Commercial Analysis

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The Something Behind the “Nothing”

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The exclamation “We did nothing!”, at the end of the commercial, is obviously intended in a sarcastic way, but that’s merely a disguise. What Wendy’s is trying to do is to make it seem like they’re not actually suggesting that you should consume their sandwich for no good reason – by overtly making an over-the-top claim that you should – because they calculate that people will conclude that if that really was what they were suggesting, then they wouldn’t be so open about it. Their sinister motives are “hiding in plain sight”, so to speak.

But that only raises an obvious question: why do they think that such a tactic will work?

People know (if, by nothing else, than through “that little voice in the back of their heads”) …that something as decadent as The Bacon Portabella Melt actually is something that they should earn (ie: it should be the reward for doing something notable, not trivial). This commercial is expected to be funny – and therefore memorable – precisely because it allows people to tell themselves that even though they actually do rationalize indulging in such things in response to such (trivial) things (ie: “nothing”), at least they’re able to acknowledge it and laugh at themselves (and therefore, somehow, they’re better than the caricatures in the commercial).

What makes such a rationalization possible? Low self-esteem (and specifically, the desperate situation that people with low self-esteem find themselves in, which makes them open to virtually anything – no matter how obtuse or contrived – which will make them “esteem” themselves; even if only slightly).

What, philosophically, causes chronically low self-esteem?

Kantian philosophy. Today’s most widespread and dominant philosophy, teaches that while there might actually be an objective reality, man’s senses necessarily distort his perception of it, so for all intents and purposes there might as well not be one. The practical result of this is subjectivism and relativism in morality, politics, and aesthetics. People feel free to do anything, no matter how irrational, since the claim that it’s “wrong” only applies to the individual making the claim, not the one who’s the subject of it (even if his circumstances are identical).

Psychologically, the practical result of moral subjectivism and relativism is low self-esteem (since being merely “expressing oneself”, or being “accepted for who you are” by others – as a matter of philosophical principle, without judgment – can never replace the profound sense of self-respect which comes from actually accomplishing things and proving to oneself one’s fitness for existence).
This commercial exploits that philosophically-induced low self-esteem.

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Written by commercialanalysis

November 24, 2014 at 8:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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