On Sunday night I had the pleasure of watching the Oscars with a few friends. It was there that I came to realization that, like the Superbowl, the Oscars are a massive public spectacle, albeit slightly gayer. The point is, there was a huge audience of people watching the awards show that took place sunday night.
And it was during that awards show that I saw a commercial that made me want to throw up. It was an ad for Citizen’s Bank that depicted the Founding Fathers endorsing their bank. Now, I’m sure many of you are shrugging your shoulders and wondering what the big deal is. It is just a commercial after all. And who cares about what their mascot is? What’s the difference between using a talking gecko and using the founding fathers?
The difference is massive. For one thing, it’s desecrating the memories of the men who founded this country purely for financial gain. These are people who are so important to us that we put their images on our currency. The thing that is most fucked up about this is how up in arms people would be if they put other dead celebrities in commercials. Like Whitney Houston. People would be shitting their pants if a Whitney Houston look-alike was on-screen singing about how she’ll always love Citizen’s Bank.
But that’s the least of the troubles. Because really, who gives a shit about the memories of men who have been dead for two hundred years? The real issue with this commercial is what it’s doing on a subliminal level.
It’s a fact taken for granted that everything a person sees that has been filmed has been planned out. Because directors can do as many takes as they want until they get it right, thought is put into every detail. And this commercial, right down to its most basic premise, is planned out to elicit a certain response in the viewer. I’ll bet the marketing team behind this one gave themselves a huge pat on the back when they thought of this commercial.
It’s no secret that the banks are fucking us. And I don’t mean gentle, emotional love-making. I mean hardcore, all-anal, is-this-porn-star-actually-getting-raped fucking. They’re taking away our homes and destroying the economy without facing any sort of consequences. All they need to do is throw money at politicians in order for a blind eye to be turned. Naturally, this is a PR shit-storm. Which is where this commercial comes in.
What’s more patriotic or American than the founding fathers? Maybe an Eagle with an M16 in it’s beak, a Big Mac in one talon, a bottle of Coke in the other with an American Flag superimposed over an explosion in the background. What this commercial is attempting is to make a link in the viewer’s minds between Citizen’s Bank and the founding fathers. The founding fathers would never do anything to harm this country. The founding fathers want us to be free and pursue life, liberty and happiness! Citizen’s Bank, on the other hand, wants nothing but our money and will use every dirty trick in the book to get it.
So the idea behind this commercial is to make the connection between Citizen’s bank and the positivity and patriotism that the founding fathers inspire in most Americans. They want you to think that Citizen’s is good for America. That Citizen’s cares about Americans. This is propaganda at its finest because it’s implanting a certain image in the minds of the people, giving the banks the freedom to do just the opposite.
And this commercial is by no means an outlier. Every commercial is designed to influence the way that you think. Every commercial is trying to convince you of something. And we’re bombarded with them on a daily basis. The ones that are most effective are usually the most subtle. So it would be wise to pay some thought as to why the marketers decided to make their commercials the way they do. The best thing to ask yourself is “What is this commercial trying to convince me of?”
Better still is to just stop watching TV. I mean, you’ll never find an advertisement in a book…