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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: themonkeybear
2005-10-15 06:08 am (UTC)
Kittens?!?! LOL - right on.

Glad I got you thinking though.. that's exactly what those posts are intended to do... (Sans lengthy blow-hard beating my own chest)... well.. aside from the first post of the series where I tried to express myself and did so miserably.

I'm intrigued by your take on the subject though.

You know what parallels it, (the way you put it here)? - Kid's stuff.. Like lunch pales, binders, bikes, etc.

Look at stuff for Kids... they're "branded" with all sortsa stuff that had NOTHING do do with the object being decorated.

So WHY is there a Skeletor™ on your lunchbox Billy? Skeletor is a skeleton and obviously doesn't eat...

Cause he's cool!

Why is there an american flag and fireworks on your vacuum cleaner Billy?

Cause America's cool!

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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2005-10-17 04:17 pm (UTC)
madbodger's comment, below, clarified some of this thought for me.

Sometimes products are decorated. (And some products are more decoratable than others.) And the decorations really have nothing to do with the product itself, but there's no reason the decoration can't be something that's popular and appealing and cool. Why not put care bears on your kid's sleeping bag? It's just as warm as a plain blue sleeping bag, and kinda cute.

But then there's this line you cross, where the decoration itself starts to become the product, and the actual thing being sold is only a vehicle for the brand. Where instead of selling vacuuming, you're selling patriotism -- dispensed in convenient vacuum form. Instead of selling soda (with neat pictures on the cup!), you're selling a TV show -- in drinkable form.

That's when it gets weird and unhealthy. I think that might be the thing that makes my brain go "That's Just Dumb".

Unless it's kittens, of course. Because ZOMG, KITTENS!
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