Sometimes I think I might have a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder, but then I remind myself that there’s nothing wrong with me except the fact that I keep certain commercials in my head. Let me explain:
There was a commercial running for a while here in Sweden for a coffee company reminding everyone that you should always have coffee on hand because you never know when someone might be dropping by. Example:
So now every time we’re out of hand soap, or there’s some food in the sink, or some crumbs left on the coffee table, all I can think of is, “What if the King stops by to visit?” “What if my favorite band happens to be staying in my apartment building and comes in to use the bathroom?” And then I have to make sure everything is clean. (Having coffee is actually never a problem in any Swedish home. EVERYONE has coffee always. It’s the law.)
So it’s not my fault I’ve become obsessive about cleaning. It’s T.V.
Here in Sweden, advertising rules are fairly strict. No advertising to children. No cigarette or alcoholic beverage ads on tv. And no false claims, such as “Dr.Pepper is the best drink in the world!” They also took L’Oreal to court for claiming one of their products removed wrinkles, since that’s not actually possible.
I realize this is strict, but other things are more open than you would think. However, some people tend the stretch the definition of false advertising and I can only imagine how many complaints the agency maintaining these rules receives.
One such complaint was in the opinion section of the local “Metro” paper on Friday. A woman complained that a milk company had violated false advertising laws in their tv commercial because the woman in the commercial walks around a farm with the cows and says, “These are my co-workers.”
The complainer then went on to state that in no way could those cows be employees because they don’t get vacation time, pay or holidays off. Therefore the commercial should be removed from the air.
I don’t think there are any plans for that but her letter certainly made my day.
Employee benefits for cows!
You think maybe they had a falling out with their advertising illustrator?
Yesterday, I got into a heated discussion with my son about how it’s possible for KFC to have so many secret spices. My son insisted the commercial he saw in the U.S. claimed Kentucky Fried Chicken had 17 secret spices in their batter (I’ve since discovered it’s 11). To him, this was blatant false advertising. His argument was that products can have one secret ingredient but to have 17 (or 11) is completely ludicrous.
While I’m glad my children recognize these commercials in the U.S. as exaggerating and occasionally outright lying (“Mac & Cheese – a great source of calcium!”), it does get exhausting trying to explain marketing and how companies get away with things. While standards aren’t perfect here, there are many more laws in Sweden about advertising that make American advertising “laws” quite laughable.
In Sweden, companies are not even allowed to advertise toward children under the age of 12. In the U.K., advertisements must not ‘exhort children to purchase or to ask their parents or others to make enquiries or purchases’.
This is quite different from advertisements in the U.S., which are very much directed at young children to pester their parents into using a product, my best example being a few years ago when my children saw a Chuck E. Cheese commercial in Texas and then told us, “This says the coolest parents take their kids to Chuck E. Cheese. Why aren’t you guys cool parents?”
To come around to the original KFC subject, let me share something that I found interesting:
Sanders sold the Kentucky Fried Chicken corporation in 1964, and the gravy recipe was changed in the 1970s. Colonel Sanders was quite disappointed, stating “My God, that gravy is horrible. They buy tap water for 15 to 20 cents a thousand gallons and then they mix it with flour and starch and end up with pure wallpaper paste. And I know wallpaper paste, by God, because I’ve seen my mother make it. … There’s no nutrition in it and they ought not to be allowed to sell it. … crispy recipe is nothing in the world but a damn fried doughball stuck on some chicken.”
Now THAT’s truth in advertising!
One drawback of having children in Sweden who NEVER see t.v. commercials is that they become quite overwhelmed by them when we visit the U.S. After about a week, my youngest was saying things like, “This breakfast today is sponsored by…” and “Brushing my teeth is brought to you by …”
I guess I should be glad they are adapting to the customs and language.
Saw this advertisement for a massage clinic. Is it just me, or does it look more like he’s on his way to the morgue?
You just don’t get lawyers like this in Sweden. This guy makes me want to commit a crime in Texas just so I can call.
I got this in my email from Classmates.com today. I don’t think I’ve been on Classmates.com in almost 10 years. (Has anyone?)
Anyway, I love how the subject line has a frowny face. What were they thinking during the meeting of how to reach out to people? “Well, maybe if they feel sorry for us?”
It didn’t work with any ex-boyfriends and it’s certainly not going to work with you, Classmates.com. Move on!
Many people in Texas are often surprised when we visit at how seriously our kids take the commercials. When we’ve been there, they’ve told me things like, “Mamma! You should buy this cereal because they said on t.v. that it’s really good for you!” or “Mamma, you have to take us to Chuck E Cheese because the t.v. says that awesome parents take their kids there!”
In Sweden, it is against the law to advertise to children under the age of 12. So my kids only see kid commercials when we visit the states.
It’s actually pretty nice. For Christmas, they mostly ask for things they are truly interested in and not what advertisers tell them is the hottest toy. We give them the toy store catalogue and they simply mark what looks good to them or they also ask for a lot of books or games they’ve played at school.
Here is a bit from Wikipedia if you are interested:
In Quebec, Sweden and Norway, advertising to children under the age of 12 is illegal.
Advertising shall not cause moral or physical detriment to minors, and shall therefore comply with the following criteria for their protection:
- a. it shall not directly exhort minors to buy a product or a service by exploiting their inexperience orcredulity;
- b. it shall not directly encourage minors to persuade their parents or others to purchase the goods or services being advertised;
- c. it shall not exploit the special trust minors place in parents, teachers or other persons;
- d. it shall not unreasonably show minors in dangerous situations
- e. Children’s programs may only be interrupted if the scheduled duration is longer than 30 minutes
- f. Product placement is not allowed in children’s programs.
I saw a dentist office with a video screen facing outside the window showing tools digging through people’s mouths. Why would this encourage me to visit that particular office? I don’t see hospitals with Jumbo Trons outside showing gallbladder surgery.
“Hmm…I like that they use the Pembroke scalpel. Maybe I’ll switch places.”
Just put a sign up, Dentists. We go to you for YOU to look in our mouth because we don’t want to and we sure don’t want to see everyone else’s. Save your videos for the Christmas party and scrape off my plaque.