Friday, January 11, 2008

Your dad is having sex. Let's get drunk.

Your dad is having sex. Let's get drunk.

That is a ridiculous title for a blog. I agree, but I didn’t really make it up. I didn’t steal it exactly, I’m just paraphrasing the advertisement for Canadian Club whiskey.

Here is what the body copy for the ad says:

“He (your dad) went out. He got two numbers in the same night. He drank cocktails. But they were whisky cocktails. Made with Canadian Club. Served in a rocks glass. They tasted good. They were effortless. Damn right your dad drank it.”

I saw that ad in Rolling Stone and when you look at the ad itself maybe it isn’t that silly. Maybe it’s kind of hip and cool and you would find yourself wanting a glass of whiskey. But when you strip away all the marketing, when you remove the hype, when you cut away the words and the images and just focus on the core message, you see how stupid it is.

Honestly, is the idea of my dad sleeping around supposed to make me want whiskey? More than anything the idea of my dad having sex makes me want to slam my head in a car door. There are four kids in our family, which means four times, end of story.

So why do advertisers think they can do this to you? Why do they think you won’t see the message behind the message? Because it’s next to impossible right now.

The average person sees 3,000 – 5,000 marketing messages a day. That’s more then 1.8 million a year. Wow, that is insane, but when you realize that, you can start to see how easy it is to let stupid messages get right on by you.

That’s why I think it’s important to stop and think about the things you’re experiencing, to see the idea behind all the words, underneath all the noise.

Axe deodorant will not increase your chance of having a threesome.
Nike shoes will not make you a faster runner.
A diamond won’t make her love you.
No chewing gum will ever really feel like sledding down an icy glacier.

You know all that. Deep down you know the truth from the lie, but if someone told you something 1.8 million times a year, wouldn’t some part of you start to believe it? I think the answer is yes.

For me, I believe on some level that if I had a cool apple computer I would be a better writer. That’s dumb, but that’s my little confession. I want an apple computer because I think it would make me cooler, or more interesting or more likely to meet artistic people with goatees and lower back tattoos at Starbucks.

Today, all I’m asking is that you pause for 14 seconds and think about the messages you digest every day. There’s at least 3,000 vying for your attention, what are they saying and what are you believing?

p.s. I think that seeing the words behind the words is a great way to live in the world but not of the world, which is something Christians are called to do.


Jamon said...

MAN! all this time I've been using Axe just wondering "will today be the day?" :)

great points - and i'm IN advertising!

saralee said...

I guarantee you that this ad was written by a man in his 50s who wants to be seen as he was 30 something. I say this with some authority, as a 50 year old woman who was just given an unprovoked senior discount on her coffee this morning. Eventually you will get over wanting to slam your head in the car door.

Jamon said...

I'm a web developer for an advertising agency that handles career/vocational schools (DeVry, etc) as well as traditional colleges & universities.

Jason said...

What's wild is that I've found that getting a new Bible doesn't suddenly catapult me closer to the throne of grace either. Christian retailers/publishers/etc are not beyond this either.

I guess selling is selling no matter what, eh?

Charity said...

I laughed out loud when I read the part about apple computers. I actually just bought a Macbook. I love it but I could have bought a less expensive laptop and get the job done just as well. I think I may have to admit that I thought it was cool to get a apple product seeing as its all the rage. Advertising definitely effects the way I see a ton of things..I would love to say that I think for myself but I guess not!

alice said...

Consider these apples:

God is Canadian Club.

God knows that we've had a life before we came to him. Like the wifee in this ad (which I think is hysterical and reminds me a bit of my grandparent's house when my mom grew up there)God knows that we've been around the block before we came to him. And he still embraces us and says, "Drink with me."

We've tasted all the other brands and this taste is what we have come to swallow. We are people who have fallen, who've made mistakes, who've caused chaos and wreaked havoc and warm-bodied, Canadian Club God suits us.

Praise God. And pass me a high ball.

jofarrill said...

Ok fine, so I just got a MacBook Pro. Did I really think it would suddenly make me cooler and more productive? Well, kinda. The purchase was akin to the "I'll believe in God and Christ just in case there really is an afterlife, but if there isn't, no sweat" logic. ie. I'm running both mac and pc software.
So am I suddenlt super cool because I have a mac? No, but I do have a lot of fun with garage banb.