Advertising and the arts
Sir, – I have a proposal that may be of some public interest. We live in a society in which we are bombarded by more and more advertisements, and advertisements that are increasingly crass and lurid. This is a perception shared by many conservatives and liberals alike. I think most of us would also agree that our society is becoming culturally impoverished to an alarming degree. Our serious bookshops seem to be closing one by one, younger generations lack the repertoire of poems and ballads that their parents had by heart, and a glance at the magazine racks in most supermarkets or even newsagents is cringe-inducing.
I think the Government could stem the tide of tacky advertising, nurture the nation’s cultural life, and also give work to serious artists, filmmakers and other creative people – and all with one measure. Imagine if there was some quota of advertising time, or advertising space, in which the usual cheesy plugging of products was disallowed, and companies were instead obliged to sponsor short films, monologues, musical pieces, poems, paintings and so forth – their presence in the work being confined to a discreet logo, or a “sponsored by” announcement at the end.
If even 5 per cent of advertising were set aside for this purpose, it would surely make an enormous difference. It may be that the details of my plan are naïve, but I think the basic premise is worth considering. – Yours, etc,