Th new BT 'Moments' ad: sweet or sour?
PUBLISHED: 09:17 13 January 2018
The new BT 'Moments' advertisement shows a mother being video-called on the bus by her husband who wants her to see their baby's first steps. Couldn't he have waited so they could have watched her together? Does EVERYTHING need to be immediate?
While there’s much to be said for honesty being the best policy, it’s white lies that are the real glue that hold society together.
Sometimes the truth just isn’t necessary, or rather the absence of full disclosure is the kindest option, and sometimes there are lies that actively work for the power of good – I am about to give you an example that I was reminded of after watching BT Mobile’s new TV advertisement.
I returned to work when my children were respectively four-months-old. It wasn’t a considered lifestyle choice, it was when the maternity pay ran out but the mortgage still needed to be paid – that said, I wanted to go back to work (albeit not QUITE that early: a 6am newsdesk start when you’ve been up twice in the night isn’t really ideal and possibly led to a few slightly crazed Evening News front pages in the late 1990s).
I was lucky – really lucky – my Mum looked after both my children while I worked, so they were surrounded by love 24/7 – I worked four days out of seven and spent the other three mothering the hell out of the kids in fear that my abandonment of them would cause them to grow up to be psychopaths (I’ve read the Daily Mail: I know what happens when women like me ‘have it all’).
Although I did my best to avoid the guilt that I know I was supposed to feel – because why should I feel guilty for supporting my family, doing the job the nation part-funded my university studies for and organising child care that was, arguably, often superior than my own? – my heart did ache for what I felt I might be missing. There were things my Mum did with my kids that left me green with envy – it turns out you really can’t have it all.
I didn’t take my daughter to her first playgroup session. I missed Christmas parties and library storytelling sessions. On the plus side, I didn’t miss my daughter’s first steps – or at the very least, I thought I hadn’t.
My Mum lied to me: when I called her one evening full of tearful pride and told her that Ruby had just taken her first steps, she told me that she’d thought it was close, she’d looked like she was nearly there earlier that day but had obviously waited for me to take her one big step for babykind.
Years later, she slipped up and confessed: Ruby had walked a day or two earlier at her house. My Mum gave me that moment back, because she realised I needed it. I needed to tell her my daughter had taken her first steps, not the other way round.
“The latest BT Mobile TV ad shoes the touching moment no parent would want to miss,” says BT, “in the ad, a young nurse, Clare, is on her way to start a night shift when she receives a video call from her husband showing their baby Emma starting to walk.
“Clare is captivated by the video call and delights her fellow bus passengers by encouraging Emma as she takes her tentative first baby steps.”
I won’t even get into the politics of taking phone calls on a packed bus (just don’t) but genuinely, what was gained from Clare’s husband showing her something they both could have seen together in less than 24 hours? Couldn’t he have waited? I doubt the baby would have grassed him up: “Actually, Mummy, this is yesterday’s news. I told him to Skype you a live update…”
This desperate need to document everything, immediately, dilutes real emotion. You get the feeling Clare’s husband wouldn’t think twice about FaceTiming her from a hospice – “I’m so glad I caught you! He’s just about to die!” As with so many things, just because you can doesn’t mean you should: technology is often fabulous and keeps us closer than ever to the people we love, but there are times when you really need to be there: and if you can’t be, well - a little white lie wouldn’t hurt.