Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Swill Bucket Blues - Advertising

Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket. George Orwell

I'm in the advertising business- a little. I try, or allow, or acquiesce, or something, to be looked at. I'm selling stuff. It has to be done.

How to do it? There are many approaches. It's not rocket science. Rocket science is easy. You can tell if your rocket works -- unless it's North Korean. It either blows up on the pad or goes up in space. You get your A+ or your F-, and you move on.

Advertising is weird. You never really know if what you're doing is working. I've purchased things from a retailer, and the whole time there's a bubble over my head containing the words: I HATE YOU AND YOUR BROTHER EVERY SINGLE TIME I HEAR YOU ON THE RADIO, WITH THE INTENSE HEAT OF A THOUSAND SUNS. I still bought the thing. I needed it and they had it.

So their advertising worked, sorta. Or it didn't. I don't know. "It is better to be feared than to be liked." the old saying goes. "It is better to be disliked than to be obscure," is the advertising version of it, I guess.

I have a defective personality, and want people to like me. I'm fairly certain that in the long run, it doesn't matter much what I say in an adverisement, so I figure I might as well be pleasant or entertaining. It's likely that if you just chanted your name for :30 during your Super Bowl commercial it would have the same effect as the most Madison Avenue approach imaginable.

There was no power on earth that would have compelled me to buy the crappy car you're about to see bombing around Paris. But somewhere, in the back of my mind, there's a warm spot for Isuzu, because they've allowed me to sit at the computer with my grade schooler and my toddler for a few moments together and enjoy ourselves, and marvel at the inventiveness possible in that same old Stick in a Swill Bucket:

3 comments:

Editor Theorist said...

Of course Orwell was writing 60 years ago, but many cultural commentators have a similar view of advertizing even now.

But, if we prefer the modern world to medieval theocracy or military dictatorships, then advertizing is just one of the things we have to accept - like the mass media.

Indeed, we might as well love them, because we have-to have them.

Think about it, the better a society, the bigger the mass media and the more advertizing. The opposite situation is easier to acknowledge: the worse a society the more miniscule its mass media and advertizing - and they will both be devoted entirely to propaganda purposes.

This surely can't be a coincidence!

So, don't you feel guilty about self-promotion - by promoting Sippican Cottage you are saving civilization!

Bissage said...

Sip: Maybe you and your boys will get a kick out of this.

SippicanCottage said...

biss- kewl!

Editor theorist- I'm with you. But I've already saved civilization. They're sleeping down the hall right now, dreaming of all the Hallowe'en candy they got last night.