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Last Updated: Friday, 2 September 2005, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
The modern rules of advertising?
The Magazine's review of advertising

Japanese ad
Rules also translate
Men are tired of their portrayal in advertising, according to a new book by Michael Buerk. But images of men behaving stupidly is not the only cliche which irritates writer John Camm.

Dad in muddy boots walking blithely across a kitchen floor just cleaned by an exasperated mum who just gives a frustrated but loving smile to her giggly children, who cry out: "Da-a-ad!".

Just one advertising cliche, and just one where no-one behaves like people really do.

It's the kind of thing which irritates John Camm. "It's tiresome to see male characters in adverts who don't resemble anyone you know," he says. "But what's perhaps worse is the absolute reliance of advertising on its own regurgitated cliches."

He has drawn up a list of seemingly unwritten rules which, he concludes, might as well be the Advertising Bible. Add your views to his list at the foot of the page.

1. Men are obsessed with sex but will forego sex in order to watch football or drink beer.

2. Women are locked in a constant battle with their weight/body shape/hairstyle.

3. Career success is entirely based on your ability to impress your boss.

4. Mums are often harassed but NEVER depressed/unable to cope.

5. Any act of male stupidity (e.g. walking across a clean floor in muddy boots, putting the dog in the dishwasher, etc.) will be met with a wry smile, not genuine annoyance/anger.

6. Married men will flirt with other, younger women but NEVER act upon it.

7. Anyone with a scientific career will have a bad haircut and dreadful clothes.

8. If you work for the emergency services, you are a better person than the general population.

9. Elderly relatives NEVER suffer from senile dementia.

10. Scandinavians are, without exception, blonde and beautiful.

11. Women have jobs they never do in real life, e.g. dockworker (who looks like a model).

12. Children will not eat fruit or vegetables. Ever.

13. Both men and women find driving deeply pleasurable, never boring or stressful.

14. Men are inherently lazy/slobbish; women are the reverse.

15. Chocolate, however, will cause women to immediately fall into the languor of the opium eater.

16. High Street bank staff are (A) friends of the customers, and (B) of slightly above-average attractiveness (only if female).

17. Modern men own a cat.

18. Hot beverages have miraculous rejuvenating effects.

19. Professional people have strangely trivial preoccupations, e.g. a female barrister who is morbidly obsessed with finding a healthy snack bar.

20. All women (except stay-at-home housewives) have interesting and enjoyable careers.

21. Any over-the-counter medical product will work instantly and 100% effectively.

22. Children know more than adults.

23. Women never merely hop in and out of the shower, instead preferring to act out some sort of soapy Dance of the Seven Veils.

24. School is a happy experience for all children.

25. Tortilla chips are the most exciting experience any group of young people can experience.

26. Playing bingo is THE number one pastime among 18-25 year old British women.

A version of this article first appeared in the e-mail comment sheet The Friday Thing.

Your suggestions of cliches in advertising.

Science's most important applications are smoothing out wrinkles and making hair shiny.
Karen, Luton

Yoghurt-based products can change your life. Want to be a brilliant dancer? Have a yoghurt! Want to do away with your natural preference for *attractive* members of the opposite sex? Have a yoghurt! Want to avoid heart disease? Don't bother with all that boring giving-up of stuff, have a yoghurt!
Kaylie, Runcorn, UK

Cleaning products will remove any stain in one sweep of a cloth.
Razors glide across male faces and leave baby-smooth non-irritated skin underneath.
Richard, Reading, UK

Babies have conversations with each other about the relative merits of their nappies.
Frank, Overtown, Scotland

Women only wear spectacles in adverts for opticians.
Michael Miller, Portsmouth, UK

It's OK to racially stereotype eskimos
Andrew, Derby, UK

Everyone is either in debt and wanting to take out a loan, or seeking compensation from someone.
Sarah, Cambridge

Clothes come out of washing machines.
Kate, Ottawa

Anyone who is at home in the afternoon is in desperate need of a secured loan, a pension plan or no-win, no-fee solicitor.
Daniel Landsberger, Enfield

Lipstick will never come off.
Katie, East Sussex

Driving in a brand new car leads immediately to all other traffic being kept off the road.
Dave Shane, Manchester, UK

The last thing to emerge from an upended box of breakfast cereal is one perfect flake. The most important property of a tampon is its resemblance to a sweet.
Jenny, Glasgow, Scotland

Duvets are miraculously L-Shaped, reaching to the underarms of the woman in the bed but only to the midriff of the man.
Poppy, Newport, South Wales

Public transport is a beautifully clean and relaxing way to travel and you'll always be able to flirt with an attractive member of the opposite sex.
Gareth Davies, Reading

All babies spend their time being either naked and perfectly happy or clothed and asleep.
Stephanie, St Neots

Saving a few quid on a car insurance bill of several hundred pounds will make you ecstatic for the rest of the week.
Adrian , Manchester, UK

Women are unable to remove their glasses without shaking their hair down in slow motion.
Norbert, London


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