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Joanne Roberts

Advertising In The Age Of Lockdown

Under normal circumstances, I would have very little in the way of exposure to television advertising. I live alone, and made the decision years ago that I didn’t want my television connected up to any actual television channels. Instead, I have a netflix subscription which I seldom use.

However, as soon as the British ‘lockdown’ was imposed, I made the decision to go and stay with a family member who lives alone, in order that both of us could avoid almost complete social isolation. For a person who, under normal circumstances, would avoid exposure to mass media, this presented me with the obvious problem of being bombarded with exposure to television advertising for a large percentage of the time.

The transition from normal advertising to advertising which directly references lockdown was surprisingly quick. This pervasive, choking, stifling effect quickly became almost panopticon like in it’s relentlessness. Only a matter of weeks in, and I noticed one television channel had emblazoned the words “stay at home” in the top right hand corner of the screen, something I found creepy and distinctly Orwellian.

It became clear to me very quickly that media owners had made it their personal business to flood people’s minds with rigid ideas that were in no way up for negotiation. This is also Orwellian, and was reinforced by a plethora of advertisements which very quickly latched on to the central theme of: “we can exploit this lockdown for financial gain by virtue-signalling endlessly”.

And boy have they gone for it. Let me be honest: I don’t like advertising. I understand the premise of it, and I understand that our society works on a basis of selling products, and that advertising is required in order to sell products, but my issue with advertising is not that companies are trying to sell products in order to make money, my issue with advertising is that it manipulates people in a way which most people are not even aware of, through the use of autosuggestion and appealing to people’s more base instincts. Advertising is exploitative, and very often, misleading. It suggests a link between the purchasing of certain products and a certain lifestyle which is not automatically there. It manipulates people who lack critical thinking. Why do many people lack critical thinking ability? Because we live in a society in which critical thinking is regularly discouraged, from multiple directions.

But oh, the virtue-signalling. To those who see it, being forced to see it over and over on a constant loop feels like psychological torture:


To watch the slew of virtue-signalling adverts churned out by the single most unscrupulous profession the world has ever known is to be nauseated beyond belief. If you see it, congratulations, you are still human. One bank proclaimed: “we believe in helping people”, a statement so obtuse and dishonest I found it difficult to imagine the level of gall required to even make such a statement, far less broadcast it to millions of people. Banking is the single most crooked profession in the history of human civilisation and literally thrives on misery. When a war occurs, and millions of people die, the banks score. When a person’s house is repossessed, the banks score. When international drug cartels and crime syndicates make trillions, the banks score. When the banks lend money they do not have, and then charge interest on it, they score. The entire banking industry is the single biggest scam in the history of human society, as anyone who has thoroughly researched the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 knows. Only two presidents in American history attempted to create interest free currency and both were assassinated.

Only in a society in which virtue-signalling has reached deranged levels could any bank make a statement like “we believe in helping people”, and not be met with collective laughter so loud it could be heard on the moon.

Where misery exists in humans, somewhere in that picture, a bank is involved. This sadly, did not stop another bank from claiming to care about mental health, another utterly dishonest, empty statement which can be seen through by anyone who doesn’t go through life in a state of waking sleep.

“Every one of us is here to support you”, simpered another another bank advertisement. More virtue-signalling. I implore everyone to put this to the test. When small business owners end up with no business left, I urge them to approach their banks and ask for interest free loans, repayable over decades. Given that banks already lend money they don’t have, and that this is the entire foundation of banking, this should be highly doable. Do we believe that when someone whom has been entirely isolated throughout this lockdown and is on the verge of ending it all contacts their bank for support that they will get it?

The smarmy virtue-signalling of the banking industry at a time when our ‘society’ is in ruins is an insult to us all.

Manufacturing Consensus

One of the main objectives of advertising in the age of lockdown, other than continuing to sell products, seems to be manufacturing a false consensus, predominantly the “we’re all in it together” false flag. The purpose of this is to shame dissenters and those who have legitimate grievances into silence, with the power of groupthink.

