Coke Tries to Flatter a Continent

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.

Money for Nothing

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…

The (Further) Demise of Content

sponsored_life 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.

Scratch a Hipster…

hipster …find an advertiser.

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.

Golf, Flattery, Ideology

If you are a student of corporate capitalism, I recommend occasionally summoning the will-power to watch some golf, tennis, or Triple Crown horse racing on television.  There, you will find important evidence of how our overclass perceives and flatters itself.

Consider this ad, which is currently running during golf tournaments:

amex booming ad

Here you see supply-side ideology as it operates at the personal level, complete with a white guy performing manual labor on a farm, no less!

Leslie Savan, where are you when we need you?

Amen, Manuel!

Manuel Garcia, Jr. has published an excellent essay on the logic of corporate capitalist political marketing. Read it here.

Garcia’s overall thesis is this:

The social programming language of capitalist authoritarianism seeks to activate personal greed, intellectual insecurity and visceral racism as motivators of guided popular political reaction. The Pavlovian logic to this scheme of social manipulation is that all human beings are possessive, gullible and fearful.