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Advertising series 01: Music

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — trying to gauge the appropriateness of music in TV advertising, and getting the sense that music has a — frankly — higher purpose. And then? ]
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I’ve been trying to figure out, from the poetry plane, just what it is that music does or is, or where, and as I’m watching TV commercials, I’m struck each time classical music is used, and forced to consider the role that music plays — in the ads, in my life, and in our lives. Commercials, like haiku, are highly concentrated affairs, and I’ve been learning a lot.

In brief —

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I don’t terribly mind that you can jazz the greatest of composers IMO, in what feels more like a virtuoso exercise than music as such..

Flying Bach:Red Bull

And when the music is jazzy to begin with, no problem — fun, even ..

Rhapsody in Blue: United

Unh — and ditto, speeded up:

High speed Orchestra: Porsche

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But Ave Maria?

Ave Maria: Planters

I guess that’s arguably a Hail Mary overpass, and the Ave Maria only slips in very briefly while the peanut’s in flight, so I’ll let it slide by..

But then I must admit I do get a bit uneasy about the semi-sacred last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth being repeatedly associated with a somewhat silly sad for a line of sports-car, lovely though they are:

Ode to Joy: Alfa Romeo

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The Hallelujah Chorus comes from a sacred oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, to be sure, but Messiah has been drifting from the sacred towards the social for decades, maybe even a century… Boots, though?

Hallelujah: Boots and Shoes

That seems a bit off-kilter: ads are repetitive things, and the idea that millions of concert-goers may have a less than stellar shoe ad pop into their heads in the middle of Handel’s iconic work — not a great taste to leave in the metaphorical mouth, methinks.

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Compare this commercial using the Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem

Mozart Requiem: DirecTV

— with this paragraph from the philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis:

Remember that philosophers almost always start by saying: “I want to see what being is, what reality is. Now, here is a table. What does this table show to me as characteristic of a real being?” No philosopher ever started by saying: “I want to see what being is, what reality is. Now, here is my memory of my dream of last night. What does this show to me as characteristic of a real being?” No philosopher ever starts by saying “Let Mozart’s Requiem be a paradigm of being, let us start from that.” Why could we not start by positing a dream, a poem, a symphony as paradigmatic of the fullness of being and by seeing in the physical world a deficient mode of being, instead of looking at things the other way round, instead of seeing in the imaginary — that is, human — mode of existence, a deficient or secondary mode of being?

DirecTV? You can count me out.

Kurt Vonnegut quite wonderfully explains:

I am enchanted by the Sermon on the Mount. Being merciful, it seems to me, is the only good idea we have received so far. Perhaps we will get another idea that good by and by-and then we will have two good ideas. What might that second good idea be? I don’t know. How could I know? I will make a wild guess that it will come from music somehow. I have often wondered what music is and why we love it so. It may be that music is that second good idea being born.

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Frankly, I don’t think commercials are up to the Castoriadis / Vonnegut standard.

But let me leave you with a puzzzlement, a koan — assuming you haven’t diverged too far from my perspective thus far. If the Mozart Requiem should be spared participation in TV advertising, what do you think of Bach — remember Bach? — being embedded in a grisly scene from Silence of the Lambs?

Hannibal Lecter plays Bach:

Masterpiece within a masterpiece? Okay?

Announcing two new Zenpundit series

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — Bannon goes to the Vatican, & the magic of advertising, a Renaissance perspective ]
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I’m announcing two new series, which may take a while to get u& the maginder way.

One has to do with Steve Bannon taking on Pope Francis:

while the second will examine the triangle, trinity, or threesome of magic, tech and commercials:

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Watch these spaces!

Don’t you mess with (2) the night sky, superb and sacred

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — a disgusted follow-on to Don’t you mess with my mother the moon ]
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Disgust:

This Chinese City Wants to Launch an ‘Artificial Moon’ to Replace Street Lights

The streets of Chengdu in western China could soon be lit up by an artificial satellite moon in the night-time, rather than the more conventional streetlights, if an ambitious plan by a private aerospace company gets the go-ahead.

The thinking is to save a hefty sum in electricity costs, according to Wu Chunfeng, chairman of the Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co., who is behind the scheme.

Rather than using up energy here on Earth, the satellite would reflect the Sun’s rays from the other side of the planet back on to Chengdu. [ .. ]

The illumination on the ground would be about eight times what you would expect from the actual Moon, Chunfeng says.

