Re: [rumori] surrealist ads / TV
Date: Fri Mar 09 2001 - 14:03:05 PST

Every Man, there is a book you on advertising in the last half of the
century you might like. It's called "The Conquest of Cool" by Thomas Frank,
the "Baffler" guy. Steev brought it to my attention or reccomended it to
me. It was all about how advertising came of age by trying to make their
product seem "cool." I never finished the book but it was interesting - I
guess I just didn't like Frank's style...

The whole "buy our product cuz it's bad for you"/Contrarian strategy
probably got started in the mid 60's with the VW beetle ads, like the one
with the picture of the beetle and just the caption "Lemon." Advertisers
found they needed to go against people's notions to get their attention.


Every Man <> on 03/09/2001 04:42:28 PM

Please respond to

cc: (bcc: Dan Serkland/National/NISH)
Subject: [rumori] surrealist ads / TV

First off, I'm glad you're enjoying my little dream-inspired thread, it
indeed opened up a lot of new creative doorways for me that I never
previously thought about.

In regards to what you say about surrealism in advertising, I think that
same technique is used just about anywhere on television anymore, isn't it?
Most of TV's sitcoms and action/adventure shows seem to all have quite a
surrealistic stretch about them. I wonder if this is making them more
interesting? Or if this harkens back to the "appealing to the subconscious
level" concept...perhaps many of us are buying into these ads and tv shows
on a subconscious level.

I was just discussing with someone recently about whether modern ads are
more "honest" these days than they were in the 1950's. In many ways, the
post-war material-production boom in the 1950's, combined with television,
gave way to a huge onslaught of the HAPPY advertising stereotype. In just
about every ad, there's a nice looking person with a big fake smile and
with a professional radio voice telling you that you MUST have this
product, and that everything you could possibly buy is of course, the best
version of that product EVER. Was that surrealist back then?

Now we have 7-up commercials knocking themselves..actually putting down
their own product in their commercials to drive sales! (all that sugar is
bad for you, we realize it...but drink it it, JUST BECAUSE IT'S
WRONG!) Is that surrealist? Perhaps moreso than in the classic 1950's

The modern voices used are less monotone and more human sounding...less
fake-happy looking and more emotional...or at least trying to convey
sincere emotion.

I often wonder if someday ads will be no longer ads, and instead...embedded
within the programs you're watching on TV. I'm willing to bet statistics
are showing that people prefer subtle ads, versus direct ads...and
therefore direct advertising will go away, and instead, incorporate itself
into the shows we watch.

Every Man

On Fri, 09 March 2001, Lloyd Dunn wrote:
> i've always found this interesting: advertising makes constant and
> sophisticated use of surrealist techniques. a shoe thrown into a tree
> causes a car to fall to the ground. (the car is powerful, and the
> driver had let the clutch out too fast, is the only explanation for
> this.) groups of young men eating fast food do so to the rhythm of a
> popular song -- not a part of MY everyday reality. these are but two
> examples (without mentioning the talking chihuahua) among myriads of
> surrealist techniques used in all forms of advertising.
> these are glimpses into the dreamstate of corporations. something
> beyond the mere selling of soap flakes is going on here -- these are
> expressions of corporate fantasy. they take the posture of humor so
> we don't have to think about them so much, but these are deadly
> serious cultural artifacts, as effective at moving money and materiel
> through society as a mack truck.

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