November 17, 2010

Advertising's Hidden Second Message


the question isn't why he is shown wearing a man purse, the question is why it takes two people to buy auto insurance

Look at the two Windows Mobile ads below.  What do you see?  Wrong.

Hit play, hidden messages will unfold:

This one has a hot girl in it...

There are others in the same format: clueless fool is missing on life because he's busy with his phone.

(Not sure I get it.  Why would a Windows phone make me use my phone less?  Oh, now I get it.)

II.  Who can we laugh at now? 

On the Ron & Fez radio show-- probably the best radio show on the air today, and if you bring up This American Life I swear to Christ I'm coming over to set your cats on fire.  "This week on This American Life, some banal idiocy, set to jazz breaks"--kill me-- on last week's Ron & Fez show someone brought up the above father/son baseball tragicomedy as an example of how white men, especially fathers, have become the accepted brunt of popular humor.

You can take that back a few years to the popular sitcoms, doofus white guy married to some hottie six grades smarter than him, not particularly manly or strong or motivated, the message apparently being that what women want are men too apathetic to cheat.

So it's the same old three chords sung to different lyrics, hey, this song is so unique because I haven't been alive long enough to have heard the same thing 8
trillion other times, let me get a T-shirt as well.  But there's another
song in the background and you have to turn up the bass to hear it.

III.  So why are the white guys the easy target? 

It's not arbitrary, "hey, we did the pollacks and the indians, who's next?"  And no, neither is it the completely imaginary hope that the media is so politically correct/racially neuralgic that they wouldn't dare EVER to make fun of blacks. e.g. when the corporate dummy drops the phone in the urinal:

and then goes right back to using it, the corporate dummy has to be a white guy and the corporate black guy gets to roll his eyes at him.

windowsmobile-ad-urinal.JPG "Really?"

(yeah, but the white guy fished his hog out one handed.  ZING!)

And when this thigh-hi wearing succubus

tries to turn him on, his penis should have instantly become a Staff of Osmium and Aggravated Assault, but he just searches for Activia deals.  Not-noticing-husband has to be cast as a late middle aged white guy.


And when the son plays outside with his Dad and his Dad is more interested in ESPN than in playing with his son, such that the kid throws the ball at his Dad's head on purpose--

--and even gets away with it, that Dad will be white and that sport will be baseball.  Or soccer:

" I can actually watch my son's game, and not be that guy."

If you agree with all that-- father, husband, provider, dummies all, because they're safe targets that can be shown to be dummies-- then I can tell you something: you're white and a dummy. 

Yes: all of that is just rationalization.  TV programming may care about political correctness but advertising does not, at all, unless it can move product.  Advertisers will airbrush a hidden vagina into an Absolut ad just on the chance it gets you to rethink sobriety/marriage, so believe me they have no problem putting black men in black face if it gets you to buy another Happy Meal.   Advertisers aren't pro-black, I'm not sure there even are any blacks in advertising and that part's not a joke, they're not civil rights advocates, they're snipers from Psy Ops.


absolut ad vagina.jpg
tom ford penis.jpgcan you detect the subliminal message?

Advertisers make white guys into dummies because (they hope) it helps sell their product; but they're only going to link their product to a message that already exists.  Unfortunately, by piggybacking their product on that concept, they are making the consumer believe that the concept is already accepted common knowledge.  Advertisers didn't choose to live like this  but that's how the mutually reinforcing symbiosis works.  Like I said, advertising isn't our window on society, it is society's window on individuals, and these white guy-as-dummy advertisements are telling you that the reason white guys are picked on is because we hate them, and we hate them because they have let us all down.

Whatever your racial preference, agree that the world to this point was owned and operated by Whitey & Sons, Inc, and boy oh boy, did Sons butcher it.  From the "economic crisis" to "unnecessary wars" to widening income gaps, global warming to outstandingly bad television, the world/America was promised there'd peace, prosperity and tube cars in 2010 and now it's worse than it was under Carter.  The military said they could protect us, Goldman Sachs  said stocks would go up in the long run, Congress said they got this.  Nope, nope, nopedy dope.

