British TV Advertising Standards.

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  1. Merlin Fraser profile image59
    Merlin Fraserposted 13 years ago

    In the TV world of advertising I know we are surrounded by morons who care little for truth or fact but am I the only one that thinks the latest Argos advertisement  is a step too far away from reality ?

    Unless you haven’t seen it, it shows a lone Walrus sitting on the open ice when two penguins arrive and deposit a couple of fish by the walrus. 

    I know the aim of advertising is to sell rather than educate but since our education system doesn’t see to worry too much about education either should advertising companies be allowed to make such misleading adverts.

    What am I talking about ?  For starters the Walrus is a social rather than a solitary creature and lives in huge colonies.  It does not drag its vast body around searching for food, it forages on the seabed and lives on Crustaceans and molluscs not fish.

    The walrus is native to the Arctic regions and wouldn’t recognise a penguin if it popped up and bit it on the ass, being as the penguin is a native of the Antarctic.

    Of course it is highly possible that all of this information may come as news to the both the marketing staff of Argos and their advertising agents given that may well themselves be a product of the educational system of today.    However I ask  do you think it is acceptable to use such misleading information to promote your company on television where young viewers may accept your information as fact ?

    1. profile image0
      Kathryn LJposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I don't know, but you appear to be a clone of my husband who is also very offended by the inaccuracies of advertising (in a literal sense.)

      1. Merlin Fraser profile image59
        Merlin Fraserposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        I don't know what causes it,but there are just certain things that advertisers do that can be extremely irksome.

          Especially those ones that play around with History. Again I don't know why it bothers me I just find it annoying.  Doubly so when I see it turning up as fact somewhere because the saw it on TV.

        For what it's worth Hollywood can get me wouund up faster than my Ex Mother in Law.

        1. alternate poet profile image66
          alternate poetposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          I don't think you are over-reacting to this issue as others are saying.  We get our information from everything we see around us - it is not necessary to deliberately distribute false information whether it is trivial or not.  The hidden issue here is also that probably none of hte people involved in ordering, making or accepting the ad would know the inconsistencies in it.  How long would it have taken one of the bright sparks who made it to check ? 

          Deliberate and casual misinformation is a desease that carries with it religious nonsense like the flat earth creationist scam, lack of understanding about history old and recent as yesterday, misrepresentation in the press, tv, hubs and in these forums.

          It does matter that the Americans made loads of 'we won the war' movies that exaggerate their contribution, like the movie about the capture of the enigma machine from  a sub by Americans when in reality it was the British Navy, why make such deliberate lies ?  it does matter that posters here put up made up stuff about Obama as if they were facts, etc etc.

          It has already created a sub strata of morons in society who do not know which way is up, another that is arguing forcibly that down is up.  There are college grads wandering around who seem to kow almost nothing and what they do know is patently wrong on so many levels.

          So I think Merlin has every right to criticise this ad big_smile

          1. Shadesbreath profile image78
            Shadesbreathposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            I agree with much of what you are saying except for the part that seems to say that fictional movies should be held accountable for educating people or that commercials must only reflect "facts."

            You want to remove fiction and even hyperbole from the world because people are unwilling, unable or unmotivated to learn and verify facts on their own?

            Or should we just remove fiction from the general populace and only allow the educated elite to have access, since they are the only ones who can handle it properly?  Us really smart people can decide what the dumb ones get to see.  'Cause we're so smart.  And they're so dumb.  We'll take care of them.

            That sounds so elitist. We'll save them from themselves! (And get to be in charge too!)  Road to hell... good intentions... etc.

            But I do agree that there are craptons of college grads who have no clue how to think critically.  That's a problem.  Walruses and talking penguins aren't the problem.

            1. alternate poet profile image66
              alternate poetposted 13 years agoin reply to this

              @Shadesbreath - this is not about removing fiction or eliteism - it is simply that we get most of our information from our surroundings - and some integrity in the general mass of information means that masses more people will learn useful 'real' stuff, including ourselves.  Mass communication reaches everyone all the time.  People are well aware when watching fiction or watching fact, in between stuff is generally thought to be factual.

              The communication revolution is bigger, more wide and more deep, than any ideological revolution has been.  It is responsible for more information getting to more people than ever before - any good effect is being subverted by the aggressive use of deliberate misinformation already.  The Iraq 'war' was justified to the whole population through direct deliberate lies - lies that are repeated again and again as 'fact' by those who want to propogate those lies to bolster their ideological position. 

