Published on September 1, 2007
He cited a skin-lotion commercial starring a model exposing as much as possible to convince viewers that her skin was smooth and silky.
He has a point.
I was shocked watching the near-naked actors in another ad, thinking that it too had to be for a skin product. It turned out to be for yoghurt. Shocking me more, however, was the fact that it was aired at a time allocated mainly to children's programmes.
Then it hit me. We've brought in programme ratings to protect children from exposure to inappropriate subjects, but have we talked about the commercials they can see? My guess is we haven't, or the racy yoghurt commercial wouldn't have been aired during a children's show.
Why care, many will ask, when places like Siam Square are crawling with teens dressed just the same way, and the media is full of actresses flaunting flesh. Companies launching new products these days tend to use a sexy model to lure photographers. They know the pictures will be splashed all over newspapers and magazines in no time - hey presto, free advertising. But now that this is common practice, some people think that the entire nation accepts the dress code.
I doubt that a girl could walk through a village wearing a tummy-revealing, spaghetti-strapped blouse and (very short) shorts without drawing criticism left and right. Yet with the same outfit she could go unnoticed in the city.
Back to the commercials issue: If we start filtering out adverts during children's programmes, what would happen to the programmes? Producers are quick to feel the pinch when shows don't attract enough advertising, so it would certainly hurt them if some advertisers were kicked out.
Would it be a step too far to rate all ads, to encourage advertisers to cut down on the bare flesh exposed?
I've been surprised to see that actors in foreign commercials tend to cover up more. Perhaps I've seen too few of them. Or maybe it's that most foreign ads we see come from the cooler climes of North America. If that's the case then all we have to do is wait for climate change to kick in. A century from now, Thailand should be much chillier, and perhaps our advertisers will use a bit more imagination instead of the same old skin.
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