Have you seen this advert?

I’m guessing it’s only shown in the UK and is used to advertise the services of a breakdown company – the AA.

 

The advert seems really nice. A gorgeous little kid singing along to a well-known thumping good song by Tina Turner. Dad (it might not be dad but the way the advert is shot tends to suggest the driver is of a fatherly-type figure) is driving along, the weather is perfect, the roads are nice and empty, everything is shiny, clean and just ooh so lovely.

BUT OH NO….What’s this???

Peril and Danger are afoot!

A warning light shows on the dashboard!
Bad things are happening and Dad, being the calm hero that he is, gently guides the car into a handy layby and uses his phone to call the AA…who appear within seconds and fix the car by tweaking a cable (awesome Jedi-mind car fixing skills) while all the time the kid sings to the song.
Awwww, and the happy AA man is all smiling and waves at the kid and they all go on to live long and happy lives.
I’m sold! Sign me up to the AA so I too can have a warning light come on and sing to Tina Turner while a smiling (and clean) AA man turns up and pokes a cable to get me on my journey.

Except that ain’t the kid singing.

 

The advertiser, and the AA, have superimposed the mouth of an older child onto the face of the cute kid to make it look like said cute kid is singing happily.

Say whaaaat?

 

So let me get this right – they (the AA and the advertiser) are manipulating the mouth of a tiny kid to sell you something.
They did that.
It’s not even that tiny cute kid singing but the voice is that of the older child who has been superimposed on it.
The AA have merged two less than perfect children to create one super-child to aid their profits.
To sell something.
To make money.
A child.
They made it (the child) look like it was singing happily.
For money.
To tweak your emotions, to make you go

awww that’s so cute I love the AA and their cable-poking Jedi-mind car fixing skills

Personally, I find this creepy as hell. Manipulating the mouth of a baby to sell something is just sinister. 
I mean, on the face of it, it’s cool right? Nobody was hurt, everyone got paid, the two less-than-perfect children probably got money, or sweets, or whatever kids get from being in adverts.
What! No!
That crosses a massive ethical line for me. For a start, that kid is two and a half, so it cannot consent to having its mouth digitally altered. I know kids are on telly all the time, in programmes, movies, and adverts but the concept and the ideology behind it are making me balk.
I think it’s knowing that adult men and women in offices all got together and not only suggested doing it, but made it happen.
‘Hey, here’s an idea, why don’t we make this super cute kid look like it’s really happy while the AA fixes their car? That could work. But, you know, we can’t actually make a two-year-old kid do that, so we can like, blend two kids together…yeah? good idea?’ (bows to the applause and gets big bonus while plotting a new advert to make children sell guns and knives and bombs).
If a two-year-old child cannot sing the words to a Tina Turner song then, um, maybe don’t use a two-year-old child? Why not just use the older child? What’s that? The older child who can sing isn’t so cute? Is that your perspective? Who decides on the cuteness to making money like cold-hearted fuckers ratio?
So there. That is my view on this. Not that it matters but I feel better for sharing it.
Oh, and that Haribo advert where they digitally layer the voices of kids on adults, you know, steely-eyed office workers and badass construction workers, to make them sound like kids when they’re not kids….that’s creepy as fuck too.
Stop merging kids with other things. It’s wrong.
You’re like crazy scientists trying to make new species of stuff in underground laboratories.
It’s freaky.
You’re freaky.
Stop being freaky scientists.
Take care
RR Haywood
(before anyone rants – this is a direct quote from the AA website in regard to that specific advert: In the spirit of openness, we do have to admit that we took some artistic license. The curly-haired charmer in the ad is a superb actor for her age (she’s only 2 and a half), but the mouth and voice actually belongs to an amazing 6-year-old singer.)
3 Comments
  • Phyl Lamattina
    Posted at 00:50h, 15 March Reply

    I enjoy your blog. But If I click “ Likes”, does that mean I like your rant? I do…. or I like the friggin AD? I don’t ….and did No Comments mean I wasn’t supposed to post a comment?

  • Sheryl woodward
    Posted at 22:49h, 18 March Reply

    Absolutely love your books and you use your creativity to sell them just the same with the advert. And this little angel is a she/her not an it. Personally I find the advert amusing but it won’t make me run out and join the AA. Can you stop watching tv now and get Day 23 out

  • Christine Doyle
    Posted at 02:27h, 19 March Reply

    I’m in the US so this is the first time I’ve seen this ad, but I have seen the likes and I always have the same reaction – this sort half-opened mouth, slightly wrinkled nose, tilted head, etc. and all that I’m thinking (after the initial wtf) is why? Just why?- we DO have the Haribo ad though and yes, creepy as, no doubt.
    Especially the AA one – that little girl is so cute, that it would be enough just to see her dancing in her seat smiling and laughing – they could have even put the 6 year old in the back seat too and she could sing while the cute one was just cute doing her thing. They could have put cute little girl sunglasses on the singer if they were that concerned of her less cuteness, let’s face it, the little one is cute enough both.
    I love your books and blog – you have become my favorite writer since I first discovered The Undead when it was a daily deal on audible a couple years back, but it’s so nice to have my feelings validated. It’s just nice to know that it’s okay to be annoyed and disappointed when I don’t have to even lift the lid to know my latte is not what was expected, or when I see an ad that I know was meant to be cute and maybe clever, but what comes to my mind immediately is creepy.

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