This very interesting post over at Caribbean Free Radio talks about something that’s been bothering me for quite some time now. Competitive advertising is more than unwelcome in T&T – it supposedly goes against the code set out by the Advertising Standards Authority. Ads by First Citizens Bank have apparently got around this annoying detail by a Matrix-like binary code graphic approach where key letters are missing in words like “better” and “reliable”, while the voice-0ver says:
Advertising rules say we shouldn’t compare, but you can…
Founded in the 60s, the ASA evolved from 3 key bodies:
1. The Advertisers Association (which I think is now defunct)
2. The Advertising Agencies Association of Trinidad and Tobago (AAATT) and
3. The Trinidad and Tobago Publishers and Broadcasters Association (TTPBA)
The objective of this body was to protect consumers’ interests by enforcing strict guidelines for advertising produced, or imported for use, in Trinidad and Tobago. Now, I’m not particularly against competitive advertising per se, but I do think that if there are rules, they should be respected – and, dare I say, enforced. If the rules are found to no longer serve the best interests of the people they were put there to protect, then change them. But don’t find loopholes and then pretend to be playing above board – because every Trinbagonian who opens the newspapers and finds nearly every page in full-colour red (Digicel, aka the Challenger) or green (TSTT, aka the Incumbent) knows that “the rules” aren’t ensuring that anyone plays nice. The thing is, competition is good for the consumer. So how come we’re already sick of all the ads?