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April 27, 2010 4:08 PM   Subscribe

"The first ten minutes of Up, with superior white goods": John Lewis' new ad, intended to show the whole life of a customer, is far more emotional than anything that's trying to sell you stuff ought to be. (MLYT)

(And while we're on the topic of ads that somehow ended up tugging the heartstrings - Shelter - the only time Radiohead have authorised their track for a commercial - and Hovis, which takes a similar tack to the John Lewis ad but packs 100 years of British social history into a single errand.)
posted by mippy (164 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite

 
Not something to watch when you're traveling on business and away from home.
posted by jquinby at 4:16 PM on April 27, 2010


I like it...kinda reminded me of the last few minutes of the Six Feet Under finale.
posted by aerotive at 4:17 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I liked the Hovis ad the best.
posted by sciurus at 4:18 PM on April 27, 2010


When I heard Billy Joel I started rolling my eyes... But I was out-snarked like 4 seconds in.

Great commercial.
posted by alvarete at 4:19 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Up scene really shouldn't be watched without seeing the beginning of the movie. The first few minutes do an incredible job of establishing Ellie as a likable character, making the "lifetime passing" scenes all the more touching.

That's where the Up scene shines. Not in the "lifetime in a few minutes" style of it, but in connecting the audience so deeply to a character they have barely met.
posted by graventy at 4:19 PM on April 27, 2010 [16 favorites]


For those outside of the UK, white goods are major appliances, and John Lewis is a department store. JL has a page for that ad, which discusses their efforts to match and beat prices of other shops, with the note: Our price commitment excludes online-only retailers, for whatever that's worth.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:21 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Same idea here and then in reverse.
posted by elgilito at 4:22 PM on April 27, 2010


What an amazing piece of filmmaking. Advertising or no, that's one of the most impressive short sequences I've ever seen.
posted by Malor at 4:22 PM on April 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Nothing compared to the most heart-tugging commercial ever: Lamp.
posted by jeffkramer at 4:24 PM on April 27, 2010 [66 favorites]


It's not actually Billy Joel, btw, it's Fyfe Dangerfield of Guillemots 'fame'.

graventy, I just watched that sequence again and started crying pre-emptively.

with the note: Our price commitment excludes online-only retailers, for whatever that's worth.

It's really complicated, but basically, Never Knowingly Undersold is a historical promise that has existed long before internet shopping, so it's seen as a viable guarantee against other high-street retailers.
posted by mippy at 4:25 PM on April 27, 2010


Hey, that's great.

I still have no earthly idea who or what a John Lewis is, though.

And, I don't know. Emotional? It's just a depiction of a very typical western, white human life cycle with a generic "we give a shit" message tacked on, innit?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:25 PM on April 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


The best one I saw like this, I can't find, but I'm pretty sure it was Vimeo. It was constructed not in one contiguous shot, but disconnected shots from the point of view of a single person. You realize he's growing up because you're looking through his eyes at his mother, his school, his life, etc. One cheeky shot is even a "stolen moment" of him looking up a young girl's skirt when he was a boy.

The last shot is his wife and adult son looking down at him, worried, because he's apparently had a heart attack, and you've been watching his life flash before his own eyes.

Wish I could find it again. Google-fu is failing me.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:26 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's a nice little guilt trip for you: "Stork."
posted by Iridic at 4:27 PM on April 27, 2010 [8 favorites]


Didn't find it impressive at all. Obvious idea, mediocre execution.
posted by fire&wings at 4:28 PM on April 27, 2010 [11 favorites]


Nice piece of filmmaking, crap song choice (and I say that as a Billy Joel apologist). But really? The first grader is "suddenly cruel?" Lyrics aside, it's not even close to the right emotional feel.

Btw here is the video the post refers to. In case you got every confused like me and thought it was somehow about the movie "up."

posted by drjimmy11 at 4:28 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who's that shifty looking guy in the last frame? Yikes!
posted by biddeford at 4:31 PM on April 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


The Hovis slogan at the end confused me: were the Suffragette demonstrations and whatever the circa 1980s police vs protesters even the good times? The results, possibly (as I'm not sure what the 1980s event was), but still odd.

