Cue the Sparkly Distraction

Question: How do you prepare a generation to come to grips with economic realities that are rather different than what their immediate predecessors might have taken for granted?

Like, say…, someone currently in the (dwindling) middle class — you know, someone with enough income to be able to save some of it — and thus someone who assumes that they’ll retire at 65 (or maybe even younger), just like dear old dad did…? Continue reading “Cue the Sparkly Distraction”

S.O.B.

SOBI’ve written before about the curious relationship between form and content — and the manner in which (despite how we usually think about it) meaning is the product of the former.

As but the latest example, consider this Lipton commercial currently on TV here in the US.

Recognize the song? Continue reading “S.O.B.”

“But When it Comes to Investing…”

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Did you ever see this Prudential ad from a couple years back? It features some fun footage from the Candid Camera TV show, back in 1962.

What’s so interesting about the ad is not the basic lesson in sociology — though it’s pretty good, I admit — but the punchline at the end. For the company is literally banking on the fact that it is indeed human nature to follow others despite the closing’s apparent message to the contrary. For the whole point of advertising is to sway the public’s opinions and actions — whether it’s to get us to take off our hats or give our money to this as opposed to that investment firm.

They’re hoping that, when it comes to investing, you’re no different from those poor guys on the elevator — you know, the ones who no doubt felt like they chose to turn around. Coz if you’re the only one — the truly lone wolf, the rugged individual — who opts to go with Prudential, well…, that doesn’t help them, now does it.

Given his interest in understanding myth as something that carries two messages, one smuggled in by the other and which might even contradict the other, I think Roland Barthes would have appreciated this ad.

semiology

“My Husband, Some Hot Shot”

Picture 23I saw a friend on Facebook post the following story (click the pic to read it):

Picture 25…, along with the following comment:

Well this is interesting. Ah, and “ancient wisdom” once again rears its questionable head.

Which made me think of this classic commercial from the 1970s:

I’m not sure if there could be a better way to start thinking about the rhetorical uses in the present of the discourse on the past than this commercial — for, if you ask me, this is what’s going on every time you hear the discourse on origins or antiquity being used.

Coz there’s always some hot shot trying to sell something. And sometimes, if we make it sound dusty and yellowed in just the right way, there’s always someone willing to buy it.

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