July 13, 2012
I was thinking about the concept of love/hate. Not love (puppies, your children, etc) or hate (terrorists, traffic, etc) or even of loving to hate (Abba, Reality TV, etc) but love/hate, that odd state of experiencing both feelings more or less at the same time.
Staying on point with this blog, nothing in my view exemplifies love/hate like advertising. Everybody hates TV commercials but loves them, too. We can’t stand how commercialized our culture is but are fiercely patriotic about it. Don Draper is loathsome… but awesome!
I wrestle with it daily. The strap line for my blog is “We make you want what you don’t need.” Hell, I wrote a novel about it, The Happy Soul Industry. Advertising plays fast and loose with most all the Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony, Lust, Envy, Pride and so on. Coveting is bad juju. Materialism is pagan. Yet, these dark drivers steer us like go-carts, careening us into one another and ultimately ourselves. Outside of the Dalai Lama, I can’t think of anyone who is exempt from this conflict. And I even wonder about him…
“I love those Geico ads.”
What other thing inspires the majority in such a way? Politics? Maybe. Though when push comes to shove we generally take a side. We choose. And while it’s unlikely we ever love a candidate we certainly can and do hate the other.
There are variations of Love/Hate. We adore music but we abhor certain kinds of music. We crave food but loathe many dishes. I, myself, dig peanuts but despise peanut butter, which, of course, is another variation on this theme. And what about the laws that keep our society intact? Love those but hate lawyers. And yet what parent doesn’t want their kid to grow up to be one?
What’s unique about advertising is that we all most certainly would love a world without it yet at the same time would likely hate the world we live in without it. Paying to watch sports on TV? Times Square without neon? The Internet without banners… Okay, scratch that last one.
Ah, the Internet! That’s one isn’t it? In it’s pure state so free and unbridled by advertising. But what are the most popular domains? Amazon, Craig’s List, Ebay… That’s right. Basically all Advertising! OMG, it’s like brain freeze, which, by the way, I secretly love.