              I have to agree that the Argos ad is a tiny issue hardly worth arguing about but it does illustrate the point.  You can argue against but don't then laugh at those surveys and shows where 90% of the people think that Saddam Hussein is President of America, and that spaghetti grows on trees.

  2. Maddie Ruud profile image73
    Maddie Ruudposted 13 years ago

    Advertisers don't give a rat's patootie about accuracy or responsibility.  This is nothing new.  But personally, I'm more concerned with the dangers of teaching young girls and women they need to be thin to be worthwhile, than misleading people about the social habits of the walrus.

    1. Merlin Fraser profile image59
      Merlin Fraserposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with you that there should be a tighter hold over what the media do or say but surely the 'Thin is Beautiful' problem is more of a social issue than an advertising one.

      True they don't help and will make hay from any and all opportunities but I think you are blaming the wrong people here.

        Where do you draw the line, Size Zero, Anti aging, plastic surgery, Botox all of them are wrong but they are big business and millions have bought into it and Kids are extremely susceptible from peer pressure and all the trash pumped out in the media and it has to be said from their parents as well.

      Perhaps you should do a Hub with pictures of all the Teen idols with the Slap removed. 

      Get air brushing and digital manipulation banned from all print media that's where they get the ideas from.

      Plus you missed the point I am not worried about the social habits of the Walrus more the misleading facts which could be taken as real by those who know no difference.

  3. 2uesday profile image68
    2uesdayposted 13 years ago

    I can see what you mean. Why if they wanted to use this idea did they not use cartoon characters and present it in a more comical way? I think it is a ineffectual and counter productive advert anyway. As far as seeing the delivery lorry shortly after looking at the ice cap in the image reminds me that the travel miles involved in having something delivered is not good for the environment.

    However I think that if I had a young child watching TV I would be far mote concerned with other misleading issues it might take as a fact. When I think about what is on TV now -I believe the 'horse has already bolted' so it is probably 'too late to shut the stable door'.

  4. Merlin Fraser profile image59
    Merlin Fraserposted 13 years ago


    You could be right about Horses and Stable doors,  remember cartoon cows complete  with udders and Male voices !!!!

  5. Shadesbreath profile image78
    Shadesbreathposted 13 years ago

    Please tell me you are kidding.  The very thought of someone going through life with no sense of humor makes me want to cry... and explains so much about previous conversations we've head.

    You are kidding right?

    1. Merlin Fraser profile image59
      Merlin Fraserposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      You obviously haven't read any of my books or Hubs if you think I have no sense of humour, however I would draw your attention to one Hub in particular and that's the one on the disease of ignorance.

      Is it a joke to you that a recent University survey of school age children show that the majority have no idea where such things as Milk, Eggs or Vegetables come from other than a supermarket. 

      That some children think fish actually have fingers or that some city kids thought that eggs came from cows and that bacon was from cows or sheep. While many more kids seemed to be clueless about cheese, one in ten 8 to 15 year olds didn’t know that cheese comes from cows or sheep.   

      Yeah those facts just make me LMAO as they say....

      The point I was trying to make was against irresponsible and extremely misleading marketing and advertising techniques.

      We all know Sex, Fear and Humour are great sales tools but do they really have to wander quite so far away from the real facts ?

      1. Shadesbreath profile image78
        Shadesbreathposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Stupid parents who don't read or spend time with their children make stupid children who think fish have fingers.

        Humor is not the culprit here.  Marketers should not be held responsible for the stupidity of the populace.

        1. Merlin Fraser profile image59
          Merlin Fraserposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          Whose arguing with you ?

          Certainly not me, like you I see many of the comments that appear here just seems it troubles me a little more than it troubles you. Doesn't mean to say I/we can laugh about it !!   

          Of course you do realise that the marketers could be affected with the stupid gene ?

  6. ns1209 profile image64
    ns1209posted 13 years ago

    I have to say as well that you are taking a silly advert too seriously.  Yes I have to admit it is not a very good advert but it is not meant to be taken seriously.

    Also I agree with Shadesbreath that some children are so dumb as their parents never teach them anything, read to them or care for them!

    I hope this is not seen as offensive - it honestly is not but you should not even think about this - who cares what a rubbish TV advert is and anyway would you rather have some annoying GoCompare ad?

    Hope you lighten up a little and stop thinking about a pointless subject!

    I see you wrote a hub about having a sense of humour too - fair enough and I hope you do like a laugh.

