Phil Parker (tigertoy) wrote,
Phil Parker

Marketing is the root of all evil.

autographedcat pointed to a post by xiphias about an ad campaign.  I wanted to record my comment in my own journal where I might find it again.

I don't watch TV -- mostly because of the ads -- but I saw one of these when I went to the movie theater.

My reaction was that the real message was for men, and it was the usual -- "You aren't worth anything as yourself. Your only hope to get a mate is to hide yourself in the image of this unattainable sex symbol, and look, we're selling a product that will do it! Just give us your money and you can paper over your inadequacy!" Yes, they're superficially addressing women, telling them their men are unattractive but this product can transmogrify them. I suppose it's a better message to women to tell them they have the power to choose to transmogrify their men rather than to just use the women as props to demonstrate the transmogrifying effect. I suppose it's better, if some guy walking by kicks me in the nuts, if he doesn't also spit on the woman standing nearby.

To riff on this further, I'm not quite sure if I have a different perspective on advertising because I deliberately avoid as much of it as I can and that somewhat insulates me from creeping brain rot, or if I inherently see things differently and I would still feel the same way if I watched TV like normal people.  Any time I look at professionally produced advertising, I see emotional manipulation.  All sorts of cues designed to reach past the veneer of rationality, to subtly engage our human needs and fears, to whisper to the shivering monkey inside that safety, self-worth, and sexual fulfillment come from the wonderful, magical product on offer.

Choosing one brand of beer, or car dealership, or hamburger stand instead of the next one will not get you laid.  The young woman with thousands of dollars worth of cosmetic surgery strikes that seductive pose for the camera is not going to have sex with you even if you buy the product, and the promise that she will, that your inner monkey hears and understands perfectly, is a LIE, deliberate and with malice aforethought.  It hurts you when you waste your limited money on stuff you don't need.  It hurts you when it pushes you to choose things you know are bad for you.  And it hurts you when it makes your inner monkey start thinking that you can have a partner like that so you shouldn't be settling for the real human beings in your life that you might have a chance with.  Doesn't it make you angry that they're doing that to you?  Do you not see that it's happening?  Do you tell yourself that you're smart enough not to fall for it, so it's just harmless fun to tease the monkey?  Let me tell you a secret -- for almost all of us, almost all the time, the monkey is in charge; never mind that makes us feel good to believe that our rational selves run the show.  Even if you, yourself, really make choices based on facts and logic, do you believe that most of the other people around you do?

Discuss.  Really, I'd like to hear what real people I know see in the way ads are made and work.
Tags: philosophy, society
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