This ad about 'Marmite Neglect' is great, but it's copped a lot of flak (over 400 complaints so far) because some people apparently think it's disrespectful.  

I find that quite sad. The subject obviously isn't animal neglect at all, it's just an analogy.

But analogies seem to have a bad rap at the moment.

The current mega-trend is 'reality advertising', and analogy-based ads get called addy or contrived.

In fact I think there may be a broader cultural rejection of analogies going on.

If so, the slide began with Swiss Toni. For anyone not familiar, Swiss Toni was a car salesman character in sketch series The Fast Show, who compared every experience in life - whether it was selling a car or preparing a cup of coffee - to "making love to a beautiful woman". Yes, the sketch was primarily skewering a certain type of sleazy middle-aged man. But I feel it also satirised the very concept of analogies.

I don't know if it's just my imagination - but I get the feeling that analogies are no longer considered an impressive form of argument. I'm sure it used to be possible to win an argument - or at least score a big point - with a witty or clever analogy. But I'm finding they don't work that well any more.

Some people think that if they can find an inconsequential aspect of your analogy that doesn't resemble the situation at hand, then they've won - forgetting that 95% of the analogy is still valid, and an argument that is 95% valid (in the 100% non-scientific world of advertising) is actually a pretty good one.

And there are even people who don't seem to accept that analogies create a valid argument at all. For example, I was once arguing that even though the product we were advertising was inherently appealing, we needed to do more than just show the product, we needed to make the ad itself appealing, and I used the analogy that even though dogs find bones inherently appealing, the dog-owner still waves the bone in the air to attract the dog's attention before handing it over. The response I got was "but our product isn't a bone, and the consumer isn't a dog." 

I'm considering dropping analogies from my life entirely. Like someone you got on well with at school, but don't want to be seen with at university.

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