Commercial Analysis

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Compulsion, Deemphasized

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When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion–when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing–when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors–when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed. -Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Corruption, of course, is essentially no different than brute physical force. Is causes people to act in a manner that they may not have otherwise acted, and that the perpetrator had no right to cause them to act. This commercial is expected to resonate with people because it touches on the actual nature of American society. The nature that is there, everywhere, just below the surface. A surface that is nothing more than the pretense of a society still built not on corruption, or intimidation, but persuasion. To see it manifested in such an over-the-top, explicit, and therefore unbelievable manner gives people a momentary reprieve from the dread that constantly plagues them. It allows them to feel as though their concern is misplaced because “if society were really governed by anything other than persuasion, then that is what we would see happening. We don’t see that happening, so I must just be paranoid.”

Bud Light knows that that feeling of dread will return (because it’s a reaction to the objective facts of reality, even if they aren’t acknowledged), and that when it does, people will look for a way to continue to rationalize it. They’re hoping that people will remember the rationalization that this commercial provided them with, remember (incidentally) that it was a beer commercial, remember that they like to drink beer, need to put beer on the grocery list, whatever, and then choose Bud Light when they do.

While not technically force, this commercial is itself an example of the corruption that plagues American culture. Instead of appealing to the public’s rationality, and trying to make a case for why Bud Light serves their best interest, it takes advantage of an important emotion in order to associate the good emotion that would come from examining it (ie: thinking of ways to rid society of the corruption that causes it) with the momentarily pleasant sensation of rationalizing and evading it; and therefore with the brand of beer that helped them do it. When advertising becomes not education (even if augmented by entertainment), but simply psychological manipulation, it is another indication that the society which does it is doomed.

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Written by commercialanalysis

December 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Posted in Food and Drink

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