There’s an ad for TVNZ OnDemand at the moment that goes something like this:
“On your deathbed, what kind of life do you want to remember? How about one where you’re surrounded by beautiful people, everyone listens to what you have to say, and you’re constantly entertained by wonderful things? That’s not going to happen, though, idiot. Your life is stupid. If you want fond memories on your deathbed, watch lots of television.”
Now, I am the last person in the world who’d think that there isn’t at least some kind of ecstasy offered by dissolution in a constant stream of television. Anyone who has spent more than 30 seconds talking to me will be aware of my tiresome tendency to relate just about everything back to something like a Mitchell & Webb sketch or an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But this TVNZ OnDemand advertisement is like a wake-up call demanding that its viewers radically re-evaluate their priorities.
I’m not quite sure what the marketing team can be thinking. Maybe they’re so completely on-board with their product that they sincerely believe that a life of watching their programming is preferable to anything in most people’s real lives. Maybe the notion that television is preferable to real life is so commonplace that the ad was written without any thought to the implications at all.
Yet I can’t help but think that at least some viewers will see that ad, hear the question – “What kind of life do you want to look back on?” – and answer by turning the TV off entirely.