Buy a pirate DVD and EVERYONE will hate you?

I’ve recently focused my attention onto a campaign called Knockoff or not, which pours scorn onto people who choose to copy films and DVD’s as well as people who generally cheap out of things (although their focus is mainly on DVD’s).

This first came to my attention through their TV campaign which had a funny little bard with a guitar coming into a pub and interrupting a date; claiming that the man was a cheap bastard who couldn’t pay for flowers (he found them on the street apparently, which is oh so common with all those bouquets of flowers just lying around on the road) and buys knock off DVD’s. The end result is the man’s social humiliation as the pub all joins in with the Bard’s chorus of calling him a knock-off Nigel, and he gets dumped. The advert then ends with the subtitle “knock-off Nigel buys knock-off DVDs,” and all seems to suggest you better think twice about trying to save money on overpriced films or everyone will hate you. So pirates beware right?

Wrong I think, all that this is going to do is probably just create ill-feeling towards who-ever fronted the campaign, which I must admit is rather a mystery unto itself. I can’t find anything about who’s launched the campaign or which company is trying to socially ostracize DVD pirates, and I reckon keeping their name off the whole damned mess was the single best idea about the whole thing.

I won’t try to plead innocence here, I have downloaded films in the past and had knock-off DVD’s (and why not as sitting in front of me is a rather ample DVD collection which is official and I paid for myself so I think I can allow myself a bit of a saving here and there on films I wouldn’t otherwise consider buying), but who doesn’t now. Obviously coming from the 20-25 age group I know more people who are savvy enough to know where to find downloads and streaming sites which provide this sort of thing and I’d be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t a ‘knock-off Nigel’ out of my friends and family. Does that then mean that the idea of social humiliation doesn’t really work as the ‘Nigels’ are in the majority?

I just detest the smarmyness of the whole thing which tries to create a profile of a cheapskate, and implying that people should splash their cash needlessly because it’s the cool thing to do. Let’s not forget we’re in the middle of a recession, so what’s wrong with trying to save money? Surely saving money is to be encouraged at the moment, but then if everyone in the pub says it’s not cool then I better do what they say hadn’t I? How could all these people be wrong? Besides just because you buy knockoff DVD’s why would you have to be an all round cheap skate too.

What amused me most about the whole silly campaign was how much hate they seem to be pouring on people like myself who have done this. Go onto the website for the campaign and you can find all sorts of fun and games. For instance you can pelt a knock off Nigel with tomatoes and other such items (how civilised for the 21st century? Why don’t we just have him tarred and feathered next or better yet burn him at the stake?), or you can take a quiz to find out if you are a Nigel yourself. I took the quiz expectantly and was quizzed on such things as whether “I had stolen from my mothers purse?” or “Farted and blamed it on someone else”. However you immediately lose if you admit to buying knock-off DVD’s and downloading films even if you put the right answers for everything else. When you lose it refers to you as “not well, ” so not only are you a sneaky little twat who steals money and doesn’t pay for anything if you knock off DVD’s but you are apparently also mentally ill? Well that’s good to know that me all my friends are criminally insane, I wanted some clarification on that.

All I can say in conclusion is I’m proud to be a knock off Nigel, in spite of this silly reputation the PR campaign is trying to create around the whole debate. After all there’s nothing like dumbing a whole debate down to an argument, which is tantamount of social propaganda. What next a campaign with tagline: “If you buy knock-off DVD’s you’re a paedo?”


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