Saturday, August 8, 2009

Something Different


There is a disturbing trend in marketing these days and what's even more disturbing is that anyone not recognizing it probably won't give it a second thought before absorbing its subtle ugly message.

I tend not to pay much attention to advertising unless the commercial tickles my funny bone. However, there is nothing remotely tongue in cheek or otherwise funny about a candy commercial featuring peanut butter cups that spells out in really big letters that sharing is nice...but stupid.

This is an acceptable marketing ploy? Since when?

Did it start with reality shows that featured babies falling down and men being clobbered in really painful places, all while a host encouraged the audience to laugh? Or vicious people who get to say really spiteful things to contestants and have an audience respond favorably to their behavior? Are these the new alphas or simply the minions of alphas?

In the fictional shape shifting worlds that we build alphas are the dominants as they are in nature, they are the strongest, and as such are given the responsibility of protecting the pack, den or pride, their mate or mates, offspring, etc. They get the perks because they do the heavy lifting (so to speak).

But our alpha heroes look out for those less fortunate while the villains in our stories take advantage of them.

Whose responsibility is it to teach kindness? Sharing what you have with others less fortunate? I say it's everyone's responsibility. Every action has a consequence. The candy company can probably withstand my not purchasing their product. But do I need to be doing more? Do I need to be protesting this vehemently?

23 comments:

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

Hi Paris, I don't know the commercial you're talking about, but I'm totally with you on your opinion of some of the reality shows. It makes me wonder where all the good sense has gone. We were on the bus this morning going out to breakfast. I was watching the politeness of men in letting women of any age get on first. It was about 50/50. My hubby let 3 ladies plus me on first, and I was the only one who thanked him. I was in a very nice small hotel lobby yesterday. A family - 3 teens and 2 parents came in. One teen plopped himself down on a chaise lounge, his gym shoes flat on the red velvet covering, and neither parent corrected him. Wonder if they had red velvet upholstry at home would they be allowed to plop their big shod feet on it. Sorry, you started me going on this. I'll stop now. :-)

Jane

Paris said...

Jane,
Oh boy, if I had a nickel everytime I noticed how rude people have become, I'd be rich. Don't apologize! I keep thinking if enough of us speak up something might change;-)

Serena Shay said...

Are you kidding me... I've not seen this add yet, thank goodness! I'm astounded by so much of what's on TV these days. It's obvious that those in the advertising business have forgotten that impressionable young minds are watching!

My favorite commercial these days is the one where the little boy gets by the concert pianist. The little guy gets away from his mom and dad and starts playing Mary had a little lamb or so such song and the pianist joins him adding a classical flair to it. It's great and it's about mentoring.

Ads can be nice and make a statement.

Great post, Paris!

Paris said...

Serena,
thanks! I haven't seen that commerical yet. Sounds adorable and mentoring is a very positive thing that I think gets overlooked these days. I'll be looking for it!

WindLegends said...

My husband used to take issue with the commercials that made husbands...men in general...look like idiots. "Not funny," he'd say. "It is insulting."

Although our neighbor across the street won the first $100K contest there, he hated America's Funniest Videos and especially the stupid 'what happens next'. Watching men get hit in the groin is not funny and you don't see those guys laughing about it.

It's the society we live in today that makes people think it's okay to insult, badger, and otherwise humiliate one another. I blame the reality shows for all of it and there are more of that inane 'humor' coming down the pike in the Fall. It's enough to make you swear off TV.

Fran Lee Romance said...

I don't watch TV at all anymore, so I can't comment on the commercials or the reality shows. I stopped watching years ago. I don't even watch the news anymore. It disgusts me. But I can comment on kindness and rudeness.

There is NO excuse for blatant rudeness, and I make it a point to always thank anyone who holds a door or offers me a seat when others don't. I make eye contact with the person holding the door and I smile. If I see a child do something kind, and tell them they are wonderful. If I hold a door for another person and they brush past without saying thanks, I say, "You're welcome!" and just keep going.

If you think a commercial is awful or gives a bad message, simply send the company a letter to that effect (or an e-mail) and add "cc: Get Gephart" or "cc: Better Business Bureau" or "cc: Governor's Advocacy Group", or whatever will get the idiots thinking there might be a "movement" starting. I usually use the local big newspaper as a "cc:"

Tell the people who run the commercial it is out of line. And then tell the TV station. And turn off the reality shows and watch PBS or something with a little sanity. :)

Paris said...

WindLegends,
My husbands the same way! And I don't blame them, insulting people has gotten to be a way of life in our society and it makes me sick. Most of the time anymore I watch the history or science channel or watch a movie on DVD.

Paris said...

Fran,
Excellent point about copying the newspaper or any other group that might make them think. As for the reality shows, I don't watch them. My guilty pleasures are the ScyFy channel, history and science channels and I love the English mysteries on PBS. Other than that, I can usually be found reading;-)

Francesca Hawley said...

I haven't seen that ad yet, but I hate rudeness in general and there's no excuse for it. It's not hard to say "please" and "thank you." It costs nothing and makes others feel appreciated. It's a good thing.

In 2005 Lynne Truss (of "Eat shoots and leaves" fame) wrote a book called "Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door." It was hilariously funny, but also a sound commentary on the world. I don't think this is a brand new thing in the "what's the world coming to" kind of way. After all, politeness can be just as cruel as rudeness if it's done the correct way. People have been rude and cruel to others since time began. It just seems a bit more accepted now.

I like what you said about teaching kindness, Paris. I wish more people taught their kids about kindness and the golden rule. The world might be a nicer place.

Unfortunately, I often feel people have twisted the golden rule as either "do unto others as long as you can get away with it" or "do unto others as they do unto you...as long as they are friends or as long as they agree with your views on X." Fill in the blank for X.

