I listen to the Old People’s Radio a lot – having qualified for the privilege by years of breathing in and out. The music is wonderful or woeful, depending upon whether you liked it the first time you heard it in 1959. The advertisements are simple and charming – but can be a surprising measure of how far we have come in the last 50 years.
Oh, you can’t advertise soup or soap much differently than before – it’s either going to be delicious or gentle on the skin, and really it doesn’t make much difference exactly which.
But the big change is in professional advertising – particularly as it concerns my old profession: dentistry.
In my day, ( dinosaurs, Elvis, and amalgam ) we were liable to be struck off the register if we advertised in any way. We were allowed a brass or plastic plate – strictly controlled as to size and lettering – and were only allowed to state our names and university qualifications. We were not allowed to speak on radio or television and any printed advertising was limited to change-of-practice notifications in the daily press.
Then the advertising agencies managed to subvert someone with enough influence to allow an increase in actual advertising and the dam burst.
The extent of the deluge became apparent when a local surgery trying for a name as an implant place started to hit the Old Folks Radio hard and fast. Tonight’s ad assured us that the principal of the practice is renowned for his care and superior skills; a phrase that would have put him on the carpet in the 60’s.
He may be renowned, and he may have skill and take good care of people, but ” superior ” as an adjective to describe him is an affront to all his fellow practitioners. It may not attract official displeasure but it still needs a calumnious razz.
One wonders if he wrote his own copy or just the cheque for it.