Wednesday, July 05, 2006


The context of this may remain unclear to all but the people I have debated with on the topic of commercials. In short, they argued that commercials are monstruous and I - that they are OK. They(the people) have of course the full freedom to disagree with this simplistic presentation of our long arguments.

Generally, I regard commercials in two ways - as a background noise (annoying but inevitable consequence of our choice to live in cities) and as communication messages. Both ways, we should accept the fact that we cannot limit advertising in any way without infringing the freedom to communicate. It would be the same if we tried to make people at the marketplace to shut up and stay quiet. The fact that the marketplace has become so immense that it has creeped into almost all places of our reality is a simple effect of three things - the egoistic human nature, the competitive basis of Western culture rooted in the Greek manner of thinking and the general trend of scale increase. The latter on second thought being based on the second. We cannot limit advertisement too much, because it would put at risk basic principles, and we cannot change our millenia-formed manner of thinking. The simple conclusion is that we therefore have no other choice but to accept the ever growing number and aggresiveness of commercials.

However, some time ago - I do not remeber when - I saw for the first time a billboard with a commercial of a medicine, which provided you with the opportunity of eating a lot without feeling bad afterwards. A bit later I've also noticed the commercial of another thingy, suposed to prevent hangover after an alcohol abuse. And a few days ago there was another billboard saying something like "more sex? again? oh yes!" - it was of course another substance sold in pharmacies, allowing you to have more than you are supposed to and than your body wants (mind you - I do not say "need", I say "want").

Should I surrender and admit my friends were right? Admit that commercials promote this unsatiable way of thinking? Or are they just a media which reflects and transmits a reality, which exists anyhow and which we agree in disliking? I have just fully realized that the problem is not the commercials but the fact that such things exist. The greed that made them come into existence is the same thing that made commercials to be so numerous and aggresive - there are too many things, not too many commercials. And it is something, which is present in human nature. Being present in human nature it infiltrates human deeds, advertising being among them.

I have had also another debate - a friend argued that the four plate cooker is something ultimately unnecessary and of the same nature I attribute to the "more sex, food and alcohol" thingies. I still insist they are not of the same nature. Not everything, which is not necessary, is necessarily bad. We have even the legitimate right to enjoy unnecesary objects. It is not good, but it is not bad either. What I am talking about - the things I mentioned - go far beyond being unnecessary. They are violent, a simple demonstration of rude power, which will finally ruin both our bodies and minds. Why do we create them?


Blogger ffox said...

trade channels and spam filters in online game societies, a.k.a. MMOGs?

maybe you're both right. maybe - like so many other times - the amount/extent/measure is key!?...

3:04 pm  
Blogger ffox said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:04 pm  
Blogger Hazel Baggins said...

They are violent, a simple demonstration of rude power, which will finally ruin both our bodies and minds. Why do we create them?

Because we can. Because 'one world is not enough'. We need to demonstrate our power all the time, and if we can't do so with nuclear weapons and space fights, then we'd be content with excess eating, drinking and fucking. We want to be gods, see? And the products you mention are 21c. versions of sacrifices to the tiny little gods of the vices of the flesh.

Vices of the flesh are inferior to pride though. And becoming lords of the world is exactly what advertising promises. Innocent communication? Commercials identify my needs and wants before I do and promise me world domination at a moderate price. They enter the holy of holies of the ego, push the right combination of buttons, and start the lethal sequence.
No, I personally don't want to be a lord of the world. I'd go for a steward instead.

3:34 pm  
Blogger frostie said...

I see your point but it seems commercials do not influence all people the same way. When I see a beer commercial let's say, I apprehend it fully as an invitation or - I agree - luring - to have a beer of that exact brand. Not to dominate the world. Not to dominate the world through this beer. Nor through the washing powder. The washing powder least of all, on second thought. Nor even through the shiny car or cool pocket pc. I am guilty of pride because I think I am capable of getting world domination by myself.

Of course there can be people who react to the commercials like you say. But then, they could react to anything else like that - I incline to think this another proof the problem is inside the mind, not the messages we get non stop in our 21 c world from everywhere.

And again - sorry for repeating myself - I think the real problem is the reason why we create such stuff. The commercials flood is secondary to that and much more, hm, innocent.

5:17 pm  
Blogger Hazel Baggins said...

I agree with you that the problem is in the mind. It is the greed to want more, to crave more, to have more than we need. (Here ffox says something about measure being the key. True, but how many people are zen sages?:P)

What I'm saying is that commercials feed on this problem and augment it. It is not the specifics of beer and washing powder that I'm objecting to. It's the whole mindset of 'get this and you'll thrive'. If you have A, you will be B.
Advertising defines us, whether we like it or not. You remember the one about the lie, repeated a thousand times?

11:33 am  
Blogger frostie said...

Exactly - get this and you will thrive. However I, being a finding-the-precise-words-freak, would say that mass scale communication amplifies the problem rather that commercials augment it. See - we use the scheme "get A to get B" very often in our every day small scale communication but it apparently does not raise that problem... We start eventually apprehend is a (potential) prbolem first when it turns into mass communication and second - when A and B are unacceptable to us in terms of their own nature. In a framework thus defined, I am tolerant to the form/structure of the message and to a significant extent - to the scale. Because I find it inevitable and I believe it is a duty of every person living in today's world and society to build the necessary level of resistance to large scale messages. What I am not tolerant to and object is the specific of certain things being communicated - some A's and B's. Exactly because repeating a statement makes it true. In other words, I take the media as objective reality; I dislike some of the messages. ( McLuhan here)

12:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a circular scheme: commercials are based on your needs and desires, but they also create new needs and desires that you didn't have before.
Yes, greed is deeply rooted in every one of us. We are hedonistic by nature. (Also, sometimes masochistic, which gets exploited too.)
What these commercials advertise is not the ability to eat more than you want. It's the possibility to skip the consequences of eating as much as you want.
Oh sweet irresponsibility. I can eat too much and not become fat; drink too much and not lose consciousness; get more pleasure of sex after I'm tired or worn out (I don't know what this specific product does, sorry).
It's all about pleasure. We don't go further than that. It's only that we don't want our pleasure to be limited by anything: capacity, consequences, physiology even.

Today's person is not all about having, he's more about experiencing. Experience sells better than anything, and that's the reason for the formula "get A to become B". We're about enjoyment. That's what we're greedy for.

- W.

3:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tattoo Me Human advertisement this is so funny you should check it out you can advertise your bussiness on a hot chick

3:40 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tattoo Me Human advertisement this is so funny you should check it out you can advertise your bussiness on a hot chick

7:12 pm  

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