Today I want to step out of the “not so nice shoes” that I’ve been wearing in my last two blogs and write positively about the good experiences I’m aware of in advertising. One of the best aspects of advertising is that we become better informed about things that are going on in the world, new products that may improve our health and well being, and others that may boost our happiness. These days, we have become more prone to stressful anxieties and different disorders, and certain adverts have helped us women to cope with them by simply normalizing the situation. Sometimes, a good ad can really lift our spirits. I know this may seem silly, or perhaps even a little dramatic, but some women out there really need this sort of thing to make them feel good about themselves.

For example, there are ads about a couple breaking up where the woman starts indulging in a tub of ice cream, a bar of chocolate or something equally delicious. The product (the delicious goodie) teams up with a perfectly understandable and normal situation in our day-to-day lives, such as indulging in “naughty” food during the not so good times. I absolutely love these ads, and they make me feel so much better because they remind me that I am not the only one who sometimes indulges in a little too much sweet goodness when times are rough. Besides which, I’m sick of those ads about 99% fat free food – if I want to eat something sweet and satisfying, I want the real thing. So these ads reach out to the broken hearted or sad women out there who are digging into a tub of ice cream while watching TV and believe me, they bring a smile. They tell us what we should already know, that we are not perfect human beings and that we do sometimes give in to temptation.

Health is a very important thing in our lives; actually it’s the most important thing. Regular check ups are important but these visits can be quite daunting. Luckily some ads really do know how to reach out to us. Take the smear test ad for example.

I know from personal experience, and those of my friends and other women, that this can be a terrifying situation to have to go through. Not only do we have to go and open our legs to a complete stranger, albeit a professional, but we also have to deal with the fact that certain complications may arise from the test. We instantly feel an enormous sense of paranoia, which creates fear, which in turn leaves us feeling reluctant to take the test. This level of worry may seem senseless, but it’s real, which is why I really like the way the smear test ad is done. Which ad? The one with the four Maori or Pacifica women who get all dressed up, climb into that hideous van before ending up at the smear test clinic.  The ad creates a comfortable atmosphere, one in which women get together and sort of have each other’s backs, turning something scary into a lovely, even fun experience. Although many people may have negative feedback about this ad, it works by normalising the fact that all women go through this process and that it does not have to be so bad.

Other ads that have a good impact on our health are the ones for breast screening, depression (especially with New Zealand’s incredibly high rates of depression), anti smoking, pregnancy etc. I know not everybody will agree with me on this, perhaps because they think they’re watching needless adverts, and that we’re all already aware that we have to deal with these challenges and difficulties. But let me tell you, from my experience as a counselor, that many women don’t really think or feel at all positive about these situations, and many of them believe that they are the only ones who have these fears.  It only takes one good advert to reach a woman and it can create a whole new world for her. So this ability to change perspectives is what I love about adverts, they take us into a world that we want to reach, they tell us a story where we can see ourselves playing the main character and they can surely inspire us (the good ones that is).