Many of us remember where we were. Some were putting petrol in the car. Some buying a pack of smokes for a child hiding around a corner. Some of us were simply struggling to get their kid to sit in the trolley without the whole thing tilting forward and slamming the infant in the face. Each of us remembers the moment we saw it. An image that haunts Australian consciousness, and one that will continue to do so for many years to come.
We were rocked to the gut. Maybe not the gut. Maybe the knees, or just the head. If not the whole head it certainly affected the eyes. It left a great stinging pain that one might associate with swimming in undiluted chlorine or perhaps some kind of paste made from stinging nettles and applied as mascara. Actually, very much like the last option in both idiocy and painful effect.
The scaring runs deep. Few Australian are unmarked by the experience, and those unaffected would either be newborn children or recent immigrants. For the rest of us it is something we wish to protect the future from encountering, as we pray the situation will never be repeated. But we can’t assume it wont. We all must remain vigilant.
May we not forget the harrowing low moral standards to which marketers can sink. Advertising has always worked to tug on our sensors, and the thin green line of retail dollars can see the corrupt attempt to capitalise on human sorrow as a way to manipulate spending habits.
It will have passed some minds to market Coral White Laundry Bleach, Chilean Miner Pocket Torches, Victorian Bush Fired Koala Steaks, and Drought Dried Beef Jerky. Terrible ideas born from poor social standards. Standards that if allowed can erode sympathy as idolising Kanye West can erode humility. To ensure we don’t descend into this mire, may the danger of what advertising can do remain fresh in our memories.