Merry Christmas!

Monday, 24 December 2007

Yep, that’s right, Merry Christmas. Not Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings. ‘Cuz you alison-driscoll-santa.jpgknow what? Tomorrow is Christmas, not Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or any other Wintery holiday. So Merry Christmas to all.

For whatever reason, I didn’t really get into the Christmas spirit much this year; I really think the internet has taken a toll on my festive-ness. I did a lot more shopping online and consequently was waaaaaay more annoyed by the mall than in past years, when mall shopping was almost guaranteed to put me in a merry mood. I also started thinking about how much of this holiday really is just about advertising…but more on that once Christmas is officially over, I don’t want to be the Scrooge in my family.

Then, there are all the Christmas vs. Holiday debates. I’ve been annoyed by the PC-ness of this issue in the past, but never noticed its full extent until I became more active in the blogosphere.

I also broke my wrist (and yes, my cast is pink), which makes shopping and baking, my two most favorite Christmas activities, very difficult. Even online shopping; I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to type with a cast on but, it is a biznatch, let me tell you. And as oftwo_tone_flamingo_pink.jpg yet, I’ve not discovered online baking, so there goes my other creative Christmas outlet.

In short, the internet has Grinched me this year. The etailers have isolated me from the masses, and the blogosphere has educated me on the horridly money-driven consumerism we dress up as Christmas. Then, to make matters worse, even this all-powerful network could not bake me a batch of Christmas cookies.

So, unless mommy dearest has been keeping up with my blog and got me some USB bling, I’ve lost my faith in the internet. I’m going back to Santa; he never left me spam.

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Don’t disturb the dinosaurs

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Finally, someone is in my corner, defending the recently legal drinkers in the work force…OK, so they called us “the young” and it’s Advertising Age, a print publication that is traditional media-centric and still trying to get the hang of this new-fangled internet ‘thang…but still. At last, some “authority” came out and admitted that “the young aren’t stupid.”

I was super excited when I first read this post, as I deal with pig-headed clients who refuse to listen to or accept my advice once they’ve met me and realized how old I am. I’ve also been told I don’t “look smart.” It was meant as a compliment, but who knows.

Anyway, my point is, Advertising Age, a somewhat stodgy and “the man” of old-school advertising, had to tell people we are a force to be reckoned with. My issue is not with the blog post, but with the fact that it warranted being written.

As the youngest member of the BU faculty, Jonathon Feit undoubtedly has dealt with much more ageism than I could ever encounter. I understand his frustrations with present day dinosaurs, and I applaud him for finding a way to make people sit up and listen, ‘cuz hey, I’m doing the same thing right here. What upsets me is where it ran.

I’m assuming Feit, or some editor somewhere, thought the only way to grab the ageists’ attention was to get it in “their” press. Good thinking, except you used the blog, not the print magazine, which is what the very people you’re targeting put more stock in. Strike one.

Now, as much as I enjoyed reading the post (which is my next problem with it, but we’ll get there), I’m not the one being convinced. To really convince the target demographic, I think an author in the same age bracket as the target would have been more effective. Strike two.

Unless, of course, Feit wanted to direct it towards the old dogs to disguise a simple self-congratulatory pat-on-the-back post. I know I liked it, but I’m the choir; does he really think he’s going to get these old dogs turning tricks? Strike three, you’re out.

Definitely read “The Young Aren’t Stupid-but They Are Changing Your World” if you already believe that. Chances are, if you’re here, you figured that out on your own. If not, check out some amazing young’uns I only sometimes dare to compare myself to, like Amanda Gravel and Dan Zarrella. They truly demonstrate just how, like, not stupid we totally aren’t.

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Yes, all marketing is sexist…sort of

Monday, 03 December 2007

I’ve often asked if all marketing is sexist, and I think the answer is yes. Or at least, all advertising is offensive, if you look hard enough.

Advertising works on the principle thatpostagedm2711_468×705.jpg something is wrong or missing, and the product being advertised will solve that problem. To get that point across, someone must be portrayed as stupid, lazy or incompetent-in a word, inferior. Women were always the easy scapegoat, so old “classic” ads used women to show how the product they were hawking would make their lives better, by giving them more time, praise, love…whatever.

So, if advertising is simply reflecting the times and mores of society, perhaps we need to change in the hopes advertising will follow, instead of expecting them to sell us values and useless consumer products. I’ve seen a shift in commercials recently as they start to portray men as helpless and unintelligent. But is this a step forward or across? Improvement or redirection of sexism?

I came across this book of old, exceedingly sexist ads which I think gets at a point I made about the Heineken commercial. These “classic” ads are hilarious now because they are so over the top that we can’t take them seriously. But, they were seriously degrading when they were first released.

While it’s obvious we’ve come a long way, I maintain that advertising will always be sexist, or racist, or ageist, or some other -ist that alludes to some form of stereotype, because it is easier to sell that way. It’s just a question of who the next scapegoat will be.

Oh, and the book is definitely being added to my Christmas list. Please let me know of any similar books or memorabilia that might be of interest, ‘cuz I’ve been very good this year.

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