Reading the Cluetrain

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His first word was DVD

A couple of weekends ago I went to visit my mate Fran up in Hagley. Fran and I used to work together and had a real baptism of fire to PR in 1997 when we started at a little cowboy, sorry I meant interactive agency in my home hood of the Medway Towns. We got into many a scrape over those heady years and in addition I had my first real education in the world of ‘I love gadgets’ from Fran’s now husband the lovely Tony who once uttered the immortal line ‘I’m creaming myself’ when I commented on how excited he is about the TV goggles he had acquired sometime in 98.


Anyway, those days are gone and while I’m still intent on inflicting public relations on the world Fran is a mum to two boys. One is almost four and named after a popular character from Star Wars (of course he is) and the other is… well I forgot but smaller and not named after a science fiction character.


Like most children of that age I have come across in my newish role of ‘Auntie Sarah’ they definitely own the telly, at least in daylight hours. I watched countless hours of CBeebies, countless hours. In fact whenever I thought the coast was clear and was settling in for an episode of America’s Next Top Model (Cycle 9) I was scuppered by the doe-eyed request for ‘one of my programmes’.


Now none of this is new of course, he is going to want to watch the brightly coloured inane chatter that kids TV inflicts. However, when I was left to babysit the eldest one for a couple of hours I came across something interesting.


Despite being in a village Fran & Tony’s house is of course house of tech and like any house of tech they have Sky Plus. I don’t have Sky Plus, hell I barely have digital TV, (I don’t when the 333 bus goes by that’s for sure). While Fran was out and I was asked to put on ‘my programmes’ I had no idea how to access the stored programmes and figured if we started to flick through the actual channels we might find something other than Dora the (grrrrr**%$) Explorer anyway. We did but we also came across the adverts.


Kid: “You’re watching the adverts – I can see you!”

Me: (Puzzled) “Yes that’s right”


Kid: (Sings the jingle) “This one is good; it cleans the dishes much better than the other one”


Me: “What?”


Kid: “Look they come out much shinier.”


Me: “Er, okay, yes I guess so, yes, er shall we watch Dora?”


Kid: “Okay.”


Later when Fran came back I quizzed her on this strange conversation. “Oh yes he loves adverts” she says “Can’t get enough of them”. “Strange kid” I remark. “No, well not really, he doesn’t get to watch them does he? We only watch Sky Plus or DVDs, in fact one of his first words was DVD and adverts are a novelty aren’t they?”


I thought about this for a bit and considered the relationship that children and teenagers have with advertising. Fran’s kids will grow up not seeing ads as I do, as an irritant, (the cause of the disruption of my suspension of disbelief during a demon grilling episode of Charmed) they seem to see them as exciting, a break from the norm, something to be celebrated. What’s going to happen in the future? What’s going to happen when these kids get online? Will there be advert cults? Kids that dress like Barry Scott from Cillit Bang?


The Observer’s article ‘How TV ads are taking the net by storm’ says that the reaction to pieces of mini genius like Cadbury ‘Eyebrow’s  (which has gone global as a viral) has convinced advertisers that their future lies online.


So in the future if ads are only online and audiences have to actually make an appointment to view whatever The Man is trying to flog, you can be damn straight that Yes Car Credit are going to have to pull their fingers out or they should start a clothing line. 


February 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments