Commercial Analysis

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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

Posted in Uncategorized

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