A series of commercials with the tag-line "Time for some new traditions?" serves up a narcissistic perspective on gifting just in time for the holidays!
At first look, this commercial could be seen as celebrating the wacky creativity of making up fun festive foods, but this is not the case. Several normal-type actors proudly present their off beat edible creations to the camera. Their faces are hopeful and eager to please you. However, by the time the tagline appears at the end of the commercial it is clear that you are supposed to feel sad for these people. And sure enough, the link which popped up after watching this video within a banner ad directed me to Target's website to order entire ready-made holiday meals (link). Read: spare yourself the embarrassment.
The other commercial in this series follow suit.
In this scenario you observe two couples exchanging gifts. Couple 1 gives Couple 2 a Blu Ray player (a little extravagant, no?). In return, with the same eager goofy smiles, couple 2 presents couple 1 with a macrame covered boombox (ok, that actually is awesome!) which the lady of the couple 2 apparently made. Couple 1 exchange awkward glances at each other and try to act polite by saying "this smells like a cat".
The didactic tone of these commercials is reminiscent of a classic 1950's social instruction film. Poor Suzy she dresses sloppy and the other kids say mean things about her, don't be a Sloppy Suzy! Similarly, these commercials serve as a warning that others might be embarrassed FOR you. Should you be tempted to give out crafty crap as gifts or invent recipes, remember your friends and family think that's weird. Make everyone more comfortable and just buy stuff from Target.
set up of these ads is meant to remind the audience of what it feels
like when you have to be gracious and accept a gift that you don't
really like. The implication is that this is always negative experience. But in actuality, it feels equally as great to receive something someone made for you as it does to make something for someone else. These commercials encourage a perspective of childlike narcissism only to play it against the common social anxiety felt about pleasing other people.
On a whole Target's advertising is a cut above. Their stylish and simple Worholian celebrations of commerce are completely transparent and effective, even a pre-Black Friday series featuring the comedic talent of Maria Bamford were fun without being insulting. Target has proved that it is possible to still sell things people without putting out a negative message and I guess, that's why this set of commercials feels cheap and lazy to me.
So yes, Target, it is time for some new traditions... make whatever inventive food and gifts you want to give to your friends and family this holiday season in confidence that they will love you even more for doing so.If you don't have time or inclination to make shit for your friends and family, this holiday season, you should at least support other people who do. Considering making a stop at a local craft fair (Bust Craftacular - Sun Dec 6th in NYC!) or visit the always open online craft fantasia website Etsy.com.
Vampire fantasy is inescapable. Today, confronted by an onslaught of particularly annoying advertising, I got to thinking about the real bloodsuckers and why we are so poorly equipped to resist them.
Yes, real vampires exist and they are way more annoying than the sparkly kind and far less sexy than the interviewed kind, but don't worry, they are equally as needy!
Edward: I have to tell you something. The reason why you are one dimensional, is because I stole your personality from you while you were busy updating your iPod apps in chem lab this morning. sorry.
Bella: That's OK, I never really had that much stake in it to begin with. Can we make out now?
So, while Ed and Bella do that, we can talk about the latest Yahoo! brand campaign.
This ad in particular, has me fired up
Now the internet has a personality. Yours.
On the one hand I applaud it's honesty. Openly stating that your brand has nothing to offer is pretty bold. And it's true. YOU are the product that many media companies now sell to each other. If they can't convince millions of us use their service, they got nothing. Currently, these businesses trade us services and tools for personal data and this works pretty well. But as a long term business plan? How long can this value proposition hold up?
As long as they can convince us that we are the center of the YOUniverse. And so, vampires they must become.
I saw Jonathan Zittrain give this Minds For Sale, talk at the Digital Labor conference last month. He goes through examples of the many ethically questionable deals businesses are making with individuals online all the time. I am interested specifically, in the exploitation of individuals personalities/identities but he essentially covers the same issues and frameworks. Well worth a watch plus Zittrain keeps it entertaining.
Also, it's not because they are vampires that you want to suck face with them, its because they are 16, you creepy pedophiles!