Commercial Analysis

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Snickering at McCarthy

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In other words: the only reason why people in the 1960’s were worried about Soviet interference in American life was because they were mentally unstable or weak, and therefore prone to paranoia. Their fear of the Soviets was just an expression of that. It had no basis in fact whatsoever.

This, of course, is the modern narrative. A narrative so uncontroversial that even a major consumer brand like Snickers feels safe in professing it, with no chance of angering or alienating the public. This commercial is targeted at a particular demographic – liberals who constantly need to feel intellectually superior to those whom they control (or wish to control) – but it also “helps” those who are more apathetic about politics (ie: the mainstream Americans who’s parents and grandparents this commercial is mocking). Such people are aware of just how much more communist America is today than it was in the past (helped, ironically, by Soviet interference), but feeling like there’s nothing they can do about it, they wish to pretend it’s not true. The spectacle of someone in the 1960’s being “paranoid” about communism does just that. It allows them to tell themselves “even people back then – when America wasn’t communist – were afraid of communism. If their fear of communism was unfounded, then such a thing as an unfounded (even if there’s evidence for it) fear of communism exists, so maybe that’s what my fear is too.” This provides a moment’s relief from the very real problems that come from living in an increasingly communist society, and in doing so associates Snickers with that pleasant feeling (ie: because it’s based upon a rationalization it will not last, and therefore the rationalization will have to be drawn upon again in order to reproduce the sensation – and because that rationalization came from a Snickers commercial, the company hopes that in addition to remembering it, the consumer will also remember Snickers, think about how they “could go for some chocolate”, need chocolate, whatever – and then make the decision to purchase the product that’s being advertised*).

*This same psychological trick works for the feelings produced (ie: pride) in the targeted demographic (politically-active liberals).


Written by commercialanalysis

February 11, 2014 at 2:09 am

Posted in Food and Drink

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