Never Knowingly Undersold is a historical promise that has existed long before internet shopping

I understand. Circuit City, when it was still a chain of stores, had a similar slogan (minus the long history), but limited the price comparison to local competitors. Best Buy was able to undercut them, and neither brick-and-mortar shop could compare with internet-only sales.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:32 PM on April 27, 2010


It's just a depiction of a very typical western, white human life cycle

Oh, how dare they!
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 4:33 PM on April 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


Sometimes I think I spread my life too thin.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 4:33 PM on April 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


Ah, you know what this reminds me of? The heartsrings-tugging greasy-lens adwork ofHal Riney. (More)
posted by Sys Rq at 4:34 PM on April 27, 2010


I can't be having with Billy Joel, but I thank you for this, for reminding me of Carl and Ellie, because BAWL. I started tearing up after those few seconds at the doctor's office.

The only commercial to ever catch me there was a dog food commercial. I can't remember which brand it was. It showed a golden retriever puppy, playing with a little girl; then a teenage girl walking the big healthy full-grown retriever; then a young woman helping the gray-nosed old dog up the stairs . . . whine . . .
posted by Countess Elena at 4:35 PM on April 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Good grief, it's really good then that I didn't go see Up. And yes, I got somthin in my eye, leave me alone, darn it....
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:36 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


It was constructed not in one contiguous shot, but disconnected shots from the point of view of a single person. You realize he's growing up...

I think this is the one you're referring to, Cool Papa Bell.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 4:37 PM on April 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


Oh, how dare they!

Please. I just meant it was bland and obvious and I was secretly hoping for a sudden car crash.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:38 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, this is the first time metafilter's reduced me to a weeping mess.

Thanks, metafilter! (and estrogen!)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:38 PM on April 27, 2010


So it was Pauly Shore who punched me.

Another stork story.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:40 PM on April 27, 2010


BTW: the best part about the video Cool Papa Bell was talking about is that it has exactly the right amount of Pauly Shore for a Pauly Shore movie.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 4:41 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see the pre-emptive Pepsi used more often. Take that haters!
posted by itchylick at 4:43 PM on April 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Simpsons did it! (sort of)
posted by LooseFilter at 4:44 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tony Schwartz - "Nancy Grows Up"
posted by Iridic at 4:45 PM on April 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Good grief, it's really good then that I didn't go see Up. And yes, I got somthin in my eye, leave me alone, darn it....

If you haven't seen UP, and you have (currently or in the past) a person who was special for you, and you feel like you're growing older and life might be passing you by...

...then you should just sit down and watch the movie. Do it in the privacy of your own home, pack in the drinks and kleenex, and just let yourself go. I promise, you'll feel better at the end of the 90 minutes than you did when you started.
posted by hippybear at 4:48 PM on April 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


This is by far the best take on a heart-string-tugging ad ever. Perfect and hilarious demonstration of how easy we are to manipulate.
posted by The Bellman at 4:49 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Personally I think it's a pretty poor advert - 'she' grows and gets older but yet her surroundings are always firmly early 21st century. If this actually tugs at your heart strings, then - really - you need to get out more. Or, I guess, maybe I do?

The Hovis advert is far better executed.
posted by metaxa at 4:49 PM on April 27, 2010


I cry at everything... Movie previews, commercials, you name it. But this commercial didn't do anything for me.
posted by amro at 4:53 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


They only have 90 seconds, metaxa... if there were period shifts as well, you'd be too focused on those, and not on her. You need to instinctively understand what you're seeing without paying any conscious attention, and keeping it all present-day lets that happen.

Besides, you could argue that everything always looks modern in the now... it's only in retrospect that things look dated.
posted by Malor at 4:57 PM on April 27, 2010


Nathan Fillion (yeah, that one) said that the first ten minutes of Up was a robot test. If your date watches the first ten minutes of Up and doesn't cry? Yup, they're a robot.
posted by mhoye at 4:58 PM on April 27, 2010 [12 favorites]


Surprisingly, JC Penney nailed this a 3-4 years ago.
posted by Magnus at 4:59 PM on April 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Working title: "Evolution of the Rich, Attractive White Lady"
posted by hermitosis at 5:00 PM on April 27, 2010 [8 favorites]


I don't remember anything past the first ten minutes of UP.

I don't want to talk about it.









sniff




That John Lewis ad is technically well executed but pretty lifeless. Especially when you contrast it with that first section of UP.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:02 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, sheesh, I teared up at practically all of these -- even the lamp ad! -- and every one of them is fiction.

But most of all at Carl and Elly, and at again seeing Keith shot (darn you aerotive).

