Hall of Shame: Axe Body Spray

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Capitalism only invented modern marketing in the 1910s, and only began to make it king of the management arts after World War II. In earlier days, the products it sold were mostly common-sense responses to rather obvious natural needs. As corporate capitalism has marched forward from the “marketing revolution” of the 1950s, however, natural needs have receded and laboratory concoctions increasingly rooted in marketing psy-ops have become the new norm.

Exhibit A: “Axe Body Spray,” a perfume sold by the Unilever Corporation and targeted at teen and young adult males. This crap is a naked attempt to fund the bottom line by commodifying young-male insecurities and fantasies about sex. It is as pointless and pathetic a product as ever existed, and one look at the ridiculously large and ridiculously packaged “product line” says all you need to know about the wasted ecological and monetary resources involved:

The Axe Fell Here

For a first-rate commentary on how this appalling junk gets sold and affects youth culture, look at today’s post from The Hater.

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Politics and Political Marketing

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Yesterday, the dreadful war criminal Nancy Pelosi visited Portland, Oregon, my hometown. While here, she repeated her Dreadfulcratic Party’s official campaign theme, which is that the blatantly immoral and illegal Iraq War, which she helps fund, is primarily the fault of Iraqis, and then secondarily … Read more

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Sexism in Corporate Marketing

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The same institutional logic that builds intentional racism into big business marketing also builds in intentional sexism. See “Racism in Corporate Marketing” posted below.

The only difference is in the roles portrayed. African-Americans almost always appear in advertising and sponsored shows as athletes, musicians, buffoons, and/or sidekicks. Women appear as mothers, wives, servants, and/or carbon-based blow-up-doll life forms.

The effects on the culture are the same: Subtle and light, yet widely dominant suppression of the chances for further progress in deflating sexist ideology.

I think there are more loopholes and exceptions to sexism than to racism within the marketing juggernaut. Nonetheless, I am convinced that further vanquishment of our legacy of racism and sexism (and also of other bio-fictitious fibs like nationalism) will not occur until we also begin to assail big business marketing and the overclass its serves.

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Racism in Corporate Marketing

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In the last years before his historically catastrophic assassination, Martin Luther King used to lament to his closest comrades that he was “afraid we’re integrating ourselves into a burning house.” How apt that fear turned out to be is still under-appreciated. Among the burning rooms that has yet to be discussed is this one: corporate marketing. … Read more

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“More Bullshit in More Places”

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In quainter days, there used to be debate over how to police corporate advertising. How should we protect ourselves from the more obvious lies while also preserving freedom of speech, to which even assholes are entitled?

This concern is, like so many other remnants of the concessions our overclass once had to make, no more. These days, the biggest corporations blatantly lie in their mega-million-dollar marketing campaigns, and nobody so much as sniffs.

Case-in-point: The “More Bars in More Places” campaign now being run by AT&T (…formerly Cingular, formerly AT&T Wireless, formerly AT&T). … Read more

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How to Watch a Cell-Phone Ad

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1) Don’t entertain the purported “humor” of the ad.

2) Notice the actual scenario being dramatized. Invariably, it is actually proof of why people DON’T really need cellular telephones:  These things don’t work very well, cost lots of money, exploit people’s exaggerated fear of crime (the cardinal symptom of “mean world syndrome”) and social disconnection (a very real problem made worse by cell phone solipsism), and degrade human relationships.

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