Archive for the 'Flattery' Category
Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
Mussolini certainly would have been proud of Signore Marchionne’s “God Made a Farmer” Super Bowl ad. It is a classic piece of fascist propaganda, aimed at the usual target — insecure lower-middle class white men. Nationalist, racist, profoundly irrationalist and macho-sentimental.
The core of the irrationality is the ad’s (and the underlying essay’s) intentional, reactionary obliteration of the huge institutional differences between the facts of the present and an idealized past. The ad (and essay) clearly paints today’s “farmer” as the same figure as yesterday’s — i.e., as a worker, rather than a mere business manager. That is, of course, a huge laugh. As observed by Alexis Madrigal, in an excellent story we linked yesterday:
It’s true that whites are the managers of 96 percent of the nation’s farms, according to the USDA’s 2007 Census of Agriculture. But the agricultural workforce is overwhelmingly Mexican with some workers from Central America thrown in. The Department of Labor’s National Agriculture Worker Survey has found that over the last decade, around 70 percent of farmworkers in America were born in Mexico, most in a few states along the Pacific coast. This should not be news. Everyone knows this is how farms are run.
This, of course, is indeed well known, though apparently not strongly enough to keep Chrysler’s target audience — white, lower-middle class, urban, suburban, and exurban “country” dudes — from seeing through the ideological game being run on them.
Meanwhile, the real point here, in the TCT view, is the basic math of the thing. To wit:
According to the latest surveys:
The average individual farmworker income ranged from $12,500 to $14,999 and the average total family income ranged from $17,500 to $19,999.
Farmworkers worked an average of 42 hours per week.
Only 39 percent of farmworkers reported being covered by unemployment insurance, 54 percent said they were not and 8 percent did not know.
A mere 8 percent of farmworkers reported being covered by employer-provided health insurance, a rate that dropped to 5 percent for farmworkers who are employed seasonally and not year-round.
The asking price for the most stripped down (and best-selling) Ram pickup truck? $22,640, or more than one-and-one-half times the total annual income for the typical person who actually does the tasks described in the Chrysler ad.
To borrow a line from another fascist personality: When I hear the word “farmer,” I reach for my revolver.
And, these days, behind every non-humble farmer fantasy stands our market-totalitarian overclass and its army of commercial indoctrinators.
Sunday, April 15th, 2012
Coke isn’t alone, of course. One wonders which will give you diabetes faster — regularly eating the food at McDonald’s, or “following” its Twitter feed.
Marketing news site contently glowingly reports the following:
Aside from when Mickey D’s is promoting its newest products or the comeback of a favorite menu item (McRibs or Shamrock Shakes, anyone?), the Twitter resembles that of any other user. The company posts updates such as, “’If we didn’t have birthdays, you wouldn’t be you. If you’d never been born, well then what would you do?’ Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!” and “Happy Thursday everyone! Hope your day is off to a great start!”
It even re-tweets updates unrelated to the company like “Those small words someone can say that makes your day ten times better. #LittleThings” and “I try to be the 1 person to stand up and do something for someone when everyone else sits and watches. #littlethings.”
It’s fitting that McDonald’s Twitter updates are positive and uplifting, considering that its trademark colors are bright, it serves Happy Meals, and its slogan is “I’m lovin’ it.” The company is all about happiness, and this effectively translates over to its presence on Twitter.
Along with never posting negative content, the McDonald’s Twitter feed is clearly run by everyday people. Its ten Twitter representatives sign their tweets with their initials, posting statuses like “It’s Friday! How is everyone this morning? ^MO” and “Good morning and happy Tuesday! Very grateful for the McCafé Mocha that’s about to help me get my day started! ^MO.”
The advertising is in there, but it’s not so direct — people update their Facebooks or Twitter accounts all the time mentioning restaurants or products. Rick Wion, McDonald’s social media director, told PR Daily, “People want to connect with actual people on Twitter.” Instead of sounding like an automated machine, the company’s account is personal and heartfelt.
Over 300,000 people “follow” this line of brand-building condescension and lies, by the way. “The company is all about happiness!” I’m sure that news will go over really well at the next shareholders meeting.
