Thursday, 2 June 2011
Because yes is what makes this country great.
Celebrities are great for selling things. Since a good deal of us would like their lifestyle, associating with a product that seems part of it must surely add to the appeal, plus the hope that with pots of money, they presumably must have accumulated at least an approximate sense of taste.
So what on earth are they doing on an ad like this? Unless the ad’s makers were hoping we would all be aspiring to emulate the 32 solar panels on Cate’s Hunter’s Hill pad, there seems little point. The issue here is not Cate Blanchett, but what this ad says about the unions, environmental groups and GetUp who decided to put her in it. To this blogger, it pretty well sums up all that is lousy about Australian politics today.
First there is the ad’s patronising tone, right down to the cartoon panto props to help us thickos get the message; Cate pulls up a grey sky and makes it blue, got that, and look, there’s a pensioner hanging on to a big dollar coin (probably got that, compo or her electricity bill)?
In fact so bland is the content of the ad that the mind inevitably drifts to wondering about who is being flashed across our screen. There’s Cate and the guy from The Castle, but is that tall guy some footballer? The mother and worker are probably nobodies, but what about the old woman? Wasn’t she on Neighbours?
The bland content of the ad is even more amazing given the context. Celebrities can often be useful in getting their fame to highlight an issue that no one’s heard of. But that’s hardly the case here, everyone knows about the carbon tax. It’s probably the most contentious issue in Australia today and some would say the government’s survival depends on it. Yet there is no sense of this political argy-bargy in the ad, no argument countered, no point made. It reveals that behind the patronising tone and the use of celebrities because we are all too thick to get it otherwise, are really hiding self-styled ‘progressives’ incapable of engaging with society or their opponents.
The Murdoch press has gone to town unsurprisingly, focussing on Cate and the outrage from community leaders like, er, the Australian Family Association and Barnaby Joyce, that millionaires are telling us what to do (so no more words of wisdom from one newspaper proprietor then). The Murdoch campaign is dumb and missing the point. But then so is this ad. At least Murdoch recognises a political fight when he sees it.
Posted by The Piping Shrike on Thursday, 2 June 2011.Filed under Media analysis