Gotta Sell Somebody

Russell McCutcheon was nice enough to pass along this commercial to me, knowing I’d be interested because of my recent post about the ad on which it is based. It offers a response to Cadillac’s unapologetic praise of American consumerism…and it’s brought to you by Ford Motor Co. Yep, Ford!  The same company who’s “Built Ford Tough” campaigns are hardly trying to get customers to imagine a more eco-friendly future, instead offering us the likes of Toby Keith (the very same “Angry American” who found a crass way of suggesting the “American way” is pummeling the country’s enemies) out-muscling two other trucks: Continue reading “Gotta Sell Somebody”

The Last Word

brenda-wood-goes-inIf you’re in North America, at least, you can’t help but know that the Superbowl was last weekend — an annual celebration of football, yes, but also consumerism, since unveiling new and expensive-to-produce commercials has become part of its broadcast tradition.

This year Coke premiered an add in which “America the Beautiful” was sung in a variety of languages, while showing images of people who don’t look like you’re taken-for-granted white-bread citizens, and (predictably?) many who occupy various positions on the political right responded with varying degrees of outrage, demanding, for instance, that the song be sung “in American” — kind’a like saying “if the King James version was good enough for Jesus then it’s good enough for me.” Continue reading “The Last Word”

That’s Not How I Imagined It

newyorkercartoonMy recent post, on an old Canadian beer commercial called “The Rant,” along with a query a while back from someone on Facebook, got me to thinking about why scholars these days are so excited about studying so-called virtual communities (from Second Life, which used to be cool, to a host of other online identities and platforms which, for the time being at least, are thought to be cool). Thinking about the audience pictured in that commercial from my earlier post — seated in what looks like an old movie theater and all listening to a disgruntled Canadian on stage go on about how he is wrongly stereotyped by Americans — we all know (right?) that it is populated by stand-ins who are quite literally standing in for the people to whom the commercial was directed: those in the TV audience who used the occasion to further identify themselves as misunderstood beer-drinking Canadians. Continue reading “That’s Not How I Imagined It”