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The Magic in Advertising series — rhyming, twinning, pattern recognition

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — the ability to recognize similarities across wide conceptual or memory distances is what Cindy Storer calls “magic” in analytic practice — here we examine it in terms of advertising ]
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You could almost learn how to write poetry by watching the commercials on TV — or learn a bit more about how the ads themselves work.. come have some fun.

Consider rhyme for a moment. There’s a rhyme between the car that’s too small for comfort and the shoe that’s too tight to fit in this ad, and there’s an analogy between the larger, more comfortable — luxurious, even — car and the wide and comfortable — “like a luxury ride for my feet” — Skechers wide fit shoes that the ad is all about:

The rhyme here between today’s American fisherman and his Irish fisherman ancestor is stunning — and plausible. This, after all, is genetics, which is often said to rhyme from one generation to another:

And even when the analogy between an image and the product it’s supposed to resemble (“rhyme with”) is weak, making a successful rhyme between two such images is a delight in itself, and makes the weak rhyme seem plausible. Here, a two-thirds shaved dog rhymes with a two-thirds mowed lawn:

Allstate piles the rhymes on — drawing on powerful similarities between widely different parts of the country — in its brilliant Park Road / Street / Avenue commercial:

Here’s a beautiful rhyme between cement and sand — it’s not so great to find you’ve stepped unexpectedly in wet cement — but what a delight to feel sand on the beach between your toes!

Look, Exxon wants to make it’s industrial plants more closely resemble living, breathing, green plants: it’s not a bad idea, laudable really — but the rhyme is a bit of a stretch, eh?

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One form of rhyme that’s worth noting falls under the heading of Opposites:

In this case, the equation would be something like blue plus red equals unbiased. I haven’t checked the product, but the math is clean, and the divide the ad bridges is very real and quite perilous for democracy:

So opposites can be powerful. But it’s worth considering, too, the mind-numbing effect of seeing opposing commercials:

That’s not the kind of opposition you want if you’re Roundup, but exactly the kind of opposition you seek if you’re the legal opposition!

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Rhyming — twinning — as it’s dreamed up in the creative agencies of Madison Avenue, and no doubt Madison Wisconsin too, requires horizontal, associative thinking — thinking based on pattern recognition, thinking that makes creative leaps where similarities can be found in the midst of difference. Metaphors and analogies are woven of the same kind of thinking, rhyme in poetry, graphic match or match cut in enema, canon and fugue in music — and it’s the type of thinking my HipBone Games are designed to teach and practice, until they’re strong reflexes in your intellectual arsenal.

When readers or movie-goers, or just people watching commercials on TV, recognize patterns or rhymes — shaving a dog, then mowing a lawn, okay — it may elicit a chuckle the first time you see the ad, but you’re not sitting there to learn about dogs or lawns, or even Flonase unless you happen to need that kind of medicine. No, you’re there to see the next installment of the movie you’re watching, the next entertainment — which was almost certainly put together with less cash and care per minute or per frame than the commercials that slip into your mind almost subcutaneously.

And analogy — this type of analogical thinking — works. Analogy is the very heart of magic:

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Do you have time for another example?

Here we have analogy across time, as we did in the case of the Donegal fisherman, but this time woven into the telling of a very simple short story: he wants a Heineken, looks in the fridge, no luck, goes out onto the street, flags down a cab, takes a short ride, steps down from his Hackney Carriage about a century earlier, and gets the Heineken he was looking for. Plus ça change!

The Heineken’s the same — the six-pack at the end is the essence of difference!

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Previous episodes in the same series:

Advertising series 01: Music
Eros, the Renaissance and advertising
Authentic, spiritual magic!
The magic of advertising or the commercialization of magic?
Here’s magic!
The magic of miniatures

I imagine there will eventually be about twenty posts in the series..

Small into large, and other transforms

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — our advertising and magic series continues — the Volkswagen bug in its many transforms! ]
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In our last magic and commercials post, The magic of miniatures, we saw the power of associating the small with the large. Volkswagen seems toi have taken this idea to new levels, with the assistance of toy manufacturers and the film industry.

Let’s start here:

Okay?

Hey boy, c’here!

Remember Chuang-Tsu? Here’s a fragment in Burton Watson’s translation:

Once Chuang Chou dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn’t know he was Chuang Chou. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Chuang Chou. But he didn’t know if he was Chuang Chou who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang Chou. Between Chuang Chou and a butterfly there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things.

This post is all about the transformation of things, eh?

Okay, who’s dreaming here?

There and back again — the mechanics behind the dream:

Mechanized?

Speedy?

Lookee here, it’s love at first sight!

And finally, the film:

As we say in cricket, Howzzat??

