According to Tony Miller, a London-based Creative Director who employs two emotional rapists to oversee his agency’s Christmas output, their use has now become standard practice within the industry. ‘Regular ‘creatives’ are fine at getting someone to buy more baked beans or consider the benefits of a rotating toothbrush,’ he says, ‘but when it comes to convincing low-income parents that crippling and unnecessary consumption is the only way to make their own children love them, well, that’s where these guys step in.’
He continued ‘it used to be that we could just put whatever we were trying to flog next to baubles and walnuts and then film it, but in today’s economic climate, it’s just not enough. Mummy and daddy need to really feel how much of a disappointment they’ll be in the eyes of their nine-year-old daughter if, come Christmas morning, she doesn’t unwrap an Elmo with electronics in it and lots of tiny plastic sluts plus accessories.’
Kristian Baker, a fully qualified freelance emotional rapist from Shoreditch, says although Christmas is his busiest time of year, his services are always in high demand. ‘It’s not just Christmas, I’m busy all year round, advising my clients on the most effective way to really turn the emotional screws on their target market.’
‘I’ve worked with everyone; from advising Wonga.com on the use of cartoon imagery as a way of making sub-prime borrowing appear unthreatening, to helping Just For Men insinuate that the slightest visible onset of natural ageing will leave you divorced and unemployable. And it’s me who pioneered the use of sepia in debt-consolidation adverts. You’ll be seeing a lot of those in January’ he added.
He was also keen to dismiss any accusations that what he does for a living could be construed as deeply immoral. ‘I’m just a normal guy, and I know exactly what families go through at Christmas. In fact, I’ve got a wife and two kids myself… although they’re strictly for research purposes.’
24th November 2011