s and 40s. During World War Two advertisers of well-known brands draped themselves in the Stars and Stripes and trumpeted their belief in freedom (often expressed as mom's apple pie) to an extent that severely taxed copywriters' rhetoric and credibility.

War yomps its way through the English language

However and whenever it ends this war will colonise our language and sensibilities for a long time. …

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