*wipes away another tear*
posted by bearwife at 5:10 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hippybear, I just plopped it on the Netflix queue.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:16 PM on April 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was fine until the stork one. Sad noble animals always get me.
posted by The otter lady at 5:16 PM on April 27, 2010


I promise, you'll feel better at the end of the 90 minutes than you did when you started.

Seconded. And they actually do a good job of lifting you back up after the first ten minutes. Though I also started misting up again at the end, but it was more of a happy note. To those of you who've seen the movie, it was the boy scout ceremony scene at the end that does it for me every time.

That John Lewis ad is technically well executed but pretty lifeless. Especially when you contrast it with that first section of UP.

Agreed, I liked the commercial, but it didn't have the emotional weight, but I suppose that's because it was just 90 seconds, not 5 minutes that I associate with another wonderful hour and a half of film.
posted by dnesan at 5:17 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


That ad simply pales in comparison to the first ten minutes of UP. It's not even close.
posted by ursus_comiter at 5:17 PM on April 27, 2010


Oh, and St. Alia, don't forget to record yourself watching the movie, you never know what'll happen.
posted by dnesan at 5:20 PM on April 27, 2010


That sequence from Up caught me and my husband offguard. It comes super early in the movie, and you barely know either of the characters, but suddenly we were both bawling and he never cries over ANYTHING.

When the sequence ended we both said, bewildered and tearful, "What the fuck?"

And then whenever Carl would sit across from an empty chair or something we'd both go, "OH MY GOD, STOP IT, STOP."

It's uh, a good movie.
posted by Nattie at 5:22 PM on April 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


I really need to watch Up one of these days.
posted by madajb at 5:25 PM on April 27, 2010


filthy light thief: were the Suffragette demonstrations and whatever the circa 1980s police vs protesters even the good times? The results, possibly (as I'm not sure what the 1980s event was), but still odd.

It was the miners' strike. Not good times, in my understanding. As I was watching, I was wondering what they'd use for Thatcherite 1980s. Pretty fair choice, I'd say.
posted by mhum at 5:25 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Up scene really shouldn't be watched without seeing the beginning of the movie. The first few minutes do an incredible job of establishing Ellie as a likable character, making the "lifetime passing" scenes all the more touching.

Not just that, but Ellie and Carl have richer lives and are real partners. They have jobs, they paint mailboxes and walls, dream, fail, plan and save. They read. They share domestic chores.

As opposed to the "she's always a woman," whose life is reduced to kissing a boy, marrying a boy, having a baby, cooking, serving people food (and a few other activities). Yes, these can be important parts of anyone's life, but this woman never, oh, takes a science class or has a job or reads a book or whatever? I guess if they want to sell household appliances, they're naturally going to focus on domestic-centered activity, but it's really just another tired "woman's place is in the home" story, isn't it?
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:26 PM on April 27, 2010 [25 favorites]


RRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrEALLY glad stuff like this doesn't have the power to make me cry. Suck it, advertisers!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:27 PM on April 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


I can't find it anymore but I remember seeing a thread with links to some Thai insurance commercials that were also heart-tugging (and a bit heart-wrenching as well).
posted by tksh at 5:28 PM on April 27, 2010


How delightful and touching. And it's true, isn't it? What hopeless enigmas those crazy, mystical women are. There's really only one thing we can know for sure about them: they love buying products, especially at Britain's Favourite Retailer. Yes, you can tell John Lewis that parity means dropping the galling stereotypes about women and shopping, but they'll always be women to him.
posted by koeselitz at 5:29 PM on April 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


LooseFilter: Simpsons did it! (sort of)

Star Trek: TNG did it! (sort of)
posted by mhum at 5:29 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Those first 10 minutes of UP are so well made! I haven't seen the movie or know anything about the characters yet I already felt a lot for them in those 10 minutes!
posted by Enos at 5:34 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Since we're on the subject and I'm still watching shit online that makes me weep, this is my favorite tear jerker commercial.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:34 PM on April 27, 2010 [19 favorites]


Up clip brilliant. John Lewis ad *shrug*. Jibbering article to go with the JL ad a good reminder of why I'm so glad I no longer have anything to do with that cloying cesspool of idiocy that is the London ad industry.
posted by i_cola at 5:37 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I promise, you'll feel better at the end of the 90 minutes than you did when you started.

Nope. Felt worse.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:52 PM on April 27, 2010


PhoBWan...that was just cruel! I *was* on my way out the door, but now I need to go splash some cold water on my face and take some deep breaths.

