Basically the jist of the adverts is that people who buy or download pirated films are basically cheapskates that are hiding within our midst and the adverts end with a public humiliation of the now revealed pirate film user by a crowd calling him knock-off nigel. You can see one of them set in a pub here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TbqBPmInjQ) and another set in an office
The basic aim of the advert is to try and portray people using pirated films by... saying they will become moral degenerates because of it and become subject to public humiliation - this is supposed to stop them buying them.
For example the pub-based advert strings together the following traits of a knock-off nigel
- they do things on the cheap
- instead of buying gifts they give things they have acquired free of charge (in this case by finding items in the street)
- they steal things from their relatives
- they regualarly acquire favours/gifts of friends with nothing in return (in this case scrounging drinks)
Or the second office based advert which gives very similar things but with stealing from workmates and "being a real creep".
One of the first things that stands out is that these are characteristics thrown together at random as being supposedly 'morally wrong', I highly doubt that these characteristics of pirated film users.
Secondly what is so wrong with doing things on the cheap - as someone with a very limited income I have to by necessity do things on the cheap a lot of the time because of this (also doesn't this in essence imply that to be morally good you have to spend lots of money?). This doesn't mean that all the other traits apply to me. One of them does that of being bought drinks, but that stems from the fact that I'm poor and people tend to drink as a social activity and don't want me to be sat there without a drink when I can't afford it. But then when I've had money I've done the same for other people and that doesn't make them moral degenerates either! Also, it is a semi-custom for many people to buy drinks for their partners (particularly female ones) which when extended to them shows how stupid this generalisation is!
Thirdly, it completely rips why people buy these DVDs out of context. In the adverts 'nigel' is portrayed as someone who has the money to buy 'real' films but choose not to. Some people do not have this luxury, to be able to view all the films they wish to, that is before even discussing why DVDs costs so much. But more importantly this advert discussing it from only the angle of the buyer (although previous adverts have tried to tell us that all pirate DVD sellers are gangs using it for funding other criminal activities). This can also be examined at the level of individuals who copy DVDs too, but a discussion of how mainstream companies are complicit and can benefit from being involved in the trafficking of knock-off goods was discussed on Bent Society last week (see http://bentsocietyblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/last-week-i-graduated-and-found-ehell.html)
Now obviously you can't put all this in an advert, but an attempt to put the advert into its correct context would have been better at the very least. But we have also to question the motives behind such adverts and the whole question of pirated films/music etc. I'm hoping to write more on these issues over the next few weeks, but also I'd like to examine in further detail some of the question raised above, particularly the actual extent of film piracy and its composition. I would appreciate feedback and comments on this article very much.