Knowingly directing tourists the wrong way guilt?
This is an advert for McCains Rustic Oven Chips. I like McCains Rustic Oven Chips. They’re probably my favourite rustic oven chips. I have no problem with the chips. I like the chips. I don’t like this advert though.
I don’t think I have ever knowingly directed tourists the wrong way. Why would I? How does it benefit me? I may, on occasion, have pretended not to know where somewhere was because the route is quite complicated and it would be impossible to explain and anyway, if ever anyone asks for directions, they stop listening once you get past “OK, well, you carry on up that way and then turn right”. There might also be times when I have misunderstood where it was they were wanting to go and given them accurate directions to somewhere else. I might even have realised this immediately after but felt too self-conscious to correct my mistake. Here, you could argue I have knowingly allowed tourists to go in the wrong direction, but I would argue that, on a moral level, that is not the same as knowingly giving them wrong directions in the first place. One is based on social embarrassment and self-consciousness, the other is just mean.
There can only be one reason why someone would knowingly give tourists the wrong directions, and that is because they think it is funny to do so. They think it’s funny to inconvenience total strangers. They don’t care that they won’t actually be able to see the moment where the tourists get completely lost, they are satisfied just to know that somewhere, someone is having a shitty time all because of them.
None of this has much to do with chips, you might think. McCains Rustic Oven Chips contain 3% fat. This is quite good apparently. I’m not sure how much fat other oven chips contain, but I’m fairly sure it’s more than 3%. Because these chips are relatively low in fat, it means you can eat them without feeling guilty. Guilt. This campaign is all about guilt.
McCains have set up a Facebook page where people can confess their guilty secret and win a trip to New York. The theory seems to be, that because there is no need to feel guilty for eating the chips, we should somehow celebrate the other things we feel guilty about. It’s almost as if they believe that humans need a certain minimum level of guilt in order to operate, and by removing the guilt from eating chips, we need to maintain that guilt level by rejoicing in every other shitty thing we’ve ever done.
“Rustic Farmer Ben” doesn’t even look like he feels guilty. Look at his face:
Look at that smug, self-satisfied smirk on his face. That’s not the face of a man racked with guilt. That’s the face of a smug bastard. Fuck you, Rustic Farmer Ben.