Before you continue reading, do take the time to have a look at these short, but very delightful videos. Start at the left and move forward. Well, actually, the whole series is embedded in the first column, but you can also watch them individually, which might be better.

You will probably guess that these adverts are pre-internet, so pre-Google, pre-Facebook, pre-everything that bombards us today. I was still living in the UK when this series started. Like everyone else, we were hooked. It was the “golden age” of the 1980s. Margaret Thatcher had given the UK an almighty kick up the bum. There was a confidence in the air like I have never experienced since. Now the country is paying a heavy price for her economic policies. We are always wiser in hindsight.

At that time, in the UK, we existed merely on 4 television channels. Rupert Murdoch’s Sky television was beginning to establish itself. When we wanted to watch a film, we went to the cinema or the local video shop. However, at that time, we also joked that sometimes the advertising was better than the actual TV programme.

I remember the Gold Blend advertisement campaign was so good that it made the front page of the Times, that bastion of British newspapers. The headline was tiny, but it was enough to boost the TV ratings: “The next instalment of the Gold Blend advertisement was going to be on air at that and that time on both ITV or Channel 4”

I hate instant coffee. No matter how good the advertisements might be, I would never buy it. It brings me to the topic of consumer psychology, a topic that Julia is learning about as part of her university studies. I thought she and I might prepare together for a Tuesday Get Together. She even agreed, no advertising was needed.

We all know that advertising has changed and that you can’t escape it. You look at something on the internet, and bingo, a mysteriously related advertisement will pop up. Watch something on YouTube, you are forced to watch the adverts to the end. You want to visit a website, and you might have to remove the ad blocker to continue. I leave the website and keep my ad blocker. And I don’t even want to start mentioning all the wizardry that goes on “behind the scenes”, “inviting” us to be a little distracted.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if the quality of the advertising were better. But the standard argument would be it’s too expensive to produce quality. (Quality is highly subjective, of course.) But maybe, less could be more?

So, let’s take a little dip into the commercial, creative world. A place designed to spend money we either don’t have or we shouldn’t spend on something we don’t need. Do you remember any advertisements which stood out for you? Can you describe them?

How, in your opinion, has ubiquitous social media advertising changed, and what do you think of it? Do you actually really notice it, or have you developed a skill that enables you to ignore online advertising? Would you buy a product if the advertising campaign were really, really, really, really, really fantastic? I mean, really fantastic. Fantastically, really fantastic? Or, even better than that?

I have to admit, as a small business owner, it would be a disaster for me, but what would happen if we made advertising illegal?

About 8 years ago, when I had turned my back on the brutal corporate world, my best form of advertising was distributing leaflets in letterboxes. But not those marked “no ads”. I remember once I deliberately or accidentally ignored such a notice. A very nice man wrote me a delightful email (in German) informing me that he would skin me to an inch of my life the next time I dared infiltrate his pure, ad-free letter box with my filth. I did a little research and found his company’s website and a pretty poor English translation of the services he was offering. You know I am a kind, gentle and polite person. I replied to his generous words and explained a little about the local culture concerning advertising (i.e. flyers from micro businesses were tolerated). Maybe, he would like to avail himself of my excellent, inexpensive and professional services to help him clean up the embarrassment he displayed on his website.

He never replied. It proves that advertising doesn’t work.

See you on Tuesday, 9 pm Turkey / 7 PM CET / 2/3 pm Brazil.