With lots of time in the car these days, I’ve become more sensitive to radio advertising styles. I’ve noticed that in addition to the traditional spokesman model – “I use this product and I’m attractive/smart/succesful/cool, so you should use it too” – there is also a reverse model, and it's all over the place.
It goes: “I don’t use this product and I’m completely un-cool; only an entirely senseless person would fail to use this product.”
• Scotia Bank’s “I-Trade” service features Bill, whose RRSP [retirement account] “died” because he failed to switch to I-Trade;
• A television product features a husband who forgets to record 30 Rock and is miserable ["Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!"], because he didn’t use the auto-recording product;
• Another financial services company features a man who childishly refuses to look at his retirement account statements [“Not gonna look, not gonna look, look, look, look”] and so misses important information;
• A restaurant advertises its “Kids’ Fun Pack” that comes with every kids’ meal, featuring an adult male who throws a tantrum because he really, really wants one [“I want one. I want one! I - want - one!!”];
• Ads for Certified Accountants feature CEOs who make their key business decisions by spinning a Wheel of Fortune or reading a fortune cookie.
Interesting, too, that all of them are males. Wonder what to make of that; is someone afraid of a lawsuit by women's groups?
In any case, I find the model truly annoying.
Although, on the other hand, we do the same thing in Torah. We play up the foolishness of our enemies:
Pharaoh - “Gd swore not to flood the world, therefore He can’t drown us!”;
Bilam - Dumber than his donkey; and
Haman - “Moshe died in Adar, so it must be a bad month for the Jews,” ignoring that Moshe was also born in this month,
are all played for mocking laughs.
This, by the way, is not to be confused with a third advertising method: The Foolish Announcer. As in the Budweiser “Real Men of Genius” ads, and the Subaru commercials with “Completely Biased Car Advice.” [“Rhymes with TOO-bah-roo.”] Those, I enjoy.
[Side note: Had two odd, mixed-feelings “homecomings” yesterday.
First, I went to the US Consulate to renew my passport. Felt like a member of a VIP club, as I was taken to the front of the line, then around another line, then up to an upper floor which looked much nicer than the area below. And as much as I long for aliyah, there was a definite warmth that came with seeing the Stars and Stripes out front.
Second, I went to a funeral for the relative of a friend. I had not been to a funeral in six or seven months, my longest stretch since 1997. Beneath the grief, and beneath feeling bad for the rabbi (two in one day for him; I had that two or three times over the years, and it’s rough), was a lurking feeling of ‘Home.’ Pretty grotesque, huh?
Oh, and an ‘O Canada’ item – Heard a commercial for Casinorama this morning, advertising that “The New Kids on the Block have been around the world, and now they’re coming home” to Toronto. I had no idea I was living in the home of the New Kids on the Block. That would have given me serious reason to think twice before moving here…]