Saturday, June 21, 2008

On the Deep Psychology of Certain Advertising

It's pretty bad when I almost never watch television, but every time I turn it on I encounter some commercial that either sends me on some deep, bizarre investigation or completely perplexes the hell out of me.

Yes, I'm aware that commercials have a long and storied history of being stupid, fairly obnoxious, and willing to stop at nothing to ensure that whatever product they're pushing is messily branded somewhere on the hide of your cerebral cortex. And yes, I'm aware of the fact that incessant, irritating commercials are just as likely to goad buyers towards particular merchandise as funny or touching ones.

What perplexes me is some of the examples of human behavior that are exhibited in commercials with the intent to appeal to some aspect of the viewers' very nature. I guess the ones I'm thinking of the most right now are the Time Warner Cable commercials with the smug dudes that say things like: "I'm all about buy one, get one free. I like what I like, and I want it when I want it, etc," as though most humans were some impregnable id that remorselessly grabs life itself by the fistful. I don't know, maybe I shouldn't give humanity as much credit as I'd like to, but are the collective masses really that infantile? I always believed that people left such extremes of ego-centrism behind with their pampers and binkies. Do the vast majority of individuals really have such a monstrous mentality of expectation? And are we really to believe that if people do choose to act in such alarmingly neurotic ways, that a major corporation truly "likes the way [they] think?" When has consumer narcissism to the detriment of corporate profit and feasible delivery of goods ever been a sound business model? Don't invite us to be the bratty Freudlings we all have the capacity to be unless you're ready to put your money where your mouth is.

Because I want free high-speed internet that beams directly onto my retinas and can be activated and deactivated by sheer force of will. And I want it now. Actually, I want Time Warner to pay me to use their services, because without me, they wouldn't be serving anything. I want the ability to create my own TV channels, and to be able to choose who must watch them. I want a Time Warner Cable company truck and 401K. I want to know if God exists. Tell me, Time Warner, or by potential-God I'll take my business to the friggin' dish network.

Actually, I could get used to this. I suppose those commercials really did cut right to the core of me. Hmm. I wonder how much their basic cable/internet bundle is? I love saving money.

No comments: