The Tragedy of Advertising

August 7, 2009 at 9:11 pm (Uncategorized)

There’s a new commercial for McDonalds in heavy rotation right now. It’s absolutely brilliant. The tune is the Christmas standard Deck the Halls. But instead of the usual syrupy sounds, we get a snotty punk version with an affected English accent sneering: summer’s here, and I’m on Holiday.

Now, admittedly I didn’t rush out to McDonalds to get a $1 soft drink, but I thought using a Christmas song in July was inspired.  And then I felt sad.

What has happened here is that the mind that thought up that idea works for an advertising agency. And the purpose of an advertising agency is to inform the customer and sell the product. Filmmakers, artists, poets, writers, creative people, instead of creating art, create reasons to buy.

Imagine, if those workers were free to create art. What wonders we might have. But instead, we have comomdities.

A couple of reccommended reading on this topic are Commodity Your Dissent and The Conquest of Cool by former Baffler editor Tom Frank (the first book is a collection of essays from The Baffler).

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