Friday, March 26, 2010

Commercial appeal

First line of a commercial today for a standard Ikea wall clock:

This clock has a very tasteful design.

Second line:

You should buy this clock because it was in one of the buildings on September 11.

That makes buying the clock both tasteful and commemorative. Like this tank top.

9/11 tank top

Serious question: do you think anyone buys these to wear ironically? Does it work?

Incidentally I bought a tee shirt today at the annual Student Charity Sale. The real reason that I taught a lesson on advertising this week is to tie-in with the real life fact that my students are selling each other goods this week in order to raise money for charity. Really it’s just an excuse to confirm all sorts of stereotypes about Chinese merchants, which I will not dwell on here. (I don’t think that’s the official purpose of the sale, but it might as well be as far as I’m concerned; today I literally heard a student say, “We give you very good price!”)

I bought the tee shirt because my students really are good advertisers. Just like we had discussed in class, they succinctly summarized the product’s benefits: high quality, low price, also functions as a great memento of a national tragedy. And really because the students trying to sell it to me were really cute. It’s hard not to be swayed when, whenever I walked up to one of the sales booths, a student would catch sight of me and excitedly turn to her (ok yeah usually this was a girl student) classmates and say, “Jon’s here!!!” And after that I start having thoughts like, “I never listen to music as I fall asleep, and in fact it would probably make it harder for me to fall asleep, but I should probably buy this apple-shaped pillow with an iPod jack in it, just to be safe.” And so I did buy that apple shaped pillow. And a small playing card with a drawing of a man’s legs and “MOON WALK” written on it in big letters. And a large yellow clip that cost me 10 RMB but whose use still escapes me.

Anyway, we’re all done with advertisements. Other highlights were a group that claimed a small angel ornament was “the spirit of Michael Jackson”, a group that said that the gnome I discussed earlier had been owned by Hitler, and one guy who hit himself in the testicles while he was swinging a computer mouse around by the cord. That wasn’t really part of the ad. That just happened. He spent a good 30 seconds doubled over in pain while the rest of the class laughed and laughed and laughed. Ironically this was probably the ad that looked the most like one we would actually enjoy in America.