I’ve hated ads for as long as I can remember. When I was little and I refused to wear the same clothing brands that I saw my schoolmates wearing. I still do this actually, only instead of avoiding “Bugle Boy” I avoid “abercrombe and Fitch.” Anyway, back to when I was young: popular brands were evil, I thought things had to be slightly obscure to be of quality. Maybe it was some sense of superiority that I derived from being different, or maybe my intuition really was way ahead of the curve. Either way, avoiding the popular has proven a winning strategy.
The reason that advertising is an awful, dreadful thing, is because making decisions based on ads is no way to make a decision. It’s a way to act but not think. Going along with what is marketed towards our particular ‘focus group’ is to live as a drone, or a slave. Sure, you’re ‘free’ to decide things for yourself, but without any reflection then freedom merely makes your wallet an easy target for some corporation’s bottom line.
My roommate asked me (read: forced me) to take this survey about cereal. I think he’s comparing what cereals adults eat and what the corresponding sugar level is. So the question was, which of these cereals are ‘adult’ cereals. I asked if he wanted me to mark the ones that I like to eat, and he said no, mark the ‘adult’ ones. “But I’m an adult!” I objected. That’s not enough, which cereals sound adult.
What he meant, of course, was which cereals are marketed towards adults. I thought, “you don’t need me to fill out a survey for that. Look it up!” Since I’ve spent my life daydreaming whenever an ad comes on, it took me 30 minutes to finish the damn survey. All I did was pick the ones with plain-sounding names, cause I think that’s what the advertisers want: kids need creativity and fun, but adults need to be responsible and healthy. It was complete bullshit, trying to get into some anonymous marketer’s head, and I would have been just as honest if I had simply checked off every 5th name. This was torturous to go through.
My roommate’s not a real marketer though. A real marketer would have asked people of different age groups what cereal they liked, and why. Then he/she would have compared. In that situation, of course, I would lie my ass off, because bad data means bad ads, and bad ads make people take notice, and, for one brief second, think about what they see. They stop taking orders, if only for a moment. And that’s what we really need: to stop taking orders and fucking make this world for ourselves.
(((((((Side note)))))))) The above clip is the late great Bill Hicks. I got his Sane Man DVD today, and something else he said relates to my final point. he said, All those people who made the borders and countries and rules and restrictions that hold us back: They’re dead! Go out and make you’re own fucking world.