What a culture we get.
Thursday, April 12th, 2012
Our friend Nercules passes along this breathtaking piece of marketing tripe:
It is, of course, an attempt at flattery. That’s a classic marketing ploy. It also reveals that the Coca-Cola Company sees the entire population of Africa as mental children.
Meanwhile, one ponders which is more offensive: selling sugar-water to poor people, or a corporation based on selling sugar-water to poor people having a net income greater than the gross domestic product of 28 African nations.
Tuesday, December 13th, 2011
Adweek is profiling what it calls “new model agencies.” Dig the poozers below, featured there today.
The latest hipster band? Aspiring novelists? Nope, the “cool” and “creative” mini-capitalists behind such stunningly important work as the Dr Pepper Social Program. Click the picture to see their amazing genius on display.
You have to hand it to these two yankers. Clearly, they’ve sensed that corporate marketers themselves love to be flattered as they “award” out their button-pushing assignments. Hence, the pomo-nerd “Code & Theory” moniker and the pseudo-intellectual/bored-ecstasy-dealer presentments.
All in the name of tricking the kids into becoming “fans” of a brand of soda-pop on the world’s biggest marketing data-harvesting engine, of course.
Such are the priorities and things that are cool in early 21st century America…
Thursday, September 8th, 2011
Leslie Savan, TCT‘s favorite advertising critic, once wrote that, if you want to understand advertisements, one of the major principles to bear in mind is “follow the flattery.” Ego strokes are often used to build brand affection and loyalty.
Of course, as we TCTers know, marketing is a core part of the overall corporate capitalist order, and, as such, faces constant pressure to refine and extend itself.
Hence, is it any surprise that the premium on flattery is devouring more and more of the “content” (aka programming, aka “shows”) in commercial media? Content, after all, is merely secondary advertising, something that exists to attract eyeballs and eardrums to advertising/marketing (aka unintentional shopping).
Exhibit A: The new television program “Up All Night,” the plot of which is: two new, first-time parents attempt to care for their baby, with supposedly inherently hilarious results. Is it funny, or just an attempt at flattery? Judge for yourself:
Exhibit B: The new motion picture, “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” the plot of which is: a woman holds down an upper class “job,” while also trying to be a wife and mother. This one is also a load of undisguised, straight-up button-pushing. It is, in Tasha Robinson‘s apt phrase, lifestyle porn:
Such is American culture these (late) days. Hilarious, isn’t it?
Meanwhile, for those of you wondering how Hollywood movies serve as marketing vehicles, two words: product placement. “I Don’t Know How She Does It” features not one, but two Product Placement Coordinators (look under “Other Crew”). During its filming, one product placement expert described it thus:
Sarah Jessica Parker leaves her character of bad girl from New York upper class to become a London City broker. In this case she is even a mother and has to conciliate these two roles. The comedy is based on the best-seller by Allison Pearson, who will be out in February with her second novel “I think I love you”….The shootings will begin in London in January. A product placement fit for high fashion Companies, accessories, and baby products. A rare occasion for products for kids; the premises fo this movie seems to be in fact really good.
Tuesday, June 21st, 2011
Per Ad Week:
Gavin McInnes doesn’t care about your product. This would be all well and good if the co-founder of Vice magazine—that bible of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y., hipsterdom—hadn’t gone and rebranded himself as an adman. But with Rooster, the four-person shop where he is creative director, McInnes has morphed into just that. Housed in a one-room office in SoHo, New York, within spitting distance of major agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi and Euro RSCG, Rooster produces gonzo comedy clips (think Jackass meets Banksy) that happen to be branded.
McInnes’ selling strategy? Advertising that strikes a pose of not being advertising. The reality? McInnes is just another whore tricking people into paying attention to things they don’t want to spend their time on:
[I]t’s a new way to advertise. People are dubious. People are sick of ads. When we did the Vans shoot, we didn’t brand it. And someone in the comments goes, “This better not be a fuckin’ ad for Vans.” People hate ads.
So, McInnes is even more of a liar than your standard marketing operative. Quite an achievement, and very hip, no?
What a culture. Ironic lying for overpriced tennis shoes.