Talibell Canada [Updated]

Update: Be sure to read the comments after reading the article, especially this one! — Joey

Joan at FreakGirlSpew (the blog also known as Freak Girl’s Pew) got an ad in her snail mail from Bell Canada. The ad, shown below, showcases the parental content filtering for Bell’s DSL service:

Photo: Bell Canada content-filtering ad.

(For the moment, let’s ignore the argument about whether it’s a good

idea to filter the internet to protect your kids.)

The text of the ad reads “You’ll do anything to protect your kids from

inappropriate content”, beside a photo showing a book with the

inappropriate content x-acto’d out. As you can see, the book isn’t

anything along the lines of The Hustler Anthology: Three Decades of Crotch or even Madonna’s Sex, but a biology


Who’s Bell Canada’s ad agency, Ashcroft and Associates? Taliban Promotions?

If knowledge about the human body is to be considered “inappropriate”,

we’re all in deep trouble. If you’re a parent who freaks out over some

anatomy pictures in textbooks, I can say with reasonable certainty that

your kid will grow up to be one screwed-up puppy — I dated such people.

If you care to send Bell Canada an opinion, here are the email addresses to hit:

Remember, you’re more likely to get some kind of response if you spellcheck and use good grammar and etiquette.

4 replies on “Talibell Canada [Updated]”

I think complaining about this would be over-reacting. It’s one of a series in an ad campaign for Bell Sympatico’s services, all of which show over-protective parents in a mildy derisive light — doing things like following their kid’s bike in their minivan, using an air-horn to beep out semi-naughty words on the TV, and so on.

In short, irrespective of what one might believe about the merits of content filtering in general, this ad is humourous and ironical in tone, a joke. My explaining it further would ill behoove us all.

And always watch yourself when people seem to feel the need to explain jokes to you.

That changes things. The ad takes on a completely different meaning in the context of the others. The problem is that I haven’t seen those other ads, and I’ll wager that a good number of recipients of the mailing may not have, either.

I’m still all for writing to companies about their lame ads. I’ve only done it once, but it was to the late-90’s king of lame TV ads: McCain. Those ads were so bad they hurt my soul.

I’ve seen the tv ads, and yes, if you’re looking at the ad campaign as a series of skits escaped from SNL, they’re mildly funny.

(I digress: what the hell is up with the Canadian ad agencies’ love for desaturated colour in commercials? Bell, Rogers, that moldy old cheese commercial with the kid who can’t remember what he’s supposed to buy — every one of them looks like a 70s Polaroid. Yeah, ironic/retro: I think we need a macro for that.)

But Joey, when I got that mailing, I was pissed, too, and spent some time rooting around Bell’s various horribly unhelpful web sites looking for an appropriate contact address, so thanks very much for supplying those. And Bell, don’t make me go looking for full context in order to make a weak joke work: a good ad doesn’t need Coles Notes.

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