I’m thoroughly fed up with the deluge of patriotic, nationalistic advertising during the Olympics coverage. Top offenders include Telstra, with their motifs of manufacturedly-diverse Australians clustered around mobile phones to watch the Games; Qantas, with their children’s choir singing in the shape of a kangaroo about which island continent they call home; and Panasonic, who have shamelessly co-opted almost the entire swim team in order to sell more cameras. The Commonwealth Bank also rates a mention, not so much due to patriotism, but because their bizarre series of forcedly-post-modern, let’s-mock-American-marketeers-while-simultaneously-selling-home-loans commercials are currently broadcast on Channel 7 at the rate of approximately ten to the half hour.
When it comes to bafflement, however, Red Rooster takes the cake. Their most recent campaign slogan, ‘it’s gotta be red’, has been frotting around the airwaves for most of 2008, but has been quixotically altered in honour of the Olympics. ‘Notice how well red goes with China?’ their ads ask – and for the life of me, I cannot tell whether irony is intended, or if the fact that red is traditionally synonymous with communism has managed to completely escape the marketing gurus of a giant American – that is to say, capitalist – corporation. Surely, a part of me thinks, this can’t be the case. Someone, somewhere must have pointed out that China’s flag is red for a reason. But if that be so, then the irony is unintended, and therefore equally perturbing in its implications: that a capitalist company has, on the one hand, publicly commented on how well communism suits China; and on the other, is now using this fact to sell chicken.
Truly, the mind boggles.