Sunday, December 26, 2010

Guilt Inducing Advertising

I have a lot of respect for the men who make good advertisements. I suppose this comes from a few reasons. Firstly, some of them are paid to make people laugh and buy things (sort of like what i wish would happen to me). In that way, they're like street performers who are never hassled by police. In another light, these ad-men who work on Madison avenue (Mad Men, if you will. Huh, that's sort of catchy sounding. Maybe I'll make a TV series about it.*) are paid to prey on our deepest desires and fears. Sort of like what the boogey-man would do if he were to ever sell out and stop hiding in my closet, playing my desire to go to the bathroom against my fear of being eaten by him.
*Wait, really? They already made it? Damnit.

Of course, every now and then, this backfires, and the Mad-Men make a commercial that I find so offensive that I boycott the product. Blockbuster was recently guilty of this. Not that it matters to them; I go to Blockbuster about as often as I start conversations with pretty girls I don't know. But anyway, you can see the offending commercials here and here.

Basically, the commercials point out that Blockbuster gets new releases instantly, while you need to wait for them from Netflix. I resent this on two levels. First, the ad is appealing to my desire for instant gratification, my greed. They are implying because they are suggesting that I cannot wait for a movie, and that I should not have to. Unfortunately for them, this doesn't work. Previews released long in advance of movies ensure that I am highly skilled at waiting long periods of time for movies. Furthermore, I resent that they assume my appetite for instant satisfaction is so large that they think I'll fall for it. Acknowledging that at some level, this appeal works makes me feel guilty. At this rate, I'll wait an extra 28 days after movies are released to Netflix just to spite Blockbuster.

More importantly, this commercial doesn't work for me because the things in questions are things I am used to waiting for. Anyone who has been in an ER knows that 28 days is a pretty accurate estimate of how long you'll be there before someone sees you. Similarly, a restaurant that makes you wait 28 days is something I would personally like. Once a month is about how often I go out to restaurants. I would just drop by the restaurant one month before I intended to go; this sounds pretty easy to deal with to me. Waiting 28 days for a dentist gives even more of an excuse not to ever go to them (as if I needed more excuses not to visit someone who stabs me in the mouth).

If they really wanted to make this commercial work, they'd make it something that I'm absolutely unable to resist for 28 days. I don't know what that is, but I can tell you this: it's not showering.

Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays!

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