On a basic level, there is truth to this statement, although it quickly falls to pieces under closer scrutiny. Admittedly, we have all had some of our most basic civil liberties removed, but the “all in it together” trope clearly endeavours to spread the false narrative that everyone is in agreement about the lockdown, and the various aspects of it. This is a perceptual tyranny, a manufacturing of false consensus. We are not all in agreement regarding lockdown, and the various aspects of it. We are not all engaged in denial as regards to the long-term damage this lockdown will do to people’s mental or even physical health. I do not permit advertisers to speak for me.

In one advert, a telecommunications company shows a group of children singing ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship. Manipulating children in the name of securing profits and manufacturing false consensus is abuse. Plus, look at some of the lyrics and allow yourself to absorb the simple fact that this song has been chosen very specifically in terms of it’s applicability to our current situation, the situation of government, corporations and the mass media all trying to manipulate the masses into a giant, shared set of delusions:

“The world that I’ve found is to good to be true”: An ironic statement, since, day by day, the world becomes more and more unpleasant to be a part of. An increasingly Orwellian society, daily assaults on free speech, and a complete removal of freedom of movement, (unless you are taking part in a 15,000 strong protest) are making this world a darker place, in which billions of people have had their quality of life severely diminished.

The Line, “Let Em’ say we’re crazy, I don’t care about that, put your hand in my hand baby don’t ever look back” is a direct reference to dissent regarding lockdown, a reference to the fact that those who care about civil liberties do regard this lockdown as crazy, but those who support it share a common unity, holding hands and ignoring those whom point out that long-term, this lockdown and all of it’s aspects will not be worth it.

“Let the world around us just fall apart” is particularly sickening, a direct allusion to the destructive denial and avoidance being promoted by the mass media, the government and the system slaves who refuse to acknowledge all of the problematic aspects of this lockdown.

Further lyrics which convey the idea of “building this thing together” are equally delusional, and avoidant, as multiple aspects of our society are laid to waste and we head for what will undoubtedly be the largest recession ever. Go and draw a picture of a rainbow and maybe this will help you forget about the thousands of people whom have committed suicide during this lockdown because they were entirely isolated, and isolation kills humans.

The theme of toxic positivity has been paraded across literally dozens of other adverts, showing pictures of cosy, happy little families having “dinner table dance-offs”, cooking, smiling, laughing and drawing pictures. Nowhere in sight are images of people in the grip of severe psychosis because they haven’t spoken to another human being in weeks, or people frantically examining bank statements. People’s problems can be such a buzzkill. In a society increasingly being geared towards those in the grip of severe denial admitting that there are problems which need to be solved is so “negative”. Feeling suicidal? Draw a picture of a rainbow. Lost everything? Stay Indoors. Found a lump on your body and don’t want to be a burden? Clap for the NHS.

Still, at least people with mental health problems haven’t been entirely forgotten, as I was reminded only recently after seeing an advert for a new mental health ‘app’ which people can install on their smart phones. This will allow them to speak to a counsellor or therapist via their mobile phone or tablet, because apparently there are some people with a background in psychology who believe that talking to an image of someone on a screen actually constitutes genuine human intimacy.

Still, there’ll definitely be a market for it, and I think I can safely say with no degree of hesitation that the demand for therapists and counsellors is only going to increase in the months and years ahead, particularly in Britain, where the health service completely abandoned those whom see psychologists regularly so that they could effectively be on call for those diagnosed with ‘Covid-19’. Because supporting people with a flu-like virus is vastly more important than supporting people with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, Autism, a range of other mental health issues, or people whom have experienced sexual abuse and/or other traumas.

And finally, let us raise a toast to adverts which encourage acts of kindness towards NHS staff, such as baking pies. This is important, and you should prioritise baking pies for people whom are literally surrounded with hundreds of human beings every single day of their life over, for example, an elderly person who hasn’t left their house in 12 weeks because our society decreed that it is acceptable to imprison people even if they haven’t committed a crime. It is doctors and nurses, whom see and speak to other human beings every single day who deserve your random acts of kindness, not socially isolated people with mental health problems whom are starting to hallucinate because it’s been months since they last had a conversation.

How on earth would I manage to form my beliefs, perspectives, opinions and morals without the world of advertising to give me a helping hand?

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