Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lifestyle Choices

Yesterday as I was having my lunch, I caught a few minutes of TV. Trying to avoid those Loose Women (who terrify me!), I flicked through the Freeview schedule, and saw the last minutes of My Wife and Kids. The programme ended, and up popped on the screen a little funny caption from the station - Virgin 1. Earlier, it had said 'Don't move' and then after a few ads, 'You're still there.' But this one was perhaps the most honest - perhaps even too honest:

Now three minutes of lifestyle choices.

The advertisements on the channel are portrayed as lifestyle choices. Things like a new phone, a holiday, car insurance, just lifestyle choices. But all pushing in one direction - towards materialism. For the TV channel and its advertisers, really there's no choice in lifestyle - everyone should be pushing for materialism. The only choice is which car to drive or which phone to use.

Lifestyle choices, but biased towards more complicated, more expensive, more extravagant living. Surely for a choice they should also show ads promoting a simpler life, service of others, reducing consumption. But then they don't make a profit.

So will we buy the advertisers lies that the only lifestyle choice is for materialism? Other lifestyles are available. Don't be bought and sold for a lie.

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