Watch "The Men Who Made Us Spend"

I'm a dream target as far as advertisers are concerned. I like new shiny things and have got pretty good at rationalising my impulses to purchase gadgets. I don't buy a new game console, I "invest" in it. I reckon that if you do the maths you would probably discover that my shiny Xbox One purchase actually makes about as much commercial sense as buying shares in a bank. So I reckon I can call it an investment.

Anyhoo, I watched "The Men Who Made Us Spend" last night with more than a smidgen of interest. It told the story of how advertisers have turned us all into eternal children who can be provoked into impulse buying simply by showing us stuff in films and on TV. The presenter told the story of how the makers of the Star Wars films were the ones that first discovered this magical effect but I'm not too sure about that. I remember Thunderbirds.  

I, along with thousands of other schoolkids of the 1960s, were glued to to the antics of International Rescue, with their squad of numbered machines that made them very easy to order in toy shops. Which just happened to be full of them at the time. They even managed to corner the girls market too, with  Lady Penelope. I also remember my dad showing a keen interest in the program, and often reading my TV21 magazine before I did. And we were bonding over Men from Uncle movies and James Bond cars as well. 

"The Men Who Made Us Spend" made some very good points, but I think if they had gone a bit further back in time they would have discovered that this kind of thing has been going on since the point in human existence when we had a bit of spare cash jingling in our pockets. The scale has changed and the toys have changed but this stuff is all powered by human nature. And that hasn't changed for thousands of years.

The whole series is well worth seeing. I watched the episode while building a Lego Mini. Go figure.