So it was Saturday morning and I was watching the weekly Barbie film dubbed into Turkish, with my eldest daughter. Actually, she watched and I folded the laundry mountain (crampons would be useful) and tidied the kitchen. The adverts came on – all 34 of them (yes, really), and as they lasted a really long time they started to invade my consciousness as well as my subconsciousness. Here is the spread of products advertised in that one looong ad slot:
One of the chocolate adverts is supremely irritating. It features a pregnant woman and her extremely loud and demanding unborn child, who is a buck-toothed, freckle-faced cartoon character and shouts “AN-NEEEEEE!” at the top of his voice to demand his fix of chocolate spread, eaten straight from the tub. (The ad is so effective that when I Googled the brand name for pics and got a load of chocolate spread pictures my 3 year old daughter immediately said “the boy likes this, doesn’t he, Mummy? And he’s a very funny boy.”) The advert’s strapline: your baby eats what you eat. This advert is doubly annoying because my daughter mimics the little boy as soon as it comes on and chases me around the house going “AN-NEEEE!” so I can’t escape. Here it is, so it can haunt your dreams too:
The advert has a sequel – the mum-to-be is having an ultrasound and explaining that her unborn baby is really energetic and moves around constantly. Despite the inconveniences of being constantly kicked in the ribs and not getting any sleep because baby wakes up when you lie down, having an energetic bump is a good thing, because energetic = healthy, obviously. And as your baby eats what you eat, this baby is healthy because his mum nourishes him with chocolate spread! Of course. I don’t remember seeing that on the recommended foods list I was given by my obstetrician, he must have forgotten to include it.
Anyway, so, 33% of the many, many adverts in this ad break were for chocolate. The next largest slice of soft-sell pie goes to… cleaning products. A very popular range with Barbie fans. One of the adverts is notable by having some men in it, or rather, one man and one boy. They have been roped into cleaning the bathroom tiles with Mum as her current cleaning products just involve so much hard work. But what is this? Father and son go into the bathroom later, Mum is on her own in there cleaning and the tiles are shining! She’s only gone and bought some Cillit Bang. So life can return to how it should be: Mum doing the cleaning and Dad and Junior can go and kick a ball about, or play Scalextric, or something masculine like that. There’s a life lesson for you, my 3-year-old Barbie fan daughter.
In fact, apart from one rogue ad for men’s razors, these are the only men selling products in Barbie’s world. Turkish advertisers clearly don’t think Turkish men watch Barbie! And they obviously don’t think Turkish men do much cleaning. How sexist. So me and my daughter will get back to watching Barbie while I do the housework. I wonder where my husband is?