Commercial Analysis

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Archive for January 2015

A Bald-Faced Lie

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Would anyone actually do this in order to get a job? Almost certainly not. Why not? Because it wouldn’t work. Why wouldn’t it work? Because it would be impossible to consistently hide the fact that one is not naturally bald (making one’s situation even worse than merely not being bald – since one will also have exposed himself as untrustworthy).

Okay, so then why is this commercial being aired? Because it’s expected to be humorous. Why? Because in addition to announcing the existence of a product, it allows people people who wouldn’t try anything like this – not even something which is essentially the same but only more subtle – and therefore has a much higher chance of actually working – to indirectly take pleasure in their virtue? One hopes so, but given the dominant philosophy in American culture, a more depressing explanation is probably the correct one. People are expected to find this commercial entertaining because it allows them to rationalize away their own dishonest behavior. “I’m not doing anything like thatthat is what dishonesty really looks like – so therefore I couldn’t be dishonest. What I’m doing is something different.” That is the unstated conclusion people are expected to subconsciously register. The conclusion provides them with a moment’s reprieve from the guilt that they’re constantly plagued with, the reprieve feels good, and therefore they will (it is hoped) associate Schick with that feeling whenever they need to call upon it in the future (which they will, since the only thing that will make chronic guilt go away is taking action to make oneself truly innocent).

The lesson that should be drawn by such people, when they watch this commercial, is that their chronic guilt is proof that the moral and the practical are not actually opposites (ie: what value is there in dishonestly acquiring status or possessions or esteem if one is unable to enjoy them because he is plagued by constant guilt?), and then take action to be completely unlike this caricature, but for the reason that was just explained, they won’t draw that lesson.

Perverting whatever degree of conscientiousness that still exists in people, and redirecting it towards something a trivial as razor blades (instead of moral righteousness): what an ironic instance of acting immorally for the sake of “practical” gain. Precisely the sort of thing that this commercial pretends to lampoon – and given that this commercial is expected to be relatively innocuous, proof that dishonestly (sorry: “practicality”) is ubiquitous in contemporary American culture.

Written by commercialanalysis

January 19, 2015 at 7:33 pm

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Self-Defeating Opportunism

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The terms of the agreement state that if you don’t use all of the data you’re allotted for a given month, you lose the ability to use it in subsequent months. It’s called informed consent. There is no coercion (specifically, theft) in this situation. It’s not “your data.” If you don’t like this term, renegotiate, do business with another provider, or go without. You don’t have a right to a service except under the terms a provider is willing to provide it to you (not any more than a given provider has a right to your money, except under the terms you’re willing to give it to him – which is precisely why companies compete with each other to make their terms more compatible with your desires).

These are very basic concepts which underlie the free-market, but unfortunately most people in contemporary society are completely clueless about them – and therefore hostile to the free market as such. This cluelessness and hostility is what T-Mobile is exploiting in this commercial. They’re using the public’s widely-held notion that for-profit business activity necessarily involves harming others (in this case, the customers) in order to emotionally manipulate it’s way into a favorable position in the viewer’s mind. Apparently the company’s superior product isn’t superior enough to “sell itself.” Instead of simply distinguishing itself by emphasizing the fact that it offers “roll forward” data plans, apparently T-Mobile it has to also impugn the moral character of it’s competition.

This is the kind of short-term, opportunistic, self-defeating behavior that is paving the way for the complete destruction of the free market (since it is people like this commercial’s viewers who are the ones who elect anti-capitalist politicians). When that happens, T-Mobile will be one of the victims of that destruction, and they will have no one to blame but themselves.

Written by commercialanalysis

January 12, 2015 at 6:41 pm

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