Commercial Analysis

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The Truth in the Pudding

with 2 comments

Actually, the chocolatey taste of JELLO pudding doesn’t make up for all of those things – and everyone knows that it doesn’t. Why, then, would JELLO claim that it does? To entertain their customers, of course. But that begs the question: why are such claims entertaining? Two reasons.

The first reason is that this commercial commiserates with adults about the process of ageing. Many, if not most adults regard the fact that humans cannot stay youthful forever as some kind of cosmic injustice, so they spend a portion of their lives (often a great portion) resentful and depressed about it. This commercial is intended to comfort such people by making them feel less alone (and therefore somehow justified in that belief).

The second reason – which springs from the first – is that the commercial momentarily alleviates the secret feelings of shame, guilt, and regret these same people frequently feel. Because their belief that ageing is a cosmic injustice is patently wrong, they can’t help but let the evidence (involuntarily gathered from going about daily life) form a rudimentary version of an opposing conclusion. That rudimentary conclusion then produces (deserved) feelings of guilt, shame, and regret as a means of making it’s presence felt (since consciously is isn’t allowed). In spite of their conscious belief that there is nothing they can do, people are nagged by the feeling that the things they chalk up to “ageing” don’t have to occur (at least not to the degree that they do), and so they feel bad about allowing them to happen. This commercial takes those feelings away for a moment by making them feel good about their conscious belief instead. It allows them to think to themselves that they are dealing with the bad things ageing brings by using things like JELLO pudding to make up for them (to the small extent that they “know” they only can be). JELLO knows that it’s pudding will not make up for all of the bad things that “come with ageing”, and it knows that it’s customers know it too, but that’s not the point. The point is to make the customers feel justified in their conscious belief so that, for a moment at least, the customer will feel “like a kid again” (ie: free of shame, guilt, and regret)

JELLO knows that the good sensation it’s product produces is nowhere near as satisfying as what it would be like to feel “like a kid again” consistently and authentically, and fearing that adults might realize, and embrace, the fact that they can (and, not coincidentally, start doing things that would probably preclude eating JELLO pudding regularly), JELLO would rather make adults feel as though they are authentically feeling that way when they do nothing but consume it’s pudding.

This is the new “quid pro quo” of contemporary America’s hamstrung “capitalism.” Education and rationality are no longer the engines of commerce that cause things to happen. Manipulation and irrationality are.


Written by commercialanalysis

August 22, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Food and Drink

2 Responses

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  1. I think analyzing the commercial the way you did was fair but the way I see it the commercial was trying to be more comedic, heartwarming and fun in their marketing. First of all its not saying that their jello will make everything better but implied that it made the father feel better which lead to a comedic scenery of the kid imagining a descriptive vision of his dad’s woes. For me I enjoyed it because I think the purpose of it was to be funny rather than trying to manipulate the public to buy jello because it makes up for all the bad things. Because humor is known to attract people and have it stick into their memory for a long time than a message to treat worldly problems. So other words funny commercials are always affective.

    Aaron Mayhew

    September 22, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    • Thanks for the comment. Of course the commercial was meant to be funny, but that isn’t the point. The point is what the commercial asks people to find funny. There really are many, many people out there who are resigned to a miserable adulthood, and that’s not funny at all.


      September 24, 2013 at 5:35 pm

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