    Finally in a bit of a rush and not sure why I wasted time writing this so there may be some mistakes! wink

  7. Merlin Fraser profile image59
    Merlin Fraserposted 13 years ago


    An honest opinion is never offensive, and I agree that the Go Compare adverts are extremely annoying, but there again they're meant to be that's their style or tactic.

    And of course you could be right about the Argos advert just being silly what I objected too was its deliberate and misleading inaccuracies.   My point is ignorance which adverts like this do little to change.

    I’m just sorry my poor explanations prevent you and Shadesbreath from seeing that.

  8. raisingme profile image79
    raisingmeposted 13 years ago

    What we have here is a blatant failure to duplicate your communication Merlin.  But it comes as no surprise as the ability to duplicate requires intelligence.

    duplication:  the ability to approximate as closely as possible the skill, object, datum, word in its same time and space, with its same mass or energy. 

    The point you are making regarding the imparting of false knowledge is valid - false knowledge being an area that one believes is true, but, in actuality, is false.  Of course we are not currently experiencing actions on the planet right now that are due to our having accepted information as being true or factual when in fact it has been far from it.  Oh for the days when the earth was flat - I do miss those good ol' days.  When sticks and stones and the odd broad sword n' catapult were considered to be WMDs.

    1. Merlin Fraser profile image59
      Merlin Fraserposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      THE EARTH'S NOT FLAT ?????

      Damn, you certain ? Has anybody told the 'Flat Earth Society ? They're going to be so Pissed....

      So what shape is it now ?  Do we have a vote on it ?

      For what it's worth the true WMD has always been MAN...!

  9. raisingme profile image79
    raisingmeposted 13 years ago

    There has been a massive plot to keep the Flat Earth Society in the dark and I would have to say that there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that the efforts to do so have been largely successful.  A few have escaped into the light and they are valiantly trying to help those left behind but alas - they are being condemned as ignorant, evil and at best suffering from the delusions of the mentally unbalanced.  The Flat Earth Society, for its part, has been doing its 'level' best to 'quash' all claims by those who have collected themselves into a friendly ball of "Hands Around The Earth" who are quite frankly stretched pretty thin and quite exhausted by their frequent attempts to save the cult members of the Flat Earth Society.  It takes a good deal of commitment and fortitude to pull another's head out of their own posterior given they are quite convinced that their viewpoint from that vantage is the one and only right viewpoint.  This is of course understandable given the limited visibility one has when viewing life from that position.  It also tends to give one a rather poopy disposition.  However, the poor souls cannot change their dis-position from this position and so the only recourse they have is to 'dis' others.  Dis of course leads to dat and pretty soon those who have discovered that the world is round along with those who have taken it a step further and discovered that it is almost, but not quite round, wishing that they could get their own poor heads back up where the sun doesn't shine, forget everything that they know and relapse back into a 'blissful' state of unconsciousness.

    Barring this option many of them find themselves in a state of depression at their repeated failures in attempting to communicate with the above mentioned society that often leaves them, if not flat, then certainly feeling a little flat.

    I hope this helps to straighten things out a bit for you.  I vote we leave them in the dark and get on with it.  With the prime directive of the Flat Earth Society being "Thou must be Right at all times" I'm not holding my breath any longer - blue looks okay but purple doesn't go with my hair!

  10. profile image0
    SilverGenesposted 13 years ago

    False information was considered enough of a problem here in Canada that a public service announcement was made to bring parents' attention to the fact that maybe their kids needed some guidance. The 'powers that be' decided that calling parents stupid is not how to change things and that perhaps education is the answer. Wisely, they concluded that if you can entertain while you do that, all the better. Today's parents were the kids watching this stuff on TV, too, and many are gainfully employed as commercial writers, journalists and television producers so really, what can we expect? Here's a link to the spot from Canada:

  11. Merlin Fraser profile image59
    Merlin Fraserposted 13 years ago

    Hi SilverGenes,

    Unfortunately the British authorities don't seem to take such things that seriously, they don't think TV advertisements play any part within the educational system any more than TV Cartoons do.

    Not entirely sure I would agree especially when you look around and find great chunks of humanity that think and act just like the Simpsons, Family Guy or American Dad. 

    Maybe disfunctionality is 'IN' and I've just been too caught up in what I thought was normality to see it.  Perhaps we should just give up and go with the flow !

