I do a lot of online surveys and opinion polls. Some of them pay cash or redeemable points, some give me entries in prize draws. The money isn’t anyone’s idea of a fortune, but it helps.
Going through the questions each time, it’s clear to me that most of these surveys reflect some ad agency whizzkid’s limited idea of society.
For instance, in a survey about alcohol consumption, after confirming that I drank alcohol, I filled in about ten pages of questions on various commercial brands of beer and wine; I had to answer “don’t know” to every one, simply because the idiot who put it together couldn’t imagine that anybody drank anything but shop-bought alcohol and so hadn’t included a option for home-brewed alcohol.
And just now, I did a survey about furniture-buying. On being asked if I had bought any furniture in the last six months, I answered ‘yes’; we had bought a kitchen table and chair set from our nieghbours. On being asked where I had bought it from, I went down to the bottom of the list of furniture-shop names, clicked the box marked ‘other’ and typed in ‘A neighbour’. I then had to answer some thirty questions on how and why I had bought furniture from the “A neighbour store” – did I look at their website first, was their catalogue attractive, how was the sales service, was the furniture good value for money, did I buy the furniture in a sale, and similar idiocies. It was almost comical – except that it showed up the poverty of experience and imagination of whoever compiled the survey.
But every now and then, along comes a survey that makes me think that somebody out in adland might have some intelligence. Yesterday, I had one about hair colourants. I was required to watch an ad about a well-known brand and give my opinions on it.
I had to sit through it three times, and felt I was really earning my £1.50. It was the usual typical hair-colouring TV ad – an over-the-hill American actress swings her hair, shows off her dental work, does some cradle-snatching flirting with a fit young male model, swings her hair, shows off her dental work, breathily suggests that the chemical gunge she plasters on her hair is wholly responsible for making her sexy, fabulous, rich and looking twenty years younger than her actual age, swings her hair, shows off her dental work and then finally announces that she’s worth it (whatever ‘it’ is). Shots of a faceless hair-model getting said chemical gunge smeared onto her already glowing locks break up the repetitive-loop shots of hairswinging and dentalwork-flashing.
Getting on to the questions that recorded my feelings about the ad, I was pleasantly surprised to find there were a much wider range of options than usual. Besides the usual keywords like “hopeful”, “confident”, “happy”, “interested” etc, there was “boring”, “disgusted”, “repelled”. Joy of joys, there was even “hatred”!! Good god – somebody out in adland actually realises that there are some TV viewers who hate the ads!
Not only that, there were text boxes in which you could input your comments. Happy happy joy joy! What else could I do but grab the opportunity and do a proper Charlie Brooker on the ad?
At the very least I gave somebody a laugh. And you never know, I might be responsible for giving you an interesting, engaging and creative hair-colouring ad. Hmm, time for my medication, methinks…..

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1 Comment

  1. Lol. Some of the tv ads have the opposite effect on me from the one the ad moguls intended. E.g. That NatWest one with the fat bloke who’s supposed to be from another bank, who tells the potential clients in irritatingly jokey ways that his bank ‘doesn’t work like that’. You know the one? It always gives me the message that, actually, it’s NatWest which ‘doesn’t work like that’. If I’m getting that message, other people must be.

    The ones I particularly hate are the ads for cosmetics and toiletries which contain a magical new ingredient called [insert nonsense made-up pseudo-scientific word here]. Presumably people are gullible enough to believe it, especially with the anti-ageing creams endorsed by C-list celebs who’ve had botox and/or facelifts in any case.