How the hell does that ad get listed as a "Funny Web Commercial"???
posted by squasha at 5:54 PM on April 27, 2010


Emotional? It's just a depiction of a very typical western, white human life cycle with a generic "we give a shit" message tacked on, innit?
You make it sound as if that's either a negative thing, or that those of us who happen to be white and living a western life cycle shouldn't feel an emotional tug. It's a fact that most purchases on anything other than the necessities of food and shelter are emotional. Humanity isn't comprised of robots.

It's like saying that Leonard Cohen's Halleluja shouldn't be emotional because it's just sound, vibrations, and human flesh reciting words that could be more efficiently read in a book. But for a multitude of reasons, it's not.
posted by l2p at 5:55 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whatever you think of the Hovis ad, that bread would be well stale by the end of it.
posted by scruss at 5:56 PM on April 27, 2010 [8 favorites]


The ad is the typical trite selling of a "lifestyle" that the advertising industry has been doing for years, because it's much easier to snag consumers with cheap emotional manipulation than to come up with compelling reasons to buy the product. In the Up sequence, they're doing exactly the same type of thing, but at least it's in service to the story rather than to hawking consumer goods. Also? Billy Joel's original vocals and piano playing had a little spine and grit to it - a love song to a difficult mate that he was man enough to love. This rendition sounded wimpy and mawkish to me, turning it into manipulative sentimentality about watching children grow up, have a life of their own, and get old.

That said - what got me in the opening part of the movie was the broad range of emotions that the characters were authentically portrayed as really feeling (I know, I know, it's only a cartoon, but cut me some slack) going through in a lifetime together, starting long before the wedding in the clip, when the two are kids: the excitement and promise, the love and devotion, the hopes and dreams, the bitter disappointments, the quiet contentment and complacency, and eventually the tragic lonely sorrow. It was so intense (and way more well-done than the ad) that I damn near couldn't bear to watch the rest of the movie after Carl trudged alone into his dark lifeless house. I was watching it for the first time with my 20-year-old son and his pal, and all three of us were trying to be all grown-up an' shit and not bust out bawling or letting our voices quaver. And we all knew it, too.

On preview: Yes, but Cohen's song isn't trying to sell refrigerators.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:57 PM on April 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


First 10 minutes of UP: No tears = block of wood
posted by applebucks at 6:10 PM on April 27, 2010


I guess I am the only stone-hearted son of a bitch on earth who thought the beginning of Up was hilariously bad. Dug is the only good part of that movie, but thank god for Dug.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 6:11 PM on April 27, 2010


>You make it sound as if that's either a negative thing, or that those of us who happen to be white and living a western life cycle shouldn't feel an emotional tug.

Nobody should be so willingly and happily susceptible to such transparent, unalloyed emotional manipulation by advertisers. I don't care if you're white or whatever color Michael Jackson was. Have a little pride. Sheesh.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:13 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The last time I saw UP, I was on a plane flying to the US. I had to stifle my sobs with a cheap paper napkin. Damn you (thank you) Pixar.

On the topic of ads which make you cry: this one always does it for me.
posted by fight or flight at 6:18 PM on April 27, 2010 [20 favorites]


If you haven't seen UP, and you have (currently or in the past) a person who was special for you, and you feel like you're growing older and life might be passing you by...

...then you should just sit down and watch the movie. Do it in the privacy of your own home, pack in the drinks and kleenex, and just let yourself go. I promise, you'll feel better at the end of the 90 minutes than you did when you started.


Those first ten minutes were sweet, beautiful and truly wonderful, but I can't bear to watch them more than once.
posted by zarq at 6:20 PM on April 27, 2010


On the topic of ads which make you cry: this one always does it for me.

Holy crap.
posted by zarq at 6:21 PM on April 27, 2010


You make it sound as if that's either a negative thing, or that those of us who happen to be white and living a western life cycle shouldn't feel an emotional tug.

Dude, to clarify yet again, I just meant it's absolutely dull. The ad does not allow any emotional connection with the character (if one can even call her that), does not involve any sort of conflict whatsoever, and does not even provoke any thought at all beyond, "My, what a well-edited advertisement." Although, yeah, come to think of it, using an allegedly emotionally manipulative ad to market household appliances to women does indeed seem like a somewhat "negative thing."

It's a fact that most purchases on anything other than the necessities of food and shelter are emotional.

