22 May 2009

Advertising : Matchmaker of Ancient and Modern

In advertising we find the marriage of the most advanced and most ancient technologies: desire for status or sex is married to the latest products to emerge from corporate labs and factories. We buy the newest stuff for the oldest of reasons.

The ad, properly done, creates a false association. Gorgeous, svelte women are somehow associated with beer. The rational mind knows that imbibing 200 calories per glass is probably not going to make one more desirable to a woman who so obviously values fitness. But something has already happened in the process of watching TV. Fictional shows put the snap into the trap of ads.

Science fiction and fantasy in particular - but really any fiction - depends on a suspension of disbelief. Once we've sat before the TV we've already laid aside our capacity for critical thinking. We are ready to believe. So, when the ad comes on, although no one explicitly says that beer will make gorgeous women want you, the implication is enough. We buy the pitch and then buy the product. (And of course, those of us who are superior know that it is not beer that works like this. We know it is actually the whitening toothpaste or luxury car that will make her want us.)

The Internet, as much as biotechnology, represents a current apotheosis of technology. So many amazing advances come together to enable us to watch a dog on a skateboard. And it is a running joke with real substance that the Internet is funded by porn. My work email address spam does not work when I log on remotely and it amazes me how many writers of emails are offering to make my penis longer (an offer that seems odd coming from a total stranger). Advanced technology is funded by stimulating ancient impulses.

Modern technology is really just a sophisticated repression of base impulses. People who cut advertising costs during a recession naively believe that the ads get financed by the companies who produce new technology and products. In actuality, the companies able to sell this new technology are financed by the magic of ads: ads that give repressed desires a acceptable outlet.

Of course, one of the problem with reading blogs is one never knows whether the author is merely speculating out loud or really means what he or she has written. Of course, until the comments come in, even the blogger is uncertain.


Anonymous said...

You do not drink beer to make yourself look more attractive to "gorgeous, svelte women."

You drink beer to make the women you can get look svelte and gorgeous.

Big Al said...


Your post reminds me of a scene from the Bobby Darin (played by Kevin Spacey) life story "Beyond the Sea" where late in life, Darin attempted to make a comeback after a lengthy hiatus from the spotlight by singing war protest songs. In the movie, Darin was shown as initially bombing: people wanted the old Bobby Darin glitz and glamor. Later at a barbecue Darin held, someone told Darin "People hear what they see", and Darin supposedly used this to put together a glitzy, glamorous Vegas show where he sang the war protest songs to a backdrop of total Vegas glamor, causing Darin's audience to applaud like crazy. Yep, people hear what they see.

And I don't know about you, Ron, but all the local bars around these parts are hip, upscale and tended by females that should be in modeling but love the whole bartending gig too much. Really. Trust me. Would I lie to you?

K-Kix said...

I love beer. period.