I found myself pondering the art of selling. How people craft a commercial that will hopefully encourage a viewer to buy a particular product. My reaction to two very different television commercials made me realize how very fraught this effort must be. There is a Gevalia commercial that actively makes my teeth hurt, and I swear if Gevalia was the last coffee on Earth I would never buy this product because I find the commercial to be so very, very sexist. You’ve got a book club that is just finishing reading a loud some novel. Naturally the group consists of nothing but women. Suddenly this blond man who looks like Fabio in an expensive suit is sitting on the arm of a sofa reading aloud from the Gevalia package and the women are all gazing at him like love-struck bovines, gasping, sighing and clapping. Yes, the guy is really pretty and I have this weakness for blonds, but dear heavens the women are presented as brainless twits. But somebody at an ad agency clearly thought this was a good idea, and one presumes it tested well. Well, it failed on me.
Next up this amazing commercial touting GE. It’s a little girl in this mystical magical world where she’s exploring the depths of the ocean where fans are powered by moonlight, where planes seemed crossed with birds, and where trees wave and bow and run next to a train. At the end the child concludes that her mother works for GE. Now of course I can’t run out and buy a jet engine or a train, but this commercial is beautiful and empowering. I find myself wondering about this woman — is she an engineer? A scientist? Does she work on the assembly line? How will her mother’s career affect this little girl? What choices will she make? This commercial has done it’s job. It has me thinking favorably about GE despite it being a large, faceless corporation.
As I watched these two it had me wondering about micro-targeting. Our interconnected world gives us the tools to pick shows that will target a particular demographic and push the product to that particular market.
Just silly, random thoughts at nearly ten at night when I’m too tired to focus on real work.