The heirs of the world's everything have dropped the ball and squandered their lead.  I don't know when we'll ever have a black President again, but I can/could have/did tell/told/tell you that the one time in post-soviet history where it was a foregone conclusion was 2008.  Even overt racists voted for him, how much worse could things get?  It's the same reason why downward spiraling Catholicism got itself a German Pope; why poster child for Euro bankruptcy Iceland went with a gay prime minister in 2009-- its most popular PM ever.  It's not progressivism, it's a hail mary longshot after 3.5 quarters of fumbles and incompletes.    None of these events are examples of history in the making, they're history repeating itself.  All of this has happened before and it will happen again.

IV.  That's not me.

But those men in the ads are just "regular guys," which tells you that the disappointment extends to anyone who had privilege and power: fathers, husbands, suits.  It doesn't matter if you think you earned every dime or it was handed to you, what others-- including yourselves-- see is that those who have are doing a terrible job with the present and an even worse job with the future.

What kind of a husband doesn't see that his horned up wife is trying to connect with him?  A self absorbed man.  What kind of a Dad doesn't even notice he has a skull fracture?  A self-absorbed man.  So how do you expect them to find cheap renewable energy?  That's what society is angry about.

Notice that these men aren't absent-- the guy got dressed in silk pajamas, the other guy is in a baseball uniform, "what else do you want from me?" -- but they're not engaged.  I can cite a million examples of this: hovering around your kids every second of the day; the decade plus explosion of husbands in the kitchen (I'm doing something for the family but don't really have to interact); "man caves" (at least I'm home and not at some bar) and hyper involvement in kids' schooling but not their schoolwork.  Fake news and fake sex over real news and real sex, bullying laws and bike helmets, and no kid outside alone, ever, too many texting drivers, serial killers and pedophiles (there but for the grace of God and unforgiving laws go I.)

Be careful, wildpeople, if you think you're not the hated white guys in these ads.  It isn't about being white or being a guy, but about the class of people who have inherited the earth and then withdrawn from it, leaving it to entropy.  Those people are the privileged middle aged-- the Dumbest Generation of Narcissists In The History Of The World, and society hates you.  That's why, in other Windows Mobile ads, these women are portrayed positively, as using the phone to connect:

windowsmobile-ad-women connecting.jpg
while these women are jerks because they're using the phone to disconnect:

windowsmobile-ad-not connecting.jpg
Neither do hispanics get a free pass-- not if they've assimilated into the middle class, taken  advantage of its malls, and then beat a hasty retreat:

Society is disgusted by all of you, even as you are disgusted by it.  But look up at the ads, the ones who have to suffer for it are the next generation.  The ones you suffocate with your physical presence.  "We always eat dinner together as a family."  Yeah, well, maybe you shouldn't.

windowsmobile-ad-seesaw.jpgthe balance of power in the United States for the next 25 years

V.  99% of society's problems are insoluble; the other 1% is being deliberately ignored 

The quick point is that your constant physical presence isn't doing anyone any good, and as for your kids it is slowly/rapidly melting their soul like Red Bull on gastric mucosa.  But the larger point is that everyone around you feels your apathy, it senses that you are zombies going through life, you would much rather be elsewhere.  Like on your phone.

If you would be honest with yourselves-- which you cannot be, this isn't an insult but a description of the pathology-- you would realize that you are blowing off your kid and your wife and your life not to rest or relax or take a minute to yourself but to withdraw from reality,  because in reality you are only a fraction of what you thought you were supposed to be by now, time to buy another phone and hope it connects to the Matrix.   And you withdraw at home because the boss won't let you do it at work but at home the kid has no power to stop you.  Neither does your wife, who anyway has to work.   Why does she have to work?  Oh yeah, you let her down.

That withdrawal from reality has not gone unnoticed-- not by your kids or your spouse or the voters or the networks, they know you like programming that lets You Decide, and the advertisers use that to sell a phone.  (The vodka sells itself.)

Truth hurts, me hearties, or so the saying goes but in your case not so much, the only truth that matters is what you believe in and that won't ever hurt you.   And you believe Bush and the liberals and divorced parents and gays and blacks and the Christian right and fossil fuels and Xbox are all to blame, meanwhile you yourselves create an ad where your kid hits you in the head with a baseball and you don't understand the message that the problem is you.  It is always you.  And unless you change that thing first, everything else will be futile.  As the great Marshall McLuhan once said, "know thyself, mofos, know thy mother fucking self."


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