Here is another ad I found online that has the potential to violate a clause of the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards.
Clause 10 states that:
“Advertisements must not without reason, justifiable on educational or social grounds, display a disregard for safety by depicting situations that might reasonably be interpreted as encouraging unsafe or dangerous practices, or acts.”
Hmm… this ad does seem to encourage some unsafe behavior don’t you think? First, let’s look at the language. By using the pronoun ‘you’, the ad is directly addressing the consumer. There is nothing vague about that. This makes you part of the conversation; a key participant in the dialogue. The ‘you’ intentionally tries to make you feel like you are personally addressed – not just a mere bystander overhearing the conversation. This ‘you’ is creating a reality, enabling you to experience the unreal as real. This is a dangerous game if the ad contains dangerous language.
Another word that seems to encourage unsafe behavior is the word should. Defined in Oxford Dictionary online, the word should “indicates obligation,” or “an expected state” or “what is probable.” Should is used to “give advice” and “expresses a request.” Gibson is requesting and expecting me to commit suicide if I can’t get laid? How rude!
It is blatantly obvious that this is a joke. Of course no advertisement would really suggest a person to take his or her life if he or she doesn’t engage in sexual activity after purchasing the product. But it doesn’t take away the fact that it is encouraging a dangerous act. This is completely and utterly inappropriate. There is no ambiguity in ‘commit suicide’. This is an asserted statement. If this advertiser was smart, he or she would have made an implicit claim, making it easier to disregard or cancel.
What about those people who abstain from sex in general? Should they kill themselves too? The ad implies that if you are not having sex, life is not worth living. Gibson insinuates that purchasing a guitar is a sure ticket to winning the fornication lottery. And if this can’t help you – nothing will, may as well die. Sorry Gibson, but not everyone wants to bang a musician.