Have they not read Li Po, Bo, or Bai‘s great poem, The Jewel Stairs’ Grievance, given here in the translation by Ezra Pound?

The jewelled steps are already quite white with dew,
It is so late that the dew soaks my gauze stockings,
And I let down the crystal curtain
And watch the moon through the clear autumn.

Were they not taken with the footnote?

Jewel stairs, therefore a palace. Grievance, therefore there is something to complain of. Gauze stockings, therefore a court lady, not a servant who complains. Clear autumn, therefore he has no excuse on account of weather. Also she has come early, for the dew has not merely whitened the stairs, but has soaked her stockings. The poem is especially prized because she utters no direct reproach.

Do they not watch the moon? Taste it?

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Disgust:

Russian Startup Wants to Put Ads in Low-Earth Orbit to Ruin The Sky For Everybody

Advertising?

Must I really quote this stuff?

“We are ruled by brands and events,” project leader Vlad Sitnikov told Futurism.

“The Super Bowl, Coca Cola, Brexit, the Olympics, Mercedes, FIFA, Supreme and the Mexican wall. The economy is the blood system of society. Entertainment and advertising are at its heart.

“We will live in space, and humankind will start delivering its culture to space. The more professional and experienced pioneers will make it better for everyone.”

Faugh! For shame!

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Have I not whispered to another under the stars those words of William Butler Yeats:

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

I am heart-hurt.

Rape the night sky, and what are lovers to wrap themselves in? poets to raise their cups to?

PCMatic: at war, the people’s militia, resistance .. and metaphors?

Friday, January 18th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — an ad that blew my mind, mil metaphor piled on mil metaphor, and various ways to name theenemy, eh? — troika, wolf pack.. ]
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Here we go.

I was staggered to see the number of military / militant references inj this commercial —

  • our country is at war,
  • a cyber war
  • the enemy, ransomeware, is rapidly growing in sophistication
  • the enemy is exploiting a hole in our defenses
  • we are pcmatic, the people’s militia to defeat the ransomware empire
  • patriots of the resistance
  • we believe we can build an army
  • we will defeat this enemy and win the war
  • join the ransomware resistance.
  • This is the largest cluster of related metaphors I’ve seen in an ad, and I’m curious as to its rhetorical intent..

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    Tina Nguyen has written a fascinating piece for Vanity Fair’s Hive on the metaphors we use for The Enemy, better known perhaps as Them:

  • Axis of evil
  • Network of death
  • Troika of tyranny
  • Triangle of terror
  • Sordid cradle of Communism in the Western Hemisphere
  • Wolf pack of rogue states

  • Cabal of Crazies
  • Circle of Scoundrels
  • League of Extraordinary Villains
  • Oh so much more potent than calling them Hostile statesWolf pack of rogue states is superb!

    The first set above presents ye actual efforts by various pols to provide metaphorical aid to the othering of our enemies — propaganda at its most succinct — whereas the second set consists of jokers’ parodies & the like — second order propaganda at the expense of the first.

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    I’ll be using the comments section of this post for further “collections” (metaphors of war, sports, etc, headlines, chyrons, misc items of interest), and may add some stellar examples — if they “fit” — here in this post.

    Sunday surprise — jeeps with souls, telepathic cars

    Sunday, October 28th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — are the shows on TV the medium’s waking life, and advertisements its dreams? ]
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    My mom was Freedom, and my dad, Adventure. They baptized me in mud and christened me on rock, so I got tougher, they fostered a love of learning so I got smarter, taught me to appreciate the finer things in life sp I became more civilized and refined. Thank you, Freedom and Adventure, for giving me this rugged, civilized, wandering soul..

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    .. we’re helping to give cars the power to read your mind from anywhere ..

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    A Jeep is machinery, an engine, a tool, a prosthetic — but now it has a soul — how was that achieved. Is it a shiny new species of Golem? Did someone breathe the Name into it? And the car that Dell is teaching to read minds — does it too have a soul?

    I appreciate Dell, am now on my second or fifth Dell laptop, and I once rolled a Jeep over, and myself and senior son escaped with barely a scratch between the pair of us. It was one of those California days, the road slick with first rain, and I wrote 150 pages for DC charitable NGO as court-required penance.

    My intent is not to knock (diss) Dell or Jeep — in fact I appreciate their products and admire the skills displayed by their advertising agencies — but simply to point up the quasi-spiritual ways in which these ads present cars. There are good insights into humanity, in fact, to be found in these depictions of machines.

    Here’s to (human) real-life civilized, wandering souls!


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