Who would have thought that I would write a blog post about something so trivial as the fact that advertisers are dishonest? But there’s a difference between not being entirely honest, and using other people in your deception to their loss and your own gain. Electronics giant LG appear to be doing the latter in meteoric style.
An advertisement for LG is currently doing the rounds: A TV screen is embedded in a wall to look like a window to the outside world, an unwitting participant believes that they are at a job interview, and to their horror, through the “window” they see a meteor smash into the earth, spelling their certain death. Cue the terrified reaction followed by the big unveil: It’s not real, it’s a TV screen! Say, aren’t our TVs realistic? Buy one!
I do not know if this is actually a prank or if the prank victims are really just actors. However, I think it is clear that LG intends for viewers to believe that this is a genuine prank: the victims of the prank did not know that it was coming. They were genuinely tricked, which shows how realistic their TVs are. This is how the ad is supposed to work, and if these people were merely being presented as actors, the argument that these TVs are good enough to trick people would fail. Here’s the video:
The comments that I have seen are generally favourable, and they appear to assume that the only way in which LG could be wronging people here is by frightening them (again, assuming – s these comments do – that this was actually a prank and not just an act). The question people are concerning themselves with is “did they go too far in scaring people?”
That’s a good question, but it certainly is not the first question that struck me. It’s possible that this is the reaction of a lot of people on YouTube because they are high school students who have never had to grapple with the rat race of the job market (just a guess, but that could be mistaken). But the screamingly obvious issue for me was this: I have been out of work and unable to provide for my family. I have been in work that I wanted to be out of, and desperately wanted another job so that I could do something rewarding and which better provided for my family. Neither of these are good situations to be in.
When a person is in that situation, getting a job interview is a great feeling. It’s a real chance. You put off other appointments, you start to worry just a little less about landing a job. If you think your chances are very good, you might (although you really should not) stop applying for other jobs shortly prior to the interview. The fact that someone thought enough of your application to interview you, if you’re someone who has been trying for a while, lets you finally believe that you’re good enough to at least consider (in fact you may well be good enough anyway, and you simply don’t get an interview because of the sheer volume of applications, but I am talking about how things seem to the applicant). You’ve applied, you have been given an interview, your spirits are lifted, you actually entertain hope about the job, you prepare yourself for whatever questions you might be asked, you (try to) prepare yourself psychologically for the interview, you show up early, you step through the door….
And LG pranks you into thinking you’re about to die, laugh about it, tell you how great their TV is, maybe the give you a TV, I don’t know, and that is that. You were used. You weren’t good enough for the job because there is no job, and you have just helped LG make an advertisement that will, all things going according to the business plan, pad out their profits a little more.
The fact that the main interest of most commentators is whether or not the prank was too scary is a symptom of our ethical shallowness when it comes to the issue of simply using people.
- Episode 049: Why don’t more people believe?
- Plantinga at the Sci Phi Show
- Jim Spiegel’s “Blog Tour”
- Miracles happen
- Apologetics 315 interviews Glenn Peoples on God and Morality
- Episode 044: What is Faith?