Sports metaphors, metaphors, 30, & happy / unhappy phrasings

Friday, March 29th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — including an intermezzo with Bach’s links with Mendelssohn — as usual, quite a diverse haul ]
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Nicolle:

There are cracks in the frenzied spin from the White House around the Barr summary of the as-yet-unreleased Mueller report. As the President tracks down axes to grind, consensus is building around Robert Mueller’s refused to exonerate the President in the obstruction of justice investigation ..

Joyce Vance:

We’ve seen all these dots out in the pubic domain, indications of obstruction, and apparently Mueller wasn’t able to connect them, and the question is, Why?

Ari:

You just can’t write a book-report for a book you haven’t read ..

Disclosure: You can. I have.

Here’s a weird sequence..

And if that isn’t weird enough..

Okay, a twinning once I get the transcript: chyrons “Dem grills” / “bip[artisan rebuke”

**

A move I want to watch, and you may too: Hotel Mumbai:

Well, you know, ads intervene in even the best paid programming of mice and men .. and, you know, trailers are ads..

And BTW, the Roger Ebert reviewer wrote:

I watched and wrestled with Anthony Maras’ searing, startlingly confident debut “Hotel Mumbai,” where every fatal bullet fired out of the ruthless terrorists’ semi-automatic weapons hit me at my core.

That’s screen-to-viewer violence, as when the heaalights of a car sweeping up thr movie drive suddenly swerve and blind you..

Back to Hardball:

Regarding his work as a speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, Chris Matthews describes

The most honest and moral man, who honored the call of the prophet

Matthews opening clip:

Jumping over the Barr — let’splay Hardball

Comey:

Chris Matthews, quoting him:

.. all the smoke, if you will, of a deal between the President’s people and the Russians, all the interactions between them, he said — imagine if Obama, in a parallel universe, had those kinds of relationships with the Iranians, would you think they might have investigated it?

Pause.

Trump, a brief essay in turning the other cheek hitting back:

One of the things you should do in terms of success: If somebody hits you, you’ve got to hit ’em back five times harder than they ever thought possible. You’ve got to get even. Get even. And the reason, the reason you do, is so important…The reason you do, you have to do it, because if they do that to you, you have to leave a telltale sign that they just can’t take advantage of you. It’s not so much for the person, which does make you feel good, to be honest with you, I’ve done it many times. But other people watch and you know they say, “Well, let’s leave Trump alone,” or “Let’s leave this one,” or “Doris, let’s leave her alone. They fight too hard.” I say it, and it’s so important. You have to, you have to hit back. You have to hit back.

Times two:

Get even with people. If they screw you, screw them back 10 times as hard. I really believe it.

As a motto:

My motto is: Always get even. When somebody screws you, screw them back in spades.

Chris M:

He [DJT] goes after Adam Schiff .. says, He couldn’t hit a drive 50 yards..

I’m not sure, but today’s [3/29] DJT quote, “he’s not a long ball hitter” may belong here as a second shoe dropping? — or is it a different aport and different target?

Matthews, on healthcare:

Trump is walking right into that Gatling gun***** of defeat — why is he doing this?

**

Okay game of glass beads players, HipBone-style — here’s the Bach-Mendelssohn graph for your consideration:

And –I’m missing one name, which may be in the video — Bach, Mendelssohn and the Saint Matthew Passion:

— a direct line, as I understand it, of teachers and pupils from Bach to Mendelssohn..

Fox inserts:

Matthews:

My morning doppelgänger Joe Scarborough ..

**

Ok, a few loose quotes. I’m looking for Elizabeth Warren using the phrase “war of ideas” but the closest I could find was:

This is the fight of our lives. The fight to build an America that works for everyone, not just the wealthy and the well-connected. It won’t be easy. But united by our values, we can make big, structural change. We can raise our voices together until this fight is won.

Fight of our lives is as strong as fight metaphors get without adding details — Queensbury Rules boxing, Mixed Martial Arts in the Hexagon, a Jagger-style street-fighting man?

This one has been quoted often enough to fade into the woodwork:

The budget is a moral document.

A missing chyron — when people post videos of MSNBC shows, and probably other news channels too, they often leave off the last 5 minutes [sad face] — Green New Deal ignites firestorm ..

O’Donnell 3/28/2019:

.. the suspended animation as we wait for the actual Mueller report ..

Good one: suspended animation*****.

Unknown, 3/28 at 10.17:

Go to present day baseball, stay on the sidelines, stay out of it ..

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This is an oldie, but I saw it today and it’s a matter of concern for me as I deal with pain from amputations & neuropathy:

  • Patrick Radden Keefe, The Family That Built an Empire of Pain
  • **

    I’ll close with this tweet —

    — and this speech in response to DJT’s attack by Adam Schiff —

    — plus this in commentary, from Lawrence O’Donnell:

    This is just Kabuki theater, they have no power to remove Adam Schiff from his position ..