  12. Peter Hoggan profile image68
    Peter Hogganposted 13 years ago

    Advertising and education are poles apart just like the walrus and the penguin. One is creative and the other involves, for the most part, institutionalized learning by rote.

    I don’t think any responsibility for the standards of education within the populous can be fairly attributed to advertising, nor is it the responsibility of advertising to educate. The responsibility to educate lies with parents, schools, colleges and universities.

    I think if you have a problem with standards of education then concern about advertising standards is the least likely rout to brining about change.

    Just my opinion.

  13. Merlin Fraser profile image59
    Merlin Fraserposted 13 years ago

    You are probably right Peter but given the state of our educational system don't you think it needs all the help it can get ?

    One of my points was that those you consider creative may consider their work factual because they know no difference.

    Again just a thought...

  14. raisingme profile image79
    raisingmeposted 13 years ago

    Laughing + wisdom is a great combination!

    1. Merlin Fraser profile image59
      Merlin Fraserposted 13 years agoin reply to this


      All has now been revealed to me as if pebbles have been lifted from my eyes... when we were off seeking education, wisdom and enlightenment we missed the mass dumbing down programme that swept the world.  My sources advise me it started in California with the invention of Political Correctness and the handing of power to dysfunctional organisations such as the Health and Safety Executive who ran screaming from the ambulance chasing lawyers thus creating the blame culture we have.

      What followed was the death of Logic, Reason, Common Sense and Humour as we knew it, this was replaced with Simon Cowell, Reality TV, Big Brother and idiot game shows.   Faced with such dire mediocrity is it any wonder that the poor masses welcomed anything remotely funny to laugh at.

      Simple when it’s pointed out to you don’t you think ?     We’re just out of touch with reality as it is now.    Aren’t you glad ?

  15. raisingme profile image79
    raisingmeposted 13 years ago

    Reality is made by by agreement.  The more solid the agreement the more real the reality.  For anything to come into being it has to be agreed upon.  We have collectively agreed that mediocrity is the norm.  Our education systems are geared toward the achievement of mediocrity.  Reality is not the truth and the more solid the reality the more untruth it contains. 

    My oldest daughter used to say of certain people when she was little, "Mummy, I can't like that man, he's gone solid."  This was long before I studied the area myself.

    It takes time to achieve mastery in an area, it takes forever if we don't start!  big_smile   

    And you are correct we have allowed ourselves to be dumbed-down.  One of the main factors required to be dumbed-down is that your mind must be able to be controlled by others. Once you have been dumbed-down it is essential that you be kept in a state of dumbness.  Don't you just love that sensation of having your eyelids peeled off - I can see, I can see, lord almighty I can see at last!

    Being out of touch with reality is not the rub - tis being out of touch with the truth!  Reality bites - all it leads to is one dumbed-down group fighting with another dumbed-down group over whose reality is the 'right' reality.  It is happening all around us.

    I rest my case!

  16. A la carte profile image60
    A la carteposted 13 years ago

    Just wondering..did the walrus like the fish and did the three of them become friends...I hate cliffhangers:)

    1. Merlin Fraser profile image59
      Merlin Fraserposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Well.... If you listen closely to the speech patterns one of the penguins is Gay.

      As I said in the main text Walrus don't eat fish but I think Simon is just too polite to say.

      However as the truck is full of fish there should be enough to sustain the penguins on their journey home.

        To try and make sense of the advert I can't believe it was Simon who ordered the fish in the first place and as he is by himself it doesn't look as though he's throwing a party so all in all it doesn't say a great deal about Agos's warehouse management and order delivery systems....     

        But there again I could be wrong...!!!

    2. Shadesbreath profile image78
      Shadesbreathposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      How dare you take that commercial for what it was meant to be and enjoy the levity and light-hearted story. 

      This is a serious academic issue and we must put our efforts into holding advertisers responsible for educating our children.

      1. Merlin Fraser profile image59
        Merlin Fraserposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Hi Shades,

        Wondered where you'd been lately... did you not see that I had already answered this point several posts ago... not to mention that I wrote a Hub just for you.

          Of course they didn't become friends, how could they ?  You can't a Walrus's frendship with fish... THEY DON'T EAT FISH !

          Please, try to keep up at the back !

          PS as a brief aside, Argos, the company in the advert don't actually sell and/or deliver fish... or any other kind of food stuff for that matter. Just thought I'd throw that in.

        1. Shadesbreath profile image78
          Shadesbreathposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          I know.  My point really is that advertisers have nothing to do with it, in my opinion. Any contribution they make is totally incidental and so minor compared to the larger problems at stake that Alternate Poet gets at in his post... the educational focus in all the wrong places.

