Up popped a picture today. I was sitting writing some nonsense and the computer made that noise computers do when they want your attention. Rob had clicked ‘like’ on a picture I’d edited from a picture he’d posted. I’d liked his picture too.
Those are moments when I love computers, an interaction with someone in a different part of the country. We shared a mutual moment in a cloud of data. We briefly connected. No harm done...and yet...I felt a movement in The Force.
Then there’s the online market research I’ve just completed. It was for the most nauseating toilet paper campaign imaginable. In fact don’t try to imagine it – I sat through it and it made me want to hurl the Mac against the wall. On the angry scale of 1 to Michael Gove it made me reach ‘being forced to watch a soap opera’.
I realise that people who work in advertising aren’t like us normal folks, I realise that they don’t understand us, but nothing had prepared me for that. The horror of something so banal it would make the One Show seem edgy.
Rob’s picture was of the new atomisers, the Clone atomisers. It’s cracking, not least because of the glorious self-deprecating logo emblazoned on the front. Irony is so undervalued. If a product has a unique angle it doesn’t need daft advertising.
And it got me thinking about ecigarette advertising.
We’re forever reading (well those of us stupid enough to click on the links) articles which claim the flavours of liquids are being designed to draw unsuspecting children into nicotine.
Who is this evil genius? Does Billy King sit there with the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, rubbing their hands together and producing a combined evil laugh at the thought of Monkey Jizz? Does Mark VaperCaper make his Cucumber Cooler as some dastardly plot, to take over the world, under the instruction of Pinky & The Brain? Has Baron Greenback conspired with Jim the Kraken to ensnare children with Squid Ink?
Clearly, the answer to all three scenarios is ‘Yes’…but that’s not the point. I’ve not seen one advert for those juices in any magazine aimed at teens. And I get them all. Neither have my kids reported spotting Mrs. Lord hanging around their school gates offering free samples of Marmalade juice. They don’t even like Marmalade.
The thing is I carried out some market research recently and 100% of the one adult I asked replied that they enjoy all four eliquids. The obvious correlation is that these flavours were engineered to hook me in to buying them and therefore need serious legislation putting in place. I need protecting from my personal tastes by an autonomous body, responsible to no one, to protect me from making decisions.
One only needs to point out that I am the person who (after quite a few beers on several Saturday nights) bought the following on eBay: an unseen motorbike, a narrow boat and a copy of Whispering Grass by Windsor Davies and Don Estelle.
Yes, I need protecting from myself.
I need protecting from buying enough drippers emblazoned with a Star Wars symbol to kit out an entire Clone Army.
I’m not alone.
There are the people who are addicted to the New Products page on FastTech. There are the people who visit SHMOvapes so often that their F5 button has a different hue to the rest of the keyboard. And what about the vast numbers of people who physically wet themselves at the news Vapist had stocked The Rose II?
Children make great choices in life. Give my kids an option and they’ll make popcorn and spend their days watching films or playing video games. Children don’t hanker for eliquid, kids don’t get into a frenzy when they run out of House Of Liquid’s Eden – that’s me, I do that.
The very last thing the E.U. needs to be doing is protecting children, what they need to do is help me. They need to help me to stop buying new mods and atomisers. Politicians should realise that it is not normal to have a box containing every diameter of Kanthal and silica and Voodoowool…(just in case).
And if politicians can’t go out of their way to recognise the real problem that needs addressing then someone else must.
Somebody must think of the adults!
Help me Obi Wan Toddy, you’re my only hope.
Cobbled together inbetween pressing F5 a lot by Dave Cross.