Last One To Leave Turns Out The Lights

A culture of profound boredom.Or a boredom from a lack of profound culture? Critiques of democratic market economies such as that of Theodor Adorno (1903-69), argued that capitalism plied and spoon fed people with the products of a ‘culture industry’, the opposite of true art, to keep them passively satisfied and politically apathetic.The premise is that consumption of adult pablum derivatives represses violence,by pacifying it; up to a certain level.

Parissa Wax Strips, Rethink Communications

Parissa Wax Strips, Rethink Communications



The emphasis on the role of culture in securing the status quo was not to be underestimated. The thesis  is that of  false needs being cultivated in people by the culture industries. These are needs which can be both created and satisfied by the free market system system, and which replace,  and act as a diversion to people’s ‘true’ needs such as freedom, absence of fear and authentic creative happiness. 

Increasingly, the onus of marketing resources are becoming digital and  at the expense of print, radio and t.v. ( Ipsos Reid, Financial Post ) and would be greater if advertisers could figure out the elusive recipe of on-line marketing success. Seen from the perspective of  human destiny, these broad band and internet technologies  have an ambivalent nature, that can neither be easily dismissed, nor simply affirmed. Philosopher Martin Heidegger had very prescient views on technology and its potential to give rise to a virtual fascism, but also be liberating.





In this case, if the price to be paid for the unfolding of (our) technological destiny is “injurious neglect of the thing” to the point of gutting human subjectivity of its silences, its most essential elements of individual reflection, of thoughtfulness, then is it not now manifest that such injurious neglect of oneself is the deepest fascination and most charismatic promotional feature of virtual capitalism? The virtual self, therefore, as a wireless game with accelerated technical consciousness moving at the speed of injurious neglect.” ( Arthur Kroker )

 Presently, the commercial component of mass media is able to supplant programming , or at least be indistinguishable from programming in terms of cultural value to the extent that marketing and design are cultural values and seen as an art form. There was a Holiday Inn ad where the guy is about to go to sleep, but first says goodnight – to virtually every major office stereotype in existence. .And while it approaches the TV commercial equivalent of literature for what it says about office personalities, the ad content may well overshadow the brand message rather than reinforce it, which is not a good thing for the advertiser, but endearing in terms of compelling viewing. 

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” Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work”.( Flaubert ) fits the Holiday Inn video well where the ”ugly american” does a parody of a black idiom. The incongruity is appealing, but not plausible.

Q How do you define good advertising?A I judge a lot of shows and I have a hierarchy for a jury, and first and foremost it has to be clear. It sounds anticlimactic, but I think a lot of creative people confuse obscurity for cleverness. You can be witty and memorable but if you don’t have clarity, what the heck are you trying to say, or what the heck do you want me to do when I am seeing this ad? Is it well-executed, is there an idea that we haven’t see before? Also, is it true? I look at those things.

Skittles, Pinata GuySkittles, Pinata Guy



Q What is your favourite campaign of all time?A It probably comes out of New York from  JWT ( J. Walter Thompson ). In recent memory, I would say, the Skittles campaign, the Pinata guy ad from a couple of years ago. A guy walks into an office workroom and he is a human pinata. It’s so bizarre, but it’s not so bizarre that you don’t understand what’s going on. ( Rob Tarry, Rethink Communications, Financial Post )Perhaps, the question arises of how quirky is too quirky. The series of spots for Skittles is gesturally expansive and exaggerated, a visual expressionism where figurative elements of the grotesque and macabre appropriate the narrative . An ersatz employment of true art subverted and perverted to some extent for a mass public. Its the KISS rule of mercantilism-keep it simple and stupid. With the addendum attached ,to manage the violent symbols in a way that will traumatize the viewer into remembering the brandskittles3

   Caribou Coffee will launch its first-ever TV campaign next week with an approach that satirizes its biggest rival, Starbucks.The spot is titled “Get Real: Chocolate” and stars a pair of urban snobs in a mall, played by marionette dolls. Sitting on a bench, they look enviously as a live person sits down next to them with a Caribou mocha, topped with a tower of whipped cream and a dusting of chocolate chips. The girl doll asks, “Why don’t we ever get Caribou coffee?” Her male companion responds, “Because we’re not real.” Of course one of the biggest knocks on Starbucks, from non-brand loyalists, is the perceived snob factor.( Advertising Age )

Almost all ads, irrelevant of the medium ,seek primarily to reassure, pacify and dissuade people to think, for example about the terrific profit margins that enables companies to afford these marketing psychiatrists to prescribe heavy doses of  trivial goods and services. An incredible prostitution of money, time and energy. But the bells and whistles are pretty.

In a strange way the Internet is pushing us all to discover this classic way of getting publicity and interest. As many people as there were on the beach that day who saw the hairy guy,( Parissa Wax Strips, Backvertising) a thousand times the number read about it on the Huffington Post. And in a fun way you can be a little less blatant in your branding than you were for decades and decades. You can be just sort of there in the background. You are part of it, but you are maybe not obnoxiously plastering your name and logo all over everything. And traditional media has to be that much better and that much smarter to get people’s attention. The media landscape is in a state of flux so you either stand still or or you shake it up yourself,… ” ( Rob Tarry interview, Financial Post )

Which brings us back to Heidegger and the value of reflecting on his views: a thinker close  to the contemporary technical condition that his thought is itself a ”field of strife”, motivated from within by a malice of rage, a violent anger,  ”directed against his own expulsion from the polity of conventional political opinion and yet, who in the bitterness of this exile and undoubtedly against his own preference for the rootedness of the “German folk”, became a vehicle by which the forgotten language of metaphysics — the homeward-bound language of the pre-Socratics — speaks again to beings held out into the nothing”,thus the central issue of identity and the need to mold and shape it at the heart of all marketing algorithms.  Heidegger transformed the language of “rootlessness”, which in today’s jargon is globalization, into a central premise of the strife in modern subjectivity.

 For him, the challenge and impossibility of the modern technical project was its starting-point in “being held out into the nothing.” which is similar to Albert Camus and other articulations of ”the absurd”  To paraphrase Heidegger, The gods have retreated into the shadows. The meaning of technicity lies close at hand, yet remains concealed in the shroud of calculative forgetfulness. No certain past, no actual present, only a future-time split open by the animating energy of the will to technology: cultural “rootlessness” as the central feature of modern technical being. Defrocked of his role as high philo-cultural priest by the Third Reich, Heidegger may have had his epiphany holding a shovel in his small,sweaty, ivory tower palms while on forced labor assignment to dig ditches for his previous benefactors. Nonetheless, his description of the ”regulating architecture of contemporary existence” is a profound structural analysis of people and technology, making visible that which would prefer to remain concealed in the shadows.

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