          I'mma go read your hub now.  smile

  17. Andy Webb profile image68
    Andy Webbposted 13 years ago

    I’ve seen the advert numerous times and I will put my hand up and say I didn’t notice the factual issues although I did wonder why Argos were showing an advert for delivering fish when best to my knowledge they don’t sell or deliver food items.

    I do think advertising should try and get the facts right because lets be honest so many children spend more time watching TV than they do learning. They take things in from what they see and advertisers should realise this. That doesn’t mean they have to be boring and overly factual, they just need to remember that what they show will get embedded in the brains of those who see it.

    1. Merlin Fraser profile image59
      Merlin Fraserposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Seems the Advertising Standards people don't agree with us.

      They don't think that Advertisers should be held accountable for the educational content or lack there of within an advertisment as long as the advert does not deliberately set out to mislead the public as to effectiveness of the product or service being provided.

      For the record they don't accecpt that the same advert repeated every 15 minutes over a six week period could be construed as a form of brain washing and has to enter the brain at a subconcious level.

      Take that stupid advert with the Merecats, cute as hell and quite amusing, but have you noticed how the word  'SIMPILLS' seems to have entered the English language lately ?

  18. Merlin Fraser profile image59
    Merlin Fraserposted 13 years ago

    Alternative Poet,

    Thaks for your response, although I'd like to add what can we expect when our very own Prime Minister makes speeches like :

    "I think it is important in life to speak as it is and the fact is that we are a very effective partner of the US but we are the junior partner," he said.

    "We were the junior partner in 1940 when we were fighting the Nazis."

    Junior to who ????  America didn't join the War until December 1941 until then we were fighting on our own....

    And that's the British Prime Minister, what about the Bloopers George W came out with ? 

    Kinda makes you feel real safe in the world, doesnt it ???

  19. profile image0
    shazwellynposted 13 years ago

    The advertising is the LEAST of our worries...Just check out the tv programs!  Gee!

    1. Merlin Fraser profile image59
      Merlin Fraserposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      That's a Hub by itself, what can you say about a society that thinks human dysfunctionality is funny, well I suppose it is but not to the point of hero worship or as a model for normality.

      The nice thing about adverts is that no matter how annoying they at least disappear after a few weeks, except the Go Compare, Churchill, and 118 ones that is...

      With Sky TV the programmes keep going round and round in a continuous loop.

  20. Peter Hoggan profile image68
    Peter Hogganposted 13 years ago

    If you listen to the Argos ad it says 'Imagine if...' The clue that it's fantasy is right there.

    I wonder if amongst all this discussion about the rights and wrongs of advertising the ability to listen and interpret in a sensible fashion should also be addressed.

    1. Merlin Fraser profile image59
      Merlin Fraserposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      You're quite right Peter, it is pure Fantasy, "Imagine If...."

        But of course you can't imagine it, because as I said previously Argos do not sell or deliver food stuffs.

        I never said the advert wasn't amusing, well it was the first twenty times you see it in one day...

      All I said was it was highly inaccurate in practically every way up to and including the fact that it shows Argos doing something they don't.... or is that all part of the fantasy ?

      1. ksha16 profile image57
        ksha16posted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Merlin's beard lol hehe yeah

      2. Peter Hoggan profile image68
        Peter Hogganposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        That’s the point... Imagine If. No one with a shred of intelligence is going to believe for a fact Argos deliver fish to large sea mammals.

        The most important character in the ad is the viewer, not the fish the penguin or the walrus. The message has nothing to do with their natural habitats which isn’t relevant in the 'imagine if' context. The advert does, in my mind, communicate a benefit of shopping at Argos.

        However, by visiting the Argos site I did find a couple of food items they deliver and walrus do occasionally eat fish. That said it’s not relevant.

        IMO if you are looking for every advert to be based on 100% fact devoid of any artistic or creative license then ads would become incredibly boring and ineffective.

        I often turn the TV on to be educated by a good documentary, I do not expect the ads that punctuate the program to be mini documentaries in their own right. However, I am glad that they are there in order to finance the making of the programs I want to watch.

  21. BobbiRant profile image61
    BobbiRantposted 13 years ago

    I believe I did several hubs on how we are controlled by media and also the governments use the same controls advertisers use. … the-Masses

    I Know few people read My hubs, but there it is.


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