I’m an ad man’s worst nightmare.
That’s because I know better. Whereas some peeps tend to suffer from a curious hyper-extension of their common sense when it comes to consumerist coitus, I tend to stick to the less common part of the equation. The part that knows it’s being sold a bill of goods. It utilizes deduction and forsakes seduction, to the by and large of buying large.
It ain’t easy, seeing as how the sell is everywhere we look. I can find myself provoked by something as innocuous as a shampoo bottle. And yeah . . I can be lured by that most unromantic of fruits, the fiber supplement. But for fuck sake . . do I really need glaciers to sell me on the fact that I need water to survive?
Morgan Freeman sells us on the God-like qualities of owning a Visa card. As much as I love listening to Freeman narrate basically anything at all, I find these ads disarming because, really . . a twenty thousand dollar credit line ain’t God-like enough?
As much as I steel myself against this never ending storm-sell, I’m certainly not immune to its insidious nature. And that’s okay, because I lose battles so that I might win the wars in this psychological warfare whose science has vanquished consumers much brighter and more well informed than yours truly.
So as far as ads go- print, online, television- I simply judge them, harshly. I understand the elemental design of ads, so I don’t resist them since resistance is futile. Ads play our psyches like Gatsby. It’s like when you think you’re ignoring all those billboards as you plummet along with a million and one other thoughts inside your brain . . until you find yourself knocking down a Whopper whilst wondering where the craving for artificially enhanced bovine came from. Therefore, judging ads harshly is a guerrilla tactic which allows me to recognize and filter the come hither of various products on my terms.
My method utilizes the rational implications of consumerism rather than giving in to the temptation whose subversive one night stand effect oftentimes results in buyer’s remorse. It’s all about taking ownership of my impulsive nature rather than ceding it to companies who simply want to use me and then kick me to the curb.
Take Subaru for instance. Their commercials piss me off to such an extent that it’s unlikely I’ll ever buy one of their cars. There are many endeavors to which I might feel one with the universe. Buying a Subaru ain’t one of ’em. And sorry GMC . . but you ain’t making me feel like a “Boss” with your big engine. I ain’t buying your penis-pill cowboy jive.
I haven’t popped the top off a Budweiser since high school, because all those great commercials leave me wondering why they didn’t put some of that dough into making a better tasting beer. And Corona has built an entire campaign on a fucking lime wedge tactic that has nothing to do with flavor (obviously) and everything to do with keeping flies out of bottles!
I think the sermonizing is what rankles me most of all. The idea that a product is going to make me a better person is insulting. If you’re going to pick my pocket, just pick my pocket. Don’t tuck a social contract in its place. And for this, I turn to a couple of big time preachy posers. Starbucks and Chick-fil-A.
The fast food chicken giant sermonizes in the public square, which is why I haven’t stepped foot inside an establishment in years. I would much rather they had a glut of McDonald’s-like commercials out there that made clogging your arteries look cool. It’s preferable to using their standing as an industry giant to marginalize an individual’s lifestyle. I’ll have a Big Mac from time to time, in spite of the purely fictional thirty second spots. But I won’t stand for a company’s boss to play Jesus just because he can, no matter how tasty a sammy they’re peddling.
On the flip side, we have Starbucks. I ain’t down with their message either. The idea that a barista is gonna teach me about race is akin to my mechanic teaching me about Aristotle. There is irony to what happened this week when a couple of black men were arrested without cause in a Philadelphia Starbucks. There’s a lesson to be gained too. I partake of their stuff from time to time because I dig their desert drinks. That’s it, that’s all. I won’t buy anything with their logo because I’m not a Starbucks volunteer. I endeavor in the micro with no dutiful obligation to the macro of it all, because I recognize that I am enjoying a sweet drink that won’t make a great good fuck of difference to anyone but me. I understand that I am not saving the world when I decide to add five pounds worth of sugar to my ass.
There’s no price tag involved when it comes to being one with the universe.