For decades, advertisers have played with our deficits and fears. Got dandruff? Need a better antiperspirant to become romantically attractive? You should have a big truck or high-priced sleek car to show that you are powerful. You are too fat, too tired and dissatisfied. Finally, a product or service that understands how you feel and will empower you. You need something to give you authority to control your destiny or at the least, your circumstance.

Look at these examples:

Here’s a baby encouraging mommy to use cigarettes for anger management. Baby looks up to daddy because he chooses quality in his smokes. This brand is miraculous because you never feel like you had too many.

How about this one? You can experience the hearty culture of Ireland by drinking a Guinness. Who is the Irish friend? Is it the mate you’ll chum with in this photo or the pint that you will drink? Alcohol is the answer to loneliness.

Then there’s this medical miracle. Don’t use exercise or drugs to lower your cholesterol. Eat Cheerios for six weeks and experience a dramatic 4% reduction! What a healthy thing to do.

Advertisers have another trick up their sleeve. Many of the new ads promote the idea that you are a better person. You can lead the way. You are special. Furthermore, this message is from a company that applauds your exceptionality. We have turned empowerment into a pop psychology buzzword.

Pepsi thinks that you can be a better person. Even though you are abusing your body with high sugar content, you can be a noble Pepsi drinker.

50 Cent knows how to sell shoes. He’s been finger-printed and has an uncertain future, so a pair of Reebok’s shows that he will be unswerving in his life plan. Maybe the shoes will help to run from the cops!

Then there’s Nike. You need to urinate in public. Uh-huh…

Don’t forget that poor food choices are criminal acts. Thank you PETA for sharing this.


Charles H said…
Great thoughts, Kevin. We must strip away the artificially beautiful veneer from the world of commercial media - especially the pinnacle of advertising - and reveal the festering underbelly. In exchange for your money, we'll offer you ... an illusion. What's on the other side of door number 1 2 or 3 that you choose? Now that would be really telling the truth. The truth they don't want told.