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KITTEN VACUUM! [Oct. 14th, 2005|06:07 pm]
themonkeybear has a post with a picture of a car vacuum with a ridiculous amount of patriotic imagery on it. This is the latest in a series of pictures of things showing commercialization of nationalism.

I stopped and thought about the picture for a minute, and I concluded: yep, I'm still boggled.

My brain just doesn't react to this kind of advertising the way that they clearly expect people's brains to react. Obviously, the images are supposed to make me feel good about the idea of using the machine to vacuum my car, and therefore more likely to spend my money.

And instead, my brain thinks, "Dude. That's just dumb."

So I thought about, well, what if it had different pictures on it? What if the pictures were appealing to me in a way that eagles-plus-exploding-flags aren't? What if it had, say, a picture of a really good-looking shirtless guy?

Okay, first, I'm disturbed by the idea that someone might feel about flags the way that I feel about cute bears, but regardless, I think I'd ogle the vacuum, but feel awkward about doing it in public -- so that's no good.

All right, what about something else. Something without social baggage. How 'bout, oh, transformers?

And I think my thought process would be: "Hey, cool, Transformers! ...on a car vacuum? Dude. That's just dumb."

The only thing I can think of that would work would be imagery that was appealing, but also made such a big deal about being non-vacuum related that it was funny. Like, "ZOMG cute kittens you must vacuum your car because KITTENS ARE CUTE THEY MAKE IT MORE CLEANER! KITTEN VACUUM!!!"

That's a machine I'd be proud to put my 75 cents into.

...I'm a bad consumer, aren't I?

[User Picture]From: ng_nighthawk
2005-10-14 11:45 pm (UTC)
You tempt me, so I must post here what I was going to say on my blog--that ads are often just dumb. I don't mean that their purpose is dumb--I mean they miss their purpose. And, for some reason, it's the subtler problems that bug me more. Clearly, whoever made that vacuum was either aiming at fairly mindless consumers or just decided to express his patriotism at his business.

But take this example:
Grandfather slaps on aftershave in the bathroom with his grandson and says, "If it burns, that means it's working."
Then he takes out Crest alcohol-free mouthwash. He swishes it around, and has an odd look on his face. Cut to announcer explaining product.

They never return to the grandfather. Here's the message I'm left with from the actors: "If it burns, that means it's working. Crest doesn't burn. So. . . does it work? Announcer-guy says so, but the patriarchal figure who is explaining bathroom products to his grandson seems skeptical.

They needed that moment where the grandfather realizes that his mouth is clean without the burning. Without it, you're left with a wisdom figure who gives you the criteria, which the product fails to meet.

This is just one example of many, many ads. I think the best bet for advertizers is just to get your attention and place the product in context of when/how you would need/want it. But so many national ads have mangled messages--I am amazed these advertizing firms continue to get clients.
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[User Picture]From: portlandpiglet
2005-10-15 10:19 am (UTC)
Ahh, but you see...you are assuming that the grandfather is a respected figure of wisdom, where as all the kids today know that being old-fashioned is bad. That is a common theme in advertising: "not your father's oldsmobile", etc. This Crest add emphasizes that new is always better, so their new product should be great. The old ways of doing things cannot compare to the new, brighter tomorrow. And old people are dumb fuddy-duddies.

Obviously, Neal, you were raised better than much of a America.
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[User Picture]From: ng_nighthawk
2005-10-15 10:35 am (UTC)
Actually, I had thought of that. But then, to be effective they should either make the grandfather look like a doddering, senile fool OR they should have the kid discredit him with a patronizing look.

And. . . holy crap, someone already ranted about this elsewhere:

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