Saturday, July 31, 2010

Where did these things come from?

This morning I find myself in some kind of bizarre, parallel universe where services that help you date a cougar or commit infidelity are no longer hidden in the depths of the internet, but are advertised openly on TV. The following isn't the same ad for that I saw during the Daily Show, but it exists (and apparently isn't allowed to run during that show "Cougar Town") and that is disturbing enough.

I mean, I'm all about being true to who you are, but can you imagine an ad for a service where the genders were reversed? (I assume it would be called "")

At the next commercial break, I saw this gem:

It has a song. It has a cartoon. It has me completely confused. Why does one need this service? People have been unfaithful since the dawn of time; this seems like offering a food mastication service. Evidently there have been previous, live action, "racy" ads for this service that make a better case for it: you see, Ashley Madison will help you keep it on the DL, so you aren't caught with your sexy secretary in your own bed. Instead, if the above version is to be believed, you'll go to a hotel with the creepiest lounge lizard they can find, and your slug of a husband will be none the wiser. I actually think their depiction of the husband works against them: the cartoon wife could clearly have had sex with her lounge lizard on his lap and he wouldn't have noticed.

What has our society come to? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Is there even a case to be made for it being a good thing? I can't believe these services are advertised during the Daily Show. They think that is there demographic. I think that means that they think I'm their demographic. Uhg. It's all so depressing.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Even more depressing chocolate

You may recall my prior ranting about Dove Promises being super depressing and strange. In fact, I didn't think they could be much worse and we had a little contest to create new wrapper-quotes. (Highlights include "That wasn't chocolate," "What the fuck, this isn't Chinook Winds?", "Try not to kill anyone today" and "If you're looking for wisdom here, God only knows where you're looking for love.") In the intervening year and a half, Dove seems to have had its own contest, the results of which are attributed to their submitters below the quote on the wrapper. The chocoholic-penned missives aren't any better than the ones Dove was coming up with in their Marketing Lab, but they somehow feel sadder, more depressing. It was Pete who realized that the attribution - the connection to an actual living person - makes what are basically the same sayings significantly more soul crushing. Seriously, guys: I wish we had thought of this back in 2008. It's a brilliant plan on Dove's part. Here is what I assume to have been their logic:
Who eats a lot of chocolate? Depressives.
What does chocolate do for them? Makes them feel a little better.
What happens then? They eat less chocolate.
How can we make them want more chocolate/be more depressed upon opening each candy? Positive-sounding messages that are subconsciously destructive.
But perhaps you don't believe me. Okay, sure. Here are some messages from the chocolates a year ago:
  • Love is always the perfect gift.
  • Joy is contagious.
  • Your presence is often the best present.
  • Friendship is a gift in itself.
  • A smile is the perfect gift, personal and encouraging.
And here are some from the current candies:
  • Say "I love you" every day to your loved ones. --Donna, Grand Junction, CO
  • Love yourself. Dare to dream. Live on purpose! --Dana, Highland, IN
  • Live every day up to your expectations, not others. --Reena, Brentwood, TN
  • Indulge in the moments that matter most. --Nicole, Williston, FL
These are the most depressing mantras I've ever seen. "Live on purpose?" I think I know what she means, but as far as an inspiring, organizing principle, it assumes that you're stumbling around, purposelessly "living on accident" or something. This lady believes that the most inspiring thing a chocolate can tell you is to actively make choices. And I think, by definition, "the moments that matter most" cannot be an indulgence. Every time I read that, I imagine some sad single mom working three jobs, unable to attend her child's birthday party or graduation because her unfeeling manager is making her work swing shift even though she requested the time off weeks ago, so she shares a celebratory pancake with her off-spring before work, feeling like a queen sitting at the syrup-sticky kitchen table directing her own fate, and arriving ten minutes late to the 76 station with made-up excuses about a late bus. I mean, that's story telling. Dove's really weaving a whole narrative with those ten words. 

Ugh. I'm so depressed. I think I need some chocolate.