Your basket (0 items) | view basket
Advertising God30 May 2010 Zie Nederlandse versie
by Arnold Jansen op de Haar
This week the Advertising Standards Authority revealed that an ad displayed on buses proclaiming the existence of God drew more complaints than any other advert. Asserting one’s belief in God antagonises people in the Western World to the same extent as the Islamic World reacts to secularism.
In our part of the world more and more voices are heard supporting a ban on head scarves. Yet at the same time I read that the Iranian authorities are on the warpath against skimpy head scarves. I consider both points of view rather foolish.
Actually I did blow my top this week in relation to a remark about the Almighty. Accompanied by my mother and my aunt Ted, I had just purchased a wooden statuette of the Virgin Mary. This was a present for my youngest nephew to celebrate his confirmation, a sacrament that is conferred upon millions of faithful people each year.
By the statue of the Virgin Mary hangs a story. She is a beautiful stylised wooden figure which I purchased at the back of a church in Nijmegen, the place I was born. We were served by four ladies, ‘church ladies’ you would call them in England. They even offered a separate room in case you longed for a private conversation.
You know this type of lady, blue rinsed and desperate to do good works. It seemed as if the four ladies had been waiting for us all day; I have never seen a parcel being wrapped at such a slow pace.
Afterwards my mother was adamant that she would like to give my youngest nephew a book about the sacrament of confirmation. So we proceeded on our way to St Augustine Bookshop, the Virgin Mary safely stored in the boot of the car. The bookshop was named after one of the church fathers so success seemed to be assured.
In the shop my mother asked for a book about confirmation. ‘No one does that any longer!’ said the shop assistant, as if we were dimwits. In response I lost my temper. I curtly added that looking at it from a worldwide point of view, people attending church services outstrip visits to football matches. I was myself taken aback by my response.
‘No one does that any longer!’ I don’t think that would have been her response if I had enquired about a book dealing with Kama Sutra.
What was I trying to tell you? Oh yes, advertising. When I was a kid, there was an advert for a certain type of petrol, Chevron with F310 (pronounces as: ‘F three ten’). What the hell is F310? What did it do? Nowadays, have they just removed F310? Will we be able to survive without F310?
‘President Obama, forget about the oil disaster, just add F310.’
There was also a Dutch advert featuring King Corn (similar to Kingsmill) bread. In it a little boy proclaimed: ‘I am moving in with Japie,’ because at his friend’s home they served King Corn, a factory-produced bread that you could squeeze together in a little blob only for it to return to its original form when you released it.
Then there is After Eight. In The Netherlands advertisements carried the slogan: ‘There is no better company’. Does this still exist? Yes it does. There is even a website that allows you to meet ‘Jim’. As a matter of fact, Jim looks as if he has just overdosed a little on After Eights. Actually for Jim it is not ‘after eight’ but five to twelve.
He only speaks in platitudes. ‘That is what we have in common, our uniqueness.’ And: ’I love people, people are great.’
Something similar: Vanish Oxi Action, a recent advertising campaign. It is about a detergent. Oxi Action personifies stain removal technology. Stain removal technology? Have you ever heard of a washing powder without stain removal technology? ‘Dear customers, we now present you with a detergent that doesn’t get rid of any stains.’
As few advertisements as possible, this is best way forward, that is why I love the BBC. None of the movies get interrupted by commercials. I personally would never post anything on a bus. My god is my own personal concern. I would never bother anyone with my beliefs except when someone says: ‘You are out of date!’ If you have any complaints I suggest you contact the publisher.
© Arnold Jansen op de Haar
© Translation Holland Park Press
You can leave your comment on our forum.
Cycling for Europe
The Poet and the Perpetrator
Geert Wilders - The Movie
Don't do it Amy
Breakfast with Kate
Tell a friend
Back to magazine
Magazine archiveJune 2013
NewsHolland Park Press is now on Facebook
27 May 2010
Like us and become a fan
Find out more
The Lonely Tree on Twitter
14 May 2010
Follow Tonia Shulman
Find out more
4 & 5 May
04 May 2010
Remembrance & Celebration
Find out more