Don’t hate me

30 Apr

I’ll be honest, I’m not standing on an especially sturdy soapbox, as I didn’t much rate the Guardian  Three Little Pigs ad as an original idea. Maybe that’s because I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, Hoodwinked!, as I’m guessing the creative team must have done too. Anyway, while the soapbox is still holding me up, here’s my take on another ad that will no doubt be bothering awards juries this time next year:

It’s beautifully made, and we all like seeing our athletes winning Olympic medals. Who can forget the sense of national joy when (Dame) Kelly Holmes brought home the bacon? But something grates with me in this ad. Pushy mums. Pushy mums who are desperate for their kid to be the next Beyoncé, David Beckham or…Kelly Holmes. Pushy mums who train every ounce of fun out of their kids, who take it upon themselves to live their unfulfilled dreams through their kids. Pushy dads are just as bad but as this ad is for a company that makes cleaning products largely bought by women, it’s women who take the spotlight.

It’s a tough brief, pairing mums who clean and care for kids with sporting excellence. And it’s a lot better than most Olympic advertising that’s around at the moment. For my tastes though, it’s a tad too close to the bone and I’m left wishing that I could see the swimmer getting the medal without knowing how many thousands of lengths she had to do every week as a tiny tot while her mum loomed over her. A bit like wanting to enjoy roast lamb without having to think of the beast skipping through a meadow, or wearing fashion brands without wanting to know about the sweatshops that produced them.

In other words, I feel weirdly less patriotic having seen this, and a bit guilty that I’m a willing accessory in the business of drilling children into becoming elite athletes. Maybe Procter and Gamble have no such qualms, or maybe they just haven’t seen how this ad might be misinterpreted.

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