Friday, February 20, 2009

the Globe and the material life

The Boston Globe which has historically earned its living publishing materialist porno such as this Decorating DERRING-DO article from a year ago, is having trouble adjusting to the new realities. One of the owners of a "charming property in the Berkshires" makes a token acknowledgment of the virtue of thrift, or rather what a rich person imagines this curious notion of "thrift" might be like. They have "given themselves a renovation budget of just $15,000 a year". A pittance!

"Neither of us likes debt. So if you are looking at faucets, and the one you like is $1,400, you don’t just buy it,” Holben says. “You keep looking till you find the one you like better for $230."

A real pennypincher! Here's a nice Moen one-handle for $229.67 at Home Depot. Acceptable! But Holben's thrift does not extend, of course, to for example the 708 faucets available for less than $100. We do have our standards, after all.

More recently we see an article Closet Case, in which a young woman laments that she has 250 pairs of shoes, and so many clothes that her bedroom closet collapsed. Oh dear! Solution? Re-examination of materialist values? No, silly--hire a consultant to turn an extra bedroom into a walk-in closet!

The current "Spending Smart" series includes an article Gardening, is easy, thrifty, which compares the savings of growing your own tomatoes to the $3 you might pay for a single tomato in "some pricey groceries". And don't forget to plant some fancy heirlooms, to "impress your friends". That's spending smart!

tooting your own cheesy horn

We are lucky to live near the Market Basket in Salem, where can be found Macaroni and Cheese, Made with Real Cheese! Calling attention to the fact that On-Cor, unlike those other producers, proudly declines to exploit an apparent legal loophole that allows a product to be called "Macaroni and Cheese", even if it contains no cheese!

No such deceit for these guys, no sir. In the high stakes world of macaroni and cheese advertising, they've boldly drawn the line at the cheese, and taken their stand by God. Imagine the marketing work behind this. The frozen foods section of the On-Cor account assigned to some junior advertiser (or maybe those high-stakes guys on "Trust Me") who dreamt once, perhaps, of the DeBeers account, pondering the product differentiation. Can't really use a nutritional angle, so comes up with this. Next stop, the ravioli--"Good source of calcium and protein!"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

the high stakes world of advertising

The trailer for a new TNT show "Trust Me" runs this blurb:

In the high stakes world of advertising, only the best of friends will survive.

Google "high stakes world of advertising" to see its use, not ironically, by the consumerist-mad Boston Globe, in an article about amateur ads, selling a Mad Man Wall Calendar (wow, talk about high stakes!), and other places.

"High stakes" advertising is an oxymoron. A lot of money changes hands in advertising of course, but that doesn't mean that any of it actually matters. What their job boils down to:

Here are the two stars of Trust Me:

The one on the left used to be on uh,
Sex and the City no--Will & Grace. He's thinking, is the cheese too orange?

The one on the right was on Will & Grace no--something called "Ed". He's thinking, are the wedges of cheese wide enough?

If I close my eyes, I cannot these two guys apart.