A Little Ray Of Sunshine

by , Feb 6, 2009, 3:30 PM
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While it's true to say we -- along with the rest of the world -- are in pretty dire economic straits right now (and likely will be for some time), I'm really not sure I want to live in a state of communal fear and depression until we come out of it.

Certainly we have to be mindful of our circumstances and responsible in our actions, but does that really mean we have to talk ourselves into a downward spiral of doom, gloom and despondency, with the resulting impact on our behavior and quality of life -- not to mention the amplifying effect such a mindset has on our economic situation?

It's a truism to say that our natural reaction to recessionary forces is to tighten our belts and spend less, but it's equally true to say that this compounds the problem (hence uniform agreement on the need to get money flowing in the economy, albeit less than uniform agreement on the details of how). Those of us in employment, who can afford to continue spending, have an obligation to do so, in my view. Sure, spend responsibly, but do it. This is how we lessen the impact of the downturn.

For my own part, I think the news media are doing a pretty good job of keeping us informed right now (the cynic in me says the current crisis provides a great follow-up to coverage of the election), but they are doing a poorer job at providing perspective. There are still good and positive things happening out there. I would like to see more contextualizing of financial news to show that life for the majority of us goes on un-changed. If you've lost your job or your house, that obviously isn't the case, but for those of us who are not in that unfortunate position, we need to keep living our lives and spending in order to speed the recovery.

So with that in mind, I will say no more today of recessions and downturns, political in-fighting and the role of the media. I want some light relief more than anything these days and I'm flagrantly using this column to force some on you. To that end, I was delighted to be recently introduced to a particularly amusing trio of online video ads for a British job recruitment Web site focusing on the catering industry.

There are a number of things I like about this series of ads. First, they are funny -- taking a well-known and relevant TV personality (celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay), and having fun with the notion of what on earth he must have been like as a child (a nice creative hook). Second, they do something that would never be allowed on TV - namely, play off the extent of Chef Ramsay's notorious use of profanity at almost every turn in a way that is funny and that leads nicely to the advertiser's message. Third, I love the fact that an advertiser had the balls to do this.

Finally, I like the look and feel of the ads. Initially you think they are an elaborately staged piece of user-generated content. Only at the very end do you realize these are ads for a catering recruitment site. OK, so now I've ruined the discovery, but they are still worth watching -- you can find them in sequence herehere and here . (Almost makes you wonder if a recessionary climate will lead to an upturn in the number of ads coming our way that are designed to funny. I suspect there is historical data on that, but I don't have it to hand and my deadline is looming.)

Above all, I like these ads because they are funny and that's a good thing. We need to laugh more, spend more and remember that worrying doesn't help. Recessions pass -- and can do so faster with a combination of good governance and consumer spending. We've done all we can with regard to the first, now the second is up to us, if we are still fortunate enough to have an income.

0 comments on "A Little Ray Of Sunshine".

  1. Frank Maggio from 7.TV, LLC
    commented on: February 6, 2009 at 3:56 p.m.

    Mike,

    At first blush, I could see the potential of viewers seeing humor in this ad. The five star YouTube rating, and near unanimous positive commentary below it, points out clearly that you are not alone in your observations.

    But, it quickly dawned on me that this ad series exemplifies precisely why our country - and the world, for that matter - is in the dire economic straits you so aptly point out.

    There is no shortage of rubbage - from iCarly to ads like these - that show immature children being disrespectful to adults. There's an overabundance of foul mouthed kids that appear to have their parents by the very anatomical appendage that Little Gordon's script writers elected to bleep out.

    Truth is, there is a film crew and writer out there in the UK who thought it appropriate to pay some young child to spew the expletives that were too obscene for us to even see on YouTube.

    Sorry - I for one think its time we returned to the values and wholesome sense of humor that marked a simpler and nobler time for us all.

  2. Donald Sloan from GBG Motionmedia
    commented on: February 13, 2009 at 11:22 a.m.

    Yeah, let's go get our buggy whips and high button shoes out and show these whippersnappers a thing or two.

    If media had done something to devalue the impact of past "obscene expletives" in modern life, they would have lost their ability to provide us with endless, pointless applications of same. Sensationalism sells. Good goes gone.

    Clutter obscures the bland. Breakouts require shattering the clutter. Outlaw words are the spice employed (and consequently protected) by the unseasoned mind. It's a lot easier to smash a face than reason with it. Just fxxking buy what your told (sorry, sold)!

    Words don't inflame, ignorant intolerance does. British humour has worked blue longer than Americans have existed.

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