The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Be special... be one of "us"

Ever have one of those moments of great pride? You know what I mean, when something, somewhere, happens that vindicates you or confirms a premise you made?

I just had one of those moments.

I was perusing the Google News (as I am wont to do) and came across this article [link]

The article is about the success and the nature of advertising that emphasizes group acceptance, a feeling of belonging, of being seen as one of the "In" crowd.

As the article says:

“There’s a historical as well as societal foundation for utilizing the social group as a way of capturing the zeitgeist,” said psychologist Robert Passikoff, founder of New York-based consultancy Brand Keys. “It’s a cultural and social imperative: Nobody wants to be uncool, and that’s why these ads are virtually the same.”

In the article, there are two ad photos from old ad campaigns. One is for the 1969 Camaro and the other is a Tommy Hilfiger ad. About which, the article says:

Both ads present coolness as shopping’s blissful by-product. Buy this brand and you’ll be legit; you’ll of us.

I do not have a formal education beyond high school, I have no degrees in marketing or psychology, and I never worked in advertising. But I was raised on TV, part of the first TV generation, and I have seen a lot of ads. I have also read a lot of magazines and seen a lot of glossy, attractive, ads in those.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. I knew it in my teens. The ad series that brought it home to me most, however, started later. It was the Dr. Pepper ads of the late 70's.

These ads emphasized uniqueness and belonging to a group (the "cool" group) about as subtly as a growling doberman pinscher suggests viciousness.

But there are many more. Today, you can refer to the ads for the military for great examples of this... Be unique, be special, by being part of a certain group. The few, the proud, the Marines or There's strong and there's Army Strong.

I thought the Dr. Pepper ads were blatant attempts to push  diametrically opposed desires: the desire to be unique, an individual, apart from the faddish crowd while also saying it will make you popular and bring you into that cool crowd you've always wanted to be a  part of. All by buying and drinking this specific product.

In reality, I'd say these two themes run rampant through all marketing strategies. Either apart or combined. And always have.

Must have been "cool" to be a Roman citizen.

You, too,  can do this. You can be part of a unique and cool crowd by being one of my followers.


Sightings said...

You're smarter than I am. I thought an ad tried to sell the customer on a benefit. The product quenches your thirst, fills you up, cures a disease, makes you feel better,  makes you look younger or sexier (which is similar I suppose to being cool but not quite the same.) But then I was never part of the "in" crowd ... so what do I know?

Douglas4517 said...

 Neither was I... part of the "in" crowd, that is.  My friends were all of the "hoodlum" variety. The "in" crowd went on to become doctors and lawyers and such and my friends went on to serve time. Well, not all of them, some straightened out and became part of the labor class.