Ministers consider anti-Britain adverts

An advertising campaign that paints a true picture of life in the UK is being considered by the Government in an attempt to ward off potential immigrants, according to a report in the Guardian.

The proposal is one of many ideas being considered by ministers seeking ways to curb arrivals from Romania and Bulgaria, when temporary immigration restrictions from the two newest EU member states expire in December.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

A Downing Street source told the Guardian: "It is true that options are being looked at but we are not commenting on the specific things mentioned ... as obviously it is an ongoing process and we will bring forward any proposals in due course."

It is has not been revealed what aspects of British life ministers intend to use to dissuade potential immigrants, yet there is plenty to choose from as the recession rumbles on with Britain battling high unemployment and public service cuts, amid dismal weather and a messy binge drinking culture.

Negative reputation
A report over the weekend quoted one minister saying that such a negative advert would "correct the impression that the streets here are paved with gold".

The anti-nation branding idea conflicts with the billions spent on the London 2012 Olympics to boost Britain's reputation and attract visitors to our shores.

Influx of immigrants
No official estimate has been put on the anticipated number of arrivals from Romania and Bulgaria when the restrictions end in December, yet ministers are reportedly very wary following the situation when Poland joined the EU and much larger numbers than predicted came to the UK.

It is also reported that the Government is looking at the idea to deport immigrants that fail to find work within three months of arriving or to show they could support themselves for six months.

Population problem
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has admitted the influx would "cause problems" with services such as housing, with the majority likely to pick London boroughs which already have significant populations from the countries.

Anti-British adverts have appeared abroad before, although never run by Britain itself. One edgy portrayal of British culture abroad included Belgium Eurostar adverts for trips to London showing a tattooed skinhead urinating into a teacup.

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Advertising's most sexist ads
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Ministers consider anti-Britain adverts

"A woman is only a woman but a good cigar is a smoke". Only a woman? Feminists would take issue at the "only" adverb, and the idea that any human being of either gender is inferior to a cancer-inducing product from Benson & Hedges.


Don't blame the ad men completely. That ad tag line is actually the evil work of one Rudyard Kipling. From a poem he penned called "The Bethrothed".

Now this is a creepy ad: "I have created a playground for men's hands." Armando Ghedini created wigs "for other men who adore women". This wig was also wash'n'wear. Nice.


The thoughtful signor Ghedini had also designed a wig to be combed in any direction, "for men to tousle". Men, he said, become "inspired" by women who wore it and women, Ghedini added, were grateful.

VW advertising has often been self-deprecating and clever. In 1960s America their ads were phenomenally successful, persuading thousands of Americans to ditch large thirsty home-made offerings for the company's cramped, noisy but economical Beetle.

Their ads flattered the intelligence of the American middle class. But this ad depicing a bashed-up VW bug? "Sooner or later your wife will drive home one of the best reasons for owning a Volkswagen". Not their female customers, clearly. What were they thinking?

Similarly, Easyjet also thought that a pair of ample breasts would be enough to help ticket sales. This ad dates back to 2003 when George Bush, Dick Cheney and Tony Blair were getting very animated about those hard-to-find weapons of mass destruction.


This particular ad garnered around 200 complaints to the Advertising Council and also escaped any ticking off. And plenty of publicity of course. It all worked out beautifully for Easyjet. Tits away, Stelios.

Car manufacturers and cigarette companies are regular sexist offenders. Here Italian typewriter maker Olivetti peddles the idea that young women are passive, servants ready to transcribe boardroom minutes at a moment's notice.


Where are Olivetti now in the global brand firmament?. Join the Olivetti girls. At ease, ladies, please.

Melon distributor F.H.Hogue of California thought his melons were pretty buxom and wanted to spread the word. Ho-ho, Mr Hogue.

There are plenty more examples and we'll be looking at more anther time. In the meantime let's leave with a woman knowing exactly where she should be (in the home, honey).

Here is a 1970s shoe ad from a brand called Weyenberg. You may find it hard to track down a Weyenberg shoe today however.

However, not all car makers followed such a well-worn patronising path. Back in the 1970s Honda in the US reversed the idea that women always needed cars with simple, easy-to-drive automatic gearboxes.


Despite offering both a manual and auto gearbox, neither was "a women's car" Honda stated firmly. Note the jaunty hat and jeans. A stab at selling to the US lesbian community? Or an independent straight girl fed up with stereotypes. Good for Honda.

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