Monday, February 10, 2014

Lying to the world.

A lot of the commercials that seem to be running during the coverage of the Olympic games from Sochi seem to be predicated on ridiculous, stupefying and tremendous lies.

There's the one from Tyson poultry that hopes you forget the vivid imagery of thousands of chickens being factory-raised, factory-abused and factory-slaughtered. Nope, we're the friendly chicken people.

There's the one from United Airlines that shows Olympians in their skin-tight armor gliding effortlessly into their comfortable seats, all to the glorious strains of Gershwin. There's nothing about having your gonads crushed in about as much space as the aforementioned poultry is allotted.

Perhaps worst of all is the Citibank story of some skier who decides, for whatever inexplicable reason, to pay his bills via smart phone just as he's about to descend thousands of feet at 70 miles per hour. This is about as realistic, once again, as  the happy chickens above.

I guess these three ads all come from the same place and the same thinking. That is, if you paste enough smiles on people and lie persistently enough and with enough money behind your asinine blandishments, people will come to believe them. Dumbing down is in fine-fettle in all three of these ads. Smiles have replaced facts and, as in monkey see, monkey do, if we see someone on TV smiling, why there's nothing else for us to do but smile ourselves.

According to these three spots and dozens and dozens like them, the consumer is a moron and therefore is treated as such. It's all part of yet another pernicious advertising trend--likeability. That is, if our brand is happy and smiley, people will like us and if they like us, they'll buy us.

Personally, I am more than a little sick of likeability. I'd rather a dose or two of brainability.

I'd like to hear that Tyson chickens aren't conduits for e-coli, that they've been raised and slaughtered as humanely as you can do such things. I'd like to hear that their workers make a living wage.

I'd like to hear from United that their seats aren't busted, that their planes are staffed by people who aren't disciples of Adolph Eichmann and maybe that they have more than one toilet per 300 passengers.

And I'd like to hear from Citibank that they're sorry for destroying the US economy and they won't do it again, or at least until the next time.

As an industry, we are like fast-food restaurants. The crap we produced is fortified with the pink slime of likeability.

It tastes bad.

It's bad for you.

And it's killing us all.

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