THIS BRAND NEW OXFORD THINKING SKILLS ASSESMENT QUESTION HAS JUST DROPPED
Harder than it looks but I think it’s E, confirmed by process of elimination (at least using my logic).
It’s not A because although they will accept “shamelessly sentimental marketing” this doesn’t by default mean they will accept literally anything. “Anything” could extend to mean anything at all, and I’m pretty sure there’s a lot the British public wouldn’t accept from them.
B is a bit more confusing. “Morally reprehensible” is fairly extreme, suggesting that deserve some kind of public outcry at their awful behaviour, which obviously wasn’t the response they got. Also the fact that they “can get away” with it supports this thinking. Again, even if this advert in particular was considered “morally reprehensible”, that doesn’t necessarily extend to all marketing intended to manipulate people’s emotions in general.
Can’t be C because the writer is obviously arguing against this notion, deeming it to be “politically incorrect”. The passage also puts forward this opinion followed by the phrase “they say”, again emphasising that they don’t themselves share the view.
I don’t think it’s D either. Although it mentions the 100,000 YouTube views, it doesn’t directly link them to the success of the company. The final line does imply success as they have “magnificently outperformed every single rival” but isn’t suggested to be a direct consequence of the number of YouTube views the advert received. Use of the word “outperformed” without any explanation of the metric used to measure this success neither confirms nor denies the fact that it is due to YouTube views either, it could be views of the advert on other platforms, TV, for example. (This is probably the one I’m least confident ruling out though, I feel like you could argue either way.)
E states that “in the right hands” sentimental marketing works. Which is exactly what the passage seems to suggest, whether they see it as morally correct or not is irrelevant as to whether it is a “successful” tactic. I think the description of a “nationally adored and trusted retail group” fits well with the idea of being viewed as “in the right hands”. The advertiser is also separated from others in the line “If anyone else had dreamt it up, they would have been pilloried as sexist and out of-touch” - this supports the fact they in particular are considered trustworthy and “the right hands” so they can get away with it. Irrespective of the measurement of success, the writer suggests some form of success resulting from this marketing tactic in the fact that they “magnificently outperformed every single rival”. We don’t know if this is due to the YouTube views or some other format that the marketing has taken, but it appears to have been a successful marketing tool either way.
Honestly not certain but this gave me English Language GCSE flashbacks and I loved it. Glad I didn’t have to sit the TSA though.