In the US, there's a legal requirement of "truth in advertizing".** I don't know why they bother with this as we all know TV ads stretch the truth to say the very least. There's one running here at the moment, which paints such an untrue domestic picture, I'm considering writing in.
It's for Dawn stain remover. (Dawn usually only makes washing-up liquid, so this was great news to me. Stain removers are my friends.) Anyway, a gorgeous, young-ish mother comes down the stairs into the kitchen. (NB. There are no walls or doors in this country.) She is greeted by a little girl about three or four years old, who is sitting at the breakfast island, eating something in a bowl - alone. Now, apart from this being a safety issue, (choking, grabbing knives, climbing around kitchen cabinets, - you know the type of thing) how many of us leave a little one unattended - with food?
Only yesterday my four year old decided I hadn't put enough milk in his bowl, and attempted to top it up from his cup. Inevitably, he missed the bowl entirely and poured it onto the table which then dripped all over his lap. Of course, this was the morning we were running a tad late, but his trousers were soaked through. His bedroom is also on the top floor of a tall house, so "running to his room to get a change of clothing" is a five minute Olympic event. When I'm not in the room, he usually decides he wants something other than what's on the menu, and raids the fridge or pantry for something tastier. That too, usually ends up on the floor. (It's no wonder we have the Durham Light Infantry of ants in the kitchen at the moment.)
So then the little ad girl jumps down from the chair, and runs over to her mother, who is wearing gleaming white jeans. Now, tell me this, who wears white jeans a) for hanging around the house, and b) with messy four year olds around? If I ever wear white, my kids aren't allowed in the same room with me. Mind you I should ban myself from being around me too as the last time I wore a certain white jacket, I was reaching for my water glass (honest) at a dinner, and caught the edge of my neighbour's red wine glass with my sleeve. In one of those slow-motion moments, the glass gently lay down on its side, tipping its entire contents straight down my sleeve.
Back to the mother and girl scene. The whole point of this ad is that the little girl hugs her mother round the knees, and plants a big cocoa-looking kiss, thus staining the white jeans. I will overlook the fact that she is feeding such sugary rubbish to her child first thing in the morning, and even the fact that the lip marks seemed to have originated from an orong-utan. Instead the focus of my outrage is the mother's totally unbelievable reaction. She kneels down to her daughter's eye level, and instead of issuing the usual "For goodness' sake these are clean on", smiles patiently and rubs noses with her princess. Have you ever rubbed noses with your children? Why do the people who makes TV ads persist with the impression that this is the ideal way of showing love? We're not puppies.
More to the point, what would your reaction have been to a big stain on your fresh white jeans? I don't think I can print what I would have said.
** This in no way, under any circumstances, constitutes legal advice. (Just covering myself.)