I frequently wonder at the choices that marketing and advertising people make. I wonder if they come up with those choices on their own, or if they grudgingly implement the desires of their clients despite their own misgivings. Are they ignorant of the connotations, or do they go into things eyes wide open, fully understanding (or just not caring).
The latest Dell Inspiron 15R commercial shows school children stuffing their backpacks and then repeatedly falling over from the weight, over which you can hear “Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile.” *
And I wonder if the advertising people who came up with that know the history of the song as a WWI marching song, or have ever really listened to the lyrics…even just the rest of the lyrics in the chorus:
Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag,
And smile, smile, smile,
While you’ve a lucifer to light your fag,
Smile, boys, that’s the style.
That’s right. Smoke ’em while you got ’em, kids.
You never know when a stray enemy ball might take you out at recess.
School is hell, y’all.
* The commercial version of the song was supposedly sung by James Mann, based on an arrangement of the song by the Minnutes. If anyone cares.
In the “What were they thinking?” department, have you seen the new commercial for the Dixie PerfecTouch Grab’N GO insulated paper cup? When I see a perky husband and wife dancing in their kitchen in the morning and singing that song, I don’t think Dixie Cups. Did no one on their marketing team see the Viagra commercials?
Or was that part of the great idea? “Hey, let’s associate Dixie coffee cups with male enhancement drugs. It’s a sure winner!” After all, nothing goes together like sex and coffee.
I was watching “Sexual Secrets” on Slice last night. The episode was “Rock-n-Roll in the Hay”, all about sexuality as it relates to musicians. The first part dealt primarily with the male domination of the rock and roll music genre.
I found it interesting but more than a little disturbing, especially after one of the people being interviewed (I can’t remember his name) actually said that boy bands would continue to be made until God stopped making little girls. The lead-up to that scene and comment had been a discussion of essentially how the boy band “industry” is built on the burgeoning hormones of young girls. At its heart, it’s the prostitution of boys to girls (usually by somewhat creepy older men) for the sake of fame and money.
If you have read some of my earlier posts in this blog, you’ll remember that I’ve posted a couple of times about the UK band McFly. I like their music. But I’ve grown more and more disturbed by their marketing of themselves, how they take advantage of the adoration of their (usually quite young) fans to get them to spend money on more and more things. Who needs one version of a single when you can put out three and get three times the money from your diehard fans. It’s a disturbing trend. It’s not a new one — advertising has targeted young people for decades (especially for junk food and toys) — but it seems to have taken on a very creepy, very coarse overtone in recent years. Perhaps it’s because children and their parents seem to have more disposable income now than they used to have, and the Internet puts merchandise within easy reach of far more of the people with that disposable income than it used to. But it seems as though fame and wealth are no longer enough — we must figure out how to get more fame and greater wealth from your admirers.
It feels a little too close to child abuse for my comfort.