So Easy We Did It…
The first commercial is representative of Minwax’ long-standing advertising style. They have, for at least a few years now, produced a number of commercials that are virtually identical to that one. If people think of Minwax commercials, it is commercials like it which they think of. The company knows this, so the second and third commercials are the brand’s most recent productions. These commercials are a (self) mockery of the earlier commercials. These commercials “explain” the pride which is shown in the earlier commercials by “revealing” that it is really a symptom of neurosis. By showing the people to be irrationally proud of their projects (which is what accosting complete strangers, and others who are clearly preoccupied, undoubtedly shows), Minwax is insinuating that there is no such thing as a rational pride in one’s work. By making fun of themselves – by now claiming that pride is something to be ashamed of – they are apologizing for claiming the opposite in their earlier commercials. They are letting everyone know that they’ve “seen the light”, so to speak.
Most of the today’s public is, at best, afraid of showing themselves to be innocent or genuine or proud in even the slightest degree (for fear of being labeled naive or pretentious or arrogant) – and at worst they are the cynical and nihilistic creatures who would make such accusations (creatures who hate the good for being the good). Because of this, Minwax cannot get it’s message to register with a wide enough audience by simply complimenting the innocent, genuine, and proud in people. Instead it must pander to the fearful and/or cynical within them, count on the fact that those emotions will be more frequently excited in today’s culture, hope that the experience of having those emotions touched (by viewing the recent commercials) will be intense enough to associate Minwax with experiencing them (the next time it happens), and in doing so remind the consumer about the product’s existence (should he also just so happen to be in the market for wood coatings).
Why would a brand of something as innocuous as wood coatings resort to such tactics? Why would they court disaster by pandering to the worst within people when, in the long run, it is the best within them that will be necessary to continue to desire to do something as straight-forward and innocent as home improvement projects? It is because in today’s semi-free, semi-controlled mixed economy there isn’t necessarily such a thing as “the long run.” When everyone’s economic interests are as much at the mercy of the whims of a relative few central planners – instead of the timeless, immutable laws of economics – all any company can do is decide to do whatever it can – no matter how dishonorable – to get as much as it can, as quick as it can. Such is the nature of today’s “capitalism.”