I don’t watch a ton of commercials. Lately, I have been trying to limit my TV watching overall and I have been living for a while without cable. So, maybe my perspective is warped. Maybe I haven’t been desensitized to advertising the way that most folks have. But is it just me, or are ads getting even worse in terms of manipulating people into purchases that they don’t need, or hell, even want!
It’s college basketball season, and that means I will be watching more live TV than normal. It also means I am exposed to more commercials. While watching a game recently, this commercial came on:
Yuck! Where do I begin with this commercial? I really don’t know what aspect I hate the most, so I will just pick one to start.
Gender Roles – This is an easy one to start with. The woman says “maybe HE got a raise”. What the hell? Maybe SHE got a raise. More likely, though, maybe they financed the car and went into debt to do it.
Keeping Up with the Joneses – I just alluded to this, but this is a classic case of keeping up with the Joneses (or Garcias in this case). Who knows how they were able to “afford” this car? Using external purchases to make an assumption about a person’s financial well being is just plain dumb.
Making You Feel Inferior – Woah, did you hear that interaction? Let’s assume that HE did, in fact, get a raise. The husband in the house says, “good for him” and the woman responds with, “good for her”. The implication is that Mrs. Garcia won the lottery by landing Mr. Garcia, a guy who can bring home a glitzy car. Again, in terms of gender roles, this is wildly offensive. But it’s also downright mean to the husband in the house, cutting him down and directly attacking his ego. Clearly that couple has other issues that they have to work through. For the commercial’s purposes, though, you are supposed to feel as though if you don’t get a Buick, your partner will view you as inferior. Really?
And to top it all off, even if you are the type of person to succumb to all of those marketing tactics, a Buick is the status symbol here? Really? Buick should be trying to find a brand message that won’t get trounced by BMW, Lexus, etc. But again, this grievance is an afterthought.
Now, this is an isolated example of morally reprehensible advertising. Again, I don’t watch a ton of commercials, so this may be an anomaly. I would love to hear other opinions on this matter. Do commercials piss you off now more than ever? What are some examples that make you angry? Are car commercials just patently worse than other commercials? Let me know in the comments!
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