Today alone I have had the personal space in my head invaded by companies who have decided that they know what’s best for me. Their marketeers have determined the best way to explain to me what it is that’s best for me, how I need to hear it, and of course what I must purchase in order that my needs be met. Of course, I didn’t know I had the need until they told me, but such is life. Or so HSBC would have me believe…
HSBC want me to have “peace of mind” – this peace of mind will apparently cost me “less than the cost of 5 cappuccinos per month”. That’s £10 to you and me – they obviously don’t see the cappuccinos I drink, they’re the biggest fattest ones for sale and they’re a damn sight more expensive than £2 quid a pop. But I digress. The “peace of mind” of which they speak is life cover. Because now I have “loved ones” I’d “leave behind” “should the worst happen” and now that I’m approaching 40 I clearly should be confronted with my own mortality when I check in on my email.
Not only did I receive an email preparing me for death, I also received one from Weightwatchers…Telling me how to save money and lose weight…By spending money. Not sure how that works, but again it is VERY IMPORTANT for me to “Regain control of my trolley”. At a glance this sounds A LOT like “exercise some self control”. Hate to tell you Weightwatchers, but I neither exercise self control nor for that matter, exercise, I’m a lost cause to your marketing ploys I’m afraid. I decided when I’d finally battled my food control demons and they’d freed me from their grip that I’d probably avoid any kind of self imposed control ever again-if this means I’m “curvy”, “bubbly”, “Rubenesque” then so be it, at least I won’t be miserable, or perpetually cold. So guess what Weightwatchers, I’m not listening. Or buying.
Then there’s Churchill, they of the eternally nodding dog. I received ANOTHER mail drop telling me I could and should save money with them. I’ve also seen their recent ad, the one where Dawn French acts the martyr to her irritating friend. Nice, Churchill sees women as either annoying users or that we’ll put up with any old crap because we don’t have the heart (for this read spine) to say no to anyone about anything. I may well be reading too much into it, I really hate that dog. The last advert spouted thinly veiled racism with Martin Clunes professing he’d get through “to a UK call Centre”.
I know that advertising is big business and some of them are incredibly creative, I used to love the Guinness adverts where they’d have cinematic white horses galloping. But adverts and Marketing is best when it feels non-invasive, when it’s almost subliminal. If it is forced in that unsolicited way it really frustrates me. And when it’s targeted at me via patronizing, controlling, judging terms because I am a woman and because I am a woman with a certain set of circumstances I don’t just get frustrated, I get angry.
I was never going to use Weightwatchers, but I’ll be an active detractor now, likewise Churchill will never see a penny of my business. And sorry HSBC, but I’ll not have a bunch of life cover, I read the small print and I’m fairly certain that you’d find a way to avoid paying out anyway, so no, I’m not buying, please go pester someone else.