I haven’t been blogging for a bit, now; I’ve been working on passing my Qualifying Exams. But I’m back for a while and will be presenting to you what are some hopefully thought-provoking posts! I won’t explain this post too much, now, (I’ll save that for a follow up post), but it’s connected to my dissertation. My dissertation is on authenticity and God, and the idea of authenticity is intimately bound up with the notion of identity-formation, which I’d like to explore with you in this post and some posts to come.
In this particular post, I want to ask a few simple questions: what does it mean to be authentic?, can a consumer product make you truly authentic?, how do advertisers use a desire to become authentic to create effective, even visually beautiful, advertisments? I’ve given three examples below and would love it if you could post some commercials with similar explanations in the comments section.
This first commercial is my personal favorite. It is a Miracle Whip commercial. By means of an extremely fun looking hipster party and lines like “don’t be so mayo,” Miracle Whip makes the case that its sandwich spread can summon and articulate the true you. As an aside, Stephen Colbert had a lot of fun toying with this commercial on the Colbert Report.
Using a quite catchy and appropriately titled song called “Bourgeois Shangri-la,” the second commercial advertises the new video-recording capability of the ipod nano. Especially notable are the dancers, each of whom are trendily dressed in colors similar to the ipods recording them and are dancing with distinctly free-spirited moves. The theme in this commercial is the same as the last: by buying the ipod with which you most closely identify, you will be able to express an important and “original” aspect of your identity.
While the first commercial is still my favorite, in many ways, the third commercial is the most interesting. The commercial is selling a birth-control pill that allows a woman to (cleverly) “re-punctuate” her life and menstruate only four times per year. The commercial evokes a very postmodern theme, namely, that identity is a social construction and that menstruation is too. The commercial is driven by the theme, “who says…,” the connotation of which is that you need not be anything that you do not want to be. Instead, be whom you are: someone who identifies less with your menstrual cycle.
With these commercials in mind, fire away! I’d love to find some more of these.