Micropost: 2018 Kia Venga

Among my pet hates in Photoshop imagery is lens-flare. This advert for the Kia Venga adds some extra hatefulness and incompetence to that.

Revolting: source

The scene depicts not martians landing on the roof of the Vatican but a kid and a parent playing gleefully around the car. This could have been done in real life – why spend a whole day messing with Photoshop? The perspective is wrong as well. And the light is wrong: the sun is casting light towards the camera but the shadows are falling away from the camera.

Why spend a whole day on what is really a scene of cringe-making sentimentality? Finally, the setting: the almost bare front yard. It’ll be baking hot on a summers’ day and horrible at night too. Ads like this contribute to the worsening of our public spaces.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

6 thoughts on “Micropost: 2018 Kia Venga”

  1. That is a horrible picture – most unnatural. Shame, I still like the car.

  2. There´s a spooky reason car ads favour bare front yards: it´s easier to Photoshop a car onto a patch of asphalt than onto a background busy with plants. Using Photoshop the maker can put the car securely into a scene without driving it to a location and risking been been seen before release.
    So, security concerns and technical convenience leads car ads to feature plant-free front yards which in turn alters people´s aesthetic of what a front garden should be like. There are other factors too. A bare garden looks newer, perhaps.

  3. Yes, it is a dreadful image, both in technical and conceptual terms, but I understand the thinking behind it: advertising presents us with aspirational images of the person we would like to be, not the person we are. The large, modernist house is a signifier of both wealth and taste (if you like that sort of thing) while the attractive mother playing energetically with an equally attractive child signify a healthy and happy family life.

    Whether or not the people who own such a property would consider a Kia Venga, either as a second or third car, is a moot point. In reality, they would be rather more likely to own a premium saloon car for him and an equally premium crossover or SUV for her (Apologies for the gender stereotyping.) but the aspirational intention of the advertisement is clear.

    One of my weirder obsessions is studying advertising for the subliminal messages they contain and their inconsistencies. For example, TV adverts for buy-to-own domestic appliance and furniture finance companies usually show smart families in equally smart homes, hardly the sort of people who would need to resort to buying on the “never-never” because they haven’t got the cash to do otherwise.

    Advertising often tries rather too hard to appear trendy and liberal, struggling to keep up with social attitudes and trends, sometimes with hilarious results. Mixed-race couples and families are over-represented in advertising in comparison with reality. More recently, same-sex couples are popping up everywhere these days in advertising, from banks to cars to oven chips. Before someone accuses me of being racist or homophobic, I’m a gay man in long-term relationship and applaud the normalisation of relationships beyond the traditional nuclear family, even if I believe that it is commercialism, not alturism, driving this trend. My favourite ad of the moment is for the Volvo V60 and features, amongst other family groupings two middle aged men, obviously a couple, one asleep on the other’s shoulder. It’s a sweet image that appeals to me, because it could easily be my partner and I. Job done, as far as the advertiser is concerned!

    1. The point of the advertisement is clear: this is a car for well-off families. My gripe is the awful quality of the artwork and also the rather simpering motif of mum and child playing. They won´t play in that yard because it´s hot and arid (look at their sharp shadows) or else it´s too early in the morning (look at the sun glaring in from the top right).
      I don´t really have an issue with diversity in advertising images. I see the same in the overpopulated photomontages used to advertise buildings where the place is shown as if two tour busses have emptied their passengers on the pavement. In real life, the finished building has one elderly man standing in front of it wondering what the grafffiti means.

  4. Sorry, should have said “rent-to-own” not “buy-to-own” above.

    Another example of inconsistent messages is the current epidemic of U.K. TV advertisements for funeral plan or over-50’s life insurance cover, where most of the people festured looked sufficiently well off that they shouldn’t to finance their own funeral in this way. They also seem to be irrepressibly cheerful about the prospect: “Congratulations!” says June on hearing the news that her (perfectly healthy and active looking) neighbour has taken out such a policy.

    As an aside, this could well prove to be the next financial mis-selling scandal, given the very poor value these small life assurance policies offer.

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