A couple of weeks ago I was confronted by an unusually puerile full-page advertisement in the local paper. I say “unusually” because it goes without saying that a lot of advertising, on TV especially, could most charitably be described as less than cerebral. But this took infantilism in advertising to a new low.
The text was written as if intended for pre-schoolers. But rather than try to convey the tone of this nonsensical doggerel with a mere excerpt, I’ll reproduce it in its entirety:
IMAGINE AOTEAROA WITHOUT GOOD WATER
What a stink as place that would be.
Trout would be grumpy.
Boating no fun.
And dirty ducks a sad sight to see.
Mean as manus wouldn’t be mean.
Showers a complete waste of time.
Bathrooms would be just rooms.
Togs just undies.
And our awa, all filthy with slime.
That’s why we’ve got a plan,
‘cos we’re water’s biggest fan.
So let’s make it better than fine.
The accompanying illustrations, crudely drawn comic-style, showed a pipe belching noxious-looking waste into a river, a duck swimming through sludge and a horrified child bather coated in muck, all eye-catchingly presented in full colour.
It finished with the inspirational slogan “Better Water is Better for Everyone”, complete with a Maori translation for the benefit of the many readers who don’t understand English.
You may have figured out by now that it was a government ad promoting the Three Waters project, and I now note that TV viewers are being bombarded with an animated version.
The commercial can be viewed here (the government has prevented it from being embedded).