Cite, please.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:24 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm an utter sap who will tear up at something so banal as a car commercial, but for some reason, that John Lewis ad did absolutely nothing for me.
posted by slogger at 6:27 PM on April 27, 2010


damn you all! i didn't even watch any of these clips but just REMEMBERING the first ten minutes of UP made me tear up in the office
posted by raw sugar at 6:27 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who wants to be in a Hovis advert anyway?
posted by twirlip at 6:33 PM on April 27, 2010


This ad is nothing like the first ten minutes of Up! for a single reason, which is obvious to anyone once they watch the latter. Suffice it to say, the lady in the ad has apparently never been troubled by so much as a storm cloud, and that's not a life—that's a Hallmark card.
posted by chrominance at 6:43 PM on April 27, 2010


. . . did you watch the Hallmark card ad I just linked, chrominance?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:45 PM on April 27, 2010


It's not an ad, but I think it rivals the first ten minutes of Up (which are brilliant) in emotionality: the ending of the Futurama episode Jurassic Bark. Sorry for the crap quality, but I challenge anybody who's seen the ep before, and even those who haven't, to watch and not cry.
posted by kmz at 6:53 PM on April 27, 2010 [12 favorites]


I love this ad. It is an awesome ad. It is a fantastic ad.

Why?

Because it led to rewatching Carl & Ellie's story.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:53 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dude, I cried watching X-Men (Seriously! Even though I knew it was a bad movie!) but this ad did nothing for me. It was clever, but I wasn't like, blown away.

Even so, I applaud this post and the ensuing discussion.
posted by Mister_A at 6:56 PM on April 27, 2010


Oh man. Last time I fail to do my due diligence.

(probably not)
posted by chrominance at 6:57 PM on April 27, 2010


I guess I am the only stone-hearted son of a bitch on earth who thought the beginning of Up was hilariously bad. Dug is the only good part of that movie, but thank god for Dug.

I didn't mind the first few minutes, but I found them similar to the well-done but transparently manipulative stuff that Spielberg does. I didn't start really digging Up until Dug and Kevin showed up SQUIRREL!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:08 PM on April 27, 2010


the ending of the Futurama episode Jurassic Bark

I can't even think about that without tearing up.

See also the end of Grave of the Fireflies.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:11 PM on April 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm with fire&wings--that was the very definition of meh.

If it hadn't been linked already, I'd comment that the Monster Stork ad is hands down the greatest commercial I've ever seen.
posted by dobbs at 7:12 PM on April 27, 2010


ROU_Xenophobe: "See also the end of Grave of the Fireflies."

How did you make it to the end? That whole movie is one inevitable oncoming sadness. It's brutal.
posted by graventy at 7:34 PM on April 27, 2010


See also the end of Grave of the Fireflies.

Oh man, just thinking about that made me cry.
posted by xedrik at 7:39 PM on April 27, 2010


The ending of Grave of the Fireflies is probably one of the saddest things i've ever seen.
posted by empath at 7:47 PM on April 27, 2010


oh damnit i was so looking for that before you even posted it.
posted by empath at 7:47 PM on April 27, 2010


We're the one for you, New England... New England Tel-e-phone.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:49 PM on April 27, 2010


That whole movie is one inevitable oncoming sadness. It's brutal.

At some point it almost becomes hilariously sad. "Why do fireflies die so soon?"
posted by empath at 7:49 PM on April 27, 2010


Oh, alright.

This commercial gave me a lump in my throat when I first saw it. (But I suspect not everyone would agree, and that's okay...)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:51 PM on April 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Goddamn you fightorflight. Jesus.

It doesn't help that having kids will blow out your Sentimentality Susceptibility Fuse. I can't even laugh at "Cats in the Cradle" anymore. That fucking shitty cheesy song makes me cry like a tiny baby.

(but I really love this thread, though the original two ads were kinda "meh" to me).

And what about Peter Comes Home?
posted by emjaybee at 7:53 PM on April 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I still have no earthly idea who or what a John Lewis is, though.

Here's what a John Lewis is.

Shortly after my second daughter was born, just under a month ago, I took my first daughter shopping. We don't do that much together, just her and me, and the past few days had been a bit discombobulating for a two-and-a-half-year-old, so this was a big deal. It was a glorious sunny spring afternoon and we took the bus to Sloane Square and went to Peter Jones, the confusingly named flagship of the John Lewis chain.

We go up the escalators (she loves escalators) and we look at baby-buggies, and then we pretty much destroy the toy department, the book department and sections of the shoe department, as only an over-excited two-and-a-half-year-old can. We come away well satisfied. And as we get off the bus my little girl looks up at me and says, "Where's Piggy?"

