Commercial Analysis

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Plausible Deniability

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A gimmicky little pizza thing is nowhere near as inventive as a “bioduplicator.” No sane person would ever think so. Of course, that’s the humor of this commercial: that the people don’t think so. That they think the Flatizza is more impressive. This is a legitimate object of humor – insane people are metaphysically unimportant within a culture – but is it legitimate in this commercial?

Remember, this commercial is advertising a gimmicky little pizza thing. A product that is only barely an objectively valuable use of one’s money (because it is so essentially identical to one of many competing products), and at worst is actually a net loss for the consumer (in terms of nutritional [dis]value, the value of most people’s time in relation to the “convenience” of ready-made food, etc). This product would almost certainly not sell if it’s existence were merely announced and described (the primary purpose of advertising) – which is precisely why Subway chose to include an element of humor in this commercial. The humor doesn’t exist as a supplement to the conveyance of information, but as replacement for it (objectively valuable information at least).

Subway figures that most people – if they heard a dull, journalistic advertisement for the Flatizza – would be brought into (or left in) a state of mind that would make them more likely to analyze the product’s merits (or lack thereof) rationally. That would be bad for business (because again, the product is almost certainly not worth consuming in the vast majority of circumstances, and completely interchangeable with competing products in the rest) – so Subway has instead attempted to get people to lie to themselves. By presenting people who are unimpressed by a “bioduplicator”, but impressed by a Flatizza, the viewer is expected to think “I’m not crazy for desiring gimmicky foods… that is what a crazy desire for them looks like”, and then to conclude “I don’t behave like that, so therefore I couldn’t be crazy. My desire for a Flatizza, therefore, is a rational one.” It gives them exactly the (momentary) rationalization – the plausible deniability – they need in order to make an irrational choice, without having to acknowledge that that’s what they’re doing.

Philosophically, this only works because far too many people hold a primacy of consciousness metaphysics. It allows them to lie to themselves in such crude, barely believable ways (to the point where not even their emotions are fully invested in what their minds have decided, and therefore they feel “torn” between rational hesitation and irrational desire), because they either implicitly or explicitly accept the premise that that which they decide is untrue, is untrue. That there is not an objective reality.

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Written by commercialanalysis

April 5, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Posted in Food and Drink

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