Saturday, July 14, 2012
Advertising's "Culture of Meanness"
post about aggressive solicitation this week), but to sell a phone? Really?
There was a commercial for some breath freshener or another on television recently (bad luck, marketing wizards: I have no idea which product you were selling) where there was a guy home alone and he decided to make himself a huge sandwich of some kind, with plenty of onions and other ingredients that would make his breath really foul. He has just polished it off gleefully when he hears a key in the lock and runs to the bathroom to "freshen his breath". (Side note: if anyone out there has ever come across a product that will eliminate all traces of raw onions from your breath in a few seconds, I'd love to hear about it.) He returns to the kitchen just in time to greet his wife, her arms laden with groceries, who says, "Oh, sweetie! You must be starving! Sorry I'm late!" She then notices the dish in the sink and says, with a sly grin, "I'm pretty sure I washed all the dishes before I left...." So to sum up: 1) the guy, home alone, cannot be trusted to feed himself; 2) he clearly does not wash any of the dishes in this household; 3) he doesn't shop for groceries with his wife; 4) he eats food behind her back and tries to disguise it; and 5) she is clearly ok with all of this. Whatever happened to "You've Come a Long Way, Baby?" Things don't work this way in my home, do they in yours? If not, why are they still propagating this myth on television?
IKEA, who have run many clever and sometimes brilliant ads over the years, recognized this trend several years ago when they ran a brilliant campaign using the immensely talented director, Spike Jonze. Do you remember this ad?
"That is because you are crazy." You know, I think they nailed it back in 2005. Maybe we are all just crazy.