Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Apathy: lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern
Parody: an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect
ING Direct yesterday responded yesterday to a social media backlash against one of it’s television ads. View Marketing Mag article and commercial here. ING Direct has apologized and indicated that the ad will be pulled.
I think in Canada – like no other country – we have the ability to be offended on behalf of others. Make any kind of taboo comment (or near taboo comment) and watch the face of people react as if you just kicked their puppy. The commercial in question mimics/parodies the formulaic aspects of many Mental Health awareness ads. That is to say a sombre voice over, moody short-focused camera work and the reveal – suffering from RSP.
On the ING Direct Facebook page (as well as others) there is backlash to the ad – some even calling for a CRTC investigation.
Now, before I sound like an apologist, Mental Health is a serious issue – but to be fair so are many other things (causes and events). Everyone one of us has some degree of something that gets to us mentally – and effects us. Some are large, major concerns (bi-polar, deliberate self-harm, etc.) and others are things as innocuous as scratching of skin or in one of my daughters’ case – hearing velcro torn apart. Too be truthful that last one does bring me joy every once in a while.
But at what point do we – as a society – totally give in to any and every offense taken (Quoting British Comedian Jimmy Carr – Apple Podcast – Offense is taken not given). It’s been the reclamation of words by groups, it’s been the banishment of peanut butter (and sometimes kiwi) and most recently even the request to cut down oak trees in Toronto. I understand that there are myriad things in this world that people find offensive. But if we start shaving off our ability to lighten the mood of any offering we are headed towards a dull, boring light.
What’s your take on the reaction of ING Direct and the backlash that caused this maelstrom?