    Oiut.

    It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested 2

    Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — politics is the straightforward topic, metaphor is the metalanguage we use to describe it, and reveals more than it refers to ].
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    More chyrons &c from yesterday’s haul:

    **

    With regard to that last one:

    On Friday, Donald Trump tweeted the headline to a recent Washington Examiner story, which read: “Border rancher: ‘We’ve found prayer rugs out here. It’s unreal.’” As the headline suggests, the story is about a New Mexico rancher who claims to have seen prayer rugs—typically used by observers of Islam—near the U.S.-Mexico border. After the headline, Trump added this: “People coming across the Southern Border from many countries, some of which would be a big surprise.”

    His decision to amplify the Examiner piece has since come under scrutiny. Why? Because the prayer-rug story sounds an awful lot like something that happens in Sicario: Day of the Soldado, as several people have pointed out on Twitter.

    The 2018 action film, which revolves around the drug war along the border, opens with border agents chasing after a group of migrants—one of whom turns out to be a Muslim suicide bomber. He kneels, prays, then detonates his bomb. After that, agents come across abandoned prayer rugs along the border; in the next scene, three suicide bombers walk into a store in Kansas City and kill innocent civilians.

    A case of Matryoshka realities:

    The particular interest here from a formal point of view is that it is Borgesian or Escherian in its flipping of realities — but that only makes the Islamophobia more poisonous, because it’s delivered in what’s effectively a subliminal manner.

    **

    More chyrons etc:

    And the suggestions Melber’s viewers made for art illustrative of the Mueller probe:

    That whole painting series relates back to the Ari Melber conversation I quoted in the previous post, in which his guests suggested the Mueller probe and Giuliani in particular reminded them of Impressionism, Cubism and Jackson Pollock, surrealism, and Salvador Dali with his melting clocks..

    **

    Need to slip this in, it’s excerpted from my transcription of a clip of Hakeem Jeffries of the House Judiciary Cttee questioning Whitaker:

    Manafort. Gates, Cohen, Papanopoulos, and Stone. All in deep trouble. One by one, All the President’s Men, going down in flames. It’s often said, where there’s smoke there’s fire. There’s a lot of smoke emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue now. Yet. You decided not to recuse yourself, is that right?

    And I’m not sure when this exchange took place, but it’s Nicolle Wallace talking with Brennan, and the metaphor here comes from physics (Everett‘s many worlds theory) via science fiction:

    What’s it like to live in these parallel worlds, where the President doesn’t just want to have whatever policy he wants, he wants whatever facts he chooses to pursue that policy..

    The President. Nicolle says, doesn’t want facts, he wants — let’s call them ficts.

    And Nicolle to Brennan again:

    You’ve been warning about this sort of lurch towards autocratic behaviors — one of them is bashing the intelligence community, one of them is bashing law enforcement and the rule if low, another one is bashing the media..

    Bash, bash, bash.

    **

    Phew.

    Here are a few more chyrons from yesterday:

    And here’s a first chyron from today — this one continuing the shift of metaphoric emphasis from sports and games to warfare, the metaphor Trump uses is landmines.. metaphorically invoking hidden dangers that suddenly appear to attack you when you least expect it:

    One delicious ouroboros and miscellaneous chyrons &c

    Friday, January 25th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — all the way through to Roger Stone and a clip from Godfather II ]
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    First, in the place of honor, this brilliant sign protesting the government shutdown. Ouroboric in form, simple, succinct, pithy:

    That’s a protest haiku, if ever I saw one, in a detail from the original photo.

    **

    And while we’re on the topic of haikus, chyrons — those texts at the foot of TV screens — are the haiku of news media. Here are some I’ve collected recently — I’ll add more here as we go, since adding them in the comments section requires tweeting them so as to have a URL to work with..

    As I’ve said elsewhere, that Carter Page, Michael Caputo, Sam Nunberg, Jerome Corsi joint interview by Ari Melber was fantastic television.

    **

    I generally pick chyrons to screengrab for their game or war metaphors, but pithy and witty will get me every time.

    **

    Kelly O’Donnell (immediately above) said memorably, “It’s a sort of dueling banjos of legislation..”

    Hey:

    Double #FAIL

    And now, the Roger Stone indictment, with its movie reference. There have been plenty of pundits an news anchors referencing the Godfather movies, and that “textbook mob tactics” reference from the new chairmen of the Oversight and Intel committees. but AFAIK this is the first such reference from the Mueller team in a court document, and notable as such.

    Plus I guess I’ll need to revisit the Godfather series to keep up with current affairs..


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