Piggy, the stuffed toy. The one she'd been carrying when we left home. The toy that's been her constant companion for the last few days. The one that isn't here now.

Oh crap.

I'm on the phone to Peter Jones before we get home (it's possible that Piggy is on the bus), and they put me straight through to the toy department where an incredibly helpful woman basically retraces our steps. This includes the steps from the buggy department (Piggy not in any of the buggies), via the loos (Piggy not in the loo). This takes her about ten minutes. No sign of Piggy, but she takes my number in case he turns up.

Then she calls me an hour later to say they're still looking.

Then she calls half an hour after that to say they've found him. He'd fallen somewhere hard-to-see in the book department, but they've got him and have put him somewhere safe. By this time the shop had actually closed for the night. It is just in time for me to tell my little girl a reassuring bedtime story about how Piggy is spending a lovely night in the Peter Jones bed department. This story has been demanded several times since.

When we picked him up, I had a feeling that Piggy was a bit cleaner and smarter than he'd been when he went in.

That's John Lewis.
posted by Hogshead at 7:57 PM on April 27, 2010 [55 favorites]


This condensed depiction of a member of a global minority's conventional maturation into one half of a traditional domestic consumption unit provokes an emotional response in me. I will now purchase commodities.
posted by regicide is good for you at 8:01 PM on April 27, 2010 [15 favorites]


No, this is the ending of Grave of the Fireflies.

There's something about this shining, new, presumably peaceful and prosperous city being watched over by the spirits of these two kids that got neglected to death because everyone rejected them that's beautiful in its own horrible way.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:03 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The first ten minutes of Up are all I've seen of it so far, sadly. (They're also just about the only part anyone ever talks about, but I guess the same could be said for Bambi's mother's death.) An interesting aside to these things is that, in Disney movies, kids will generally grow up in single-parent households not just for the sympathy factor of it, but because it saves that much on character design. So then when movies like Up, Bambi or Finding Nemo go to the trouble to do the character design anyway and then kill off the character anyway, I think it comes off as extra-devastating because it goes against our unconscious expectations of what happens with animated characters, even if we know now that character design isn't as much of a financial concern as it was in the old days.

Anyway, onto the Up sequence - what makes it really sing is that it is defiantly not all summer and roses. It gains it's power from seeing how much they're struggling and the fact that they know just what to do to keep one anothers' spirits up through it all (the shot of Ellie out there in the law chair gets me every time). That's not something you can use to sell refrigerators, though, and for whatever it's worth, the John Davis ad works very well on its own chosen level for me.

The Hovis ad is better, though. I've got a soft-spot for fireworks. Fireworks and running.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:09 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


i need a hug.
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:17 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I came in here to say this reminded me of "Nancy Grows Up" but I see that Iridic's gotcha covered. Shameless comment to draw more attention to it. I DARE you to listen and not get misty.
posted by shannonm at 8:24 PM on April 27, 2010


The ad is a bit meh, but you know what's great about John Lewis? Every one of their permanent employees becomes a part-owner of the business as soon as they start – John Lewis call then Partners, and all 70,000-odd of them both get a say in running the business and a share of the profits each year. Can't see Tesco or Wal-Mart doing that any time soon ...
posted by Len at 8:26 PM on April 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Hogshead, your Piggy story is about a thousand times better than the commercial this post is about. Thanks.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:29 PM on April 27, 2010


emjaybee, I was actually going to mention that the "Peter Comes Home" ad was my favorite from when I was a kid (doesn't, sadly, do much for me now), so thanks so much for beating me to it.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:32 PM on April 27, 2010


That ad was a bit, well, lifeless, as others have said.

But I wholeheartedly recommend Up as others have. My boyfriend brought a copy home from his coworker. It wasn't playing right in our usual player (VLC) skipping 2-30 seconds. We were already bawling though. I demanded we restart it with Windows Media Player (yuck, but I hypothesized there was some special DVD nonsense Disney added) and we bawled our eyes out at the beginning. The rest of the move was spectacular. We made jokes for weeks about it ("squirrel!") It's sad in different ways and different scenes resonate, but is somehow happy at the end.

And in many ways it made me realize, despite my divorce, my boyfriend's breakup and my general leariness about "life partners" that whatever the reason (biology, culture) I really do want to live my life with someone sharing all that crap -- chores and gardens and parