Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Ad Nauseam USA

Adverts. We get inundated by them on a daily basis, like coitus interruptus during television shows or a slew of them before a movie. We even have to sit through them to watch a youtube clip these days. Adverts are everywhere.

It seems we can't do anything in our lives anymore without the spectre of consumerism casting its shadow over us, whispering softly into our ears -

"Buy something, wear something, eat this, drink that."

Most of the time it is not even a whisper, it's a shout, a great big bellow accompanied by a glitzy slap to the chops. BUY SOMETHING!!!!

Not all of us are slaves to adverts, some of the more discerning switch off, turn the channel over or shut our eyes and ears to the incessant call to delve into our wallets to buy something we think we need.

As you may be aware I am currently ensconced in New York City. As you may also be aware, this is not the place for those who dislike being sold to like a tourist in a bazaar. So it may surprise you to hear that I am not going berserk at the endless commercialism, in fact, I'm rather enjoying it.

I've been pondering over why -  in a land where you can't watch anything for more than ten minutes without a message being piped into your retinas for the new 'double cheese, half pound delux bacon cheese donut' or frankly mystifying catheter ads where a bevvy of earnest 'real folk' talk about how their lives have been changed by an invasive rubber tube - that all of this isn't driving me to gouge my eyes out with a titanium steak knife which is available now at an exclusive one-time-only price.

I think the answer lies in the earnest, single-minded determination to sell. There are no half measures or excuses. There is no pretense behind the will to drive the wheels of capitalism. I may not agree with the underlying sentiment but I have to concede that the advertisers in the States or a savvy bunch.

Chances are that I'm not going to buy 99% of anything that is advertised but I have to admit I've had a giggle at some of the more creative ways of selling a product. There's wit and somehow an honest sentiment behind it all. The lack of cynicism is refreshing, I don't feel as if they're trying to fool me into buying something. Maybe I'm going soft, but I haven't noticed the ads as much as I do in the UK.

As a full stop to this article, consider the production value and budget behind this Kia ad. You may hate it, you may think it's utter tosh and switch off after only a few seconds, that is your prerogative. However consider the scale, the sheer effort and dollar value that it must have taken to create this ad. Churchill the nodding dog this is not. I am not a huge fan of ads, but if I'm going to be sold to then I much prefer advertisers to throw the kitchen sink at me.


By the way, it still doesn't make me want to buy a Kia. But it has spaceships in it. You can't argue with spaceships.


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Dial M for Manhattan

New York City. Apparently if I can make it here, I can make it anywhere. Whoever wrote that iconic line has obviously never lived in Dundee.

So I have decided to swap the constant precipitation of Edinburgh for the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. As much as I like the elemental inundation of Scotland, the lure of Americana was too much to resist.

I have swapped out the Saltire for the Stars and Stripes, deep fried offal for deep fried everything. From a land burdened by history to a land still making its own. It should make for an interesting new point of view. 

I look forward to exploring the island, to meeting new and diverse people from every walk of life and absorbing myself into the cultural melting pot that is the city that never sleeps. Over the next few months I will be writing about my adventures, my observations on American life and injecting my sardonic wit into the sarcasm vacuum. 

It should be a lot of fun.