But hey, if they disagree - then shout them down at best. Kill em at worst. The crap happening at congressional town halls this summer is appalling. I read today that some congressman actually got a death threat because he refused to hold a town hall meeting so a group of people bussed in for the occasion could disrupt the meeting. Grrrrr. I'll stop though - cause smoke starts coming out of my ears if I think about it too much...

Savanna Kougar said...

I say 'vote with your dollars' as much as possible, as in don't buy that kind of candy.
Personally, I don't watch TV anymore. I'd cut way back, only watching for the weather and a few shows like Heroes. DTV killed that because I have too many trees where I am... gee, I'm not cutting them down just to watch crap TV.

Whenever I'm out I attempt to be as kind as I can and I deeply appreciate those who still do the same. I always thank anyone who holds a door for me, or helps me in any way.

Sadly, the world as a whole is in steep decline and it won't be stopping anytime soon. People, in general, are feeling the horrific stress. Therefore, there will be a deep divide between those who behave with no respect and those who behave with deep respect toward others.

I'll have to disagree with Francesca on the town hall meetings. While, of course, a death threat is not acceptable, people have been so beaten up, so brutally abused by THE GOVERNMENT, those in the government, why wouldn't they behave as they are? This is nothing new. This is how our founding fathers and mothers behaved when King George didn't listen and didn't address their issues. Shouting at politicians is a time-honored American tradition. Simply take a look at the Whistle Stop train tours... yep, rotten tomatoes and shouting. And, in most cases, the politican deserved it.
Most people, according to the polls, do not want what the Congress is forcing on us as bill after bill. Congress is not listening to the people when they are being polite and going through the proper channels. Yep, shouts ensue now, as they did at the founding of this nation.

Marianne Stephens said...

Kindness should be taught at home, school, and as something seen on a daily basis in our lives. But, just look at politics and the ugly, insulting commericals they use pre-elections. We've become immune to these unkind behaviors. Reality shows are terrible, but millions of people watch and enjoy how people try to be devious in dealing with others.
And those shows playing homemade videos that are supposed to be funny? They count on making you laugh at someone's mistake, fall, etc. Since when does this kind of program show man's kindness to his fellow man?
TV, movies, and the way news is reported (to shock us) takes out any form of kindness and replaces it with taking advantage of others or just plain misuse/stretching the truth of information.

Paris said...

Francesca,

I didn't know about Lynn Truss' book but it sounds like something I need to check out! I've noticed that there are a lot of kids running around who don't know what the golden rule is and from the way their parents ignore their bad behavior--I don't think they are going to learn it from them. Thanks for stopping by and letting me know what you think!

Paris said...

Savanna,
I don't know what the answer is. I keep hoping it's middle ground because neither shouting or going through proper channels seems to be getting the job done. Just what that middle ground is, though, I haven't figured out.

As for the candy. I won't be eating that major brand of peanut butter cup anytime soon--not until they clean up that ad. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your opinions;-)

Paris said...

Marianne,
I think you have a valid point about becoming immune to the behavior. If you never see kindness you aren't going to recognize it or know how to respond. That's the saddest part, I think. I still believe though that we can make the world a better place, one person at a time--if that's what it takes. Thanks for stopping by!

Crystal Kauffman said...

More and more I feel like you gals are my long lost sisters. I completely agree with you! At first I thought I was just getting old, but then I realized the wrong messages have been crammed down our throats by television and advertising for years. Bratz dolls? YIKES! "It's all about me" whose slogan was that? Funny how I remember the selfish message, not who used it. It's sad that it's considered out of trend to use a positive message as your slogan these days.

I'm sticking to my theme: I write romance because there's enough hatred and violence in the world today. If you want a happy ending, pick up my book. You want a bad ending? Open a newspaper.

Paris said...

Crystal,
I read your post and for some reason the Michael Douglas character from "Wall Street" popped into my head. Do you remember his 'greed is good' speech? Ugh, it made me sick then and it makes me sicker now--because I think so many people bought into it.

Thanks for stopping by, sis;-)

Fran Lee Romance said...

Anger. Anger and mistrust. And anger and mistrust combined with fanaticism. Quite an explosive combination. One of the reasons I don't watch TV anymore is the semantics and hatred that are being strewn about like so much chaff. It gives me a stomach ache.

It becomes a matter of simple Karma. If you want something good, you must DO something good. What you toss out into the universe comes right back atchya. One way or another. To teach kindness, you must BE kind. To teach tolerance, you must BE tolerant. To teach compassion, you must BE compassionate. I remember my mother saying, "You teach your kids by your example." And it doesn't stop with just your kids. By your example, you can teach those around you.

Paris said...

Fran,
You are so right, my friend;-)Sometimes it's hard to remember with so much negativity around but you're right. What you put out into the universe comes back to you, I truly believe that. Thank you so much for coming by and sharing!

Katalina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katalina said...

think our entire culture is going through an overhaul. I remember the shock a few years ago when interrupting someone mid-sentence became acceptable. Talking loudly about personal matters in public on cell phones came next. Texting is steadily eroding people's ability to be coherent and wait their turn to speak. We need kindness, manners and clear communication. These things are social lubricates that help us function smoothly. I look forward to their rediscovery.

Paris said...

Katalina,
I know what you mean! I don't know how many times this has happened lately but I'm always so shocked when people interrupt when another person is speaking or thinking they're so fascinating that the world wants to listen in on their phone conversation. And don't get me started about texting, we'd be here all day!

Thanks so much for stopping by;-)

Anny Cook said...

That's one of the reasons I quit watching television and also the reason I watch few movies.

Paris said...

Anny,
I find myself watching less television than I used to. I'd rather be reading:-) Thanks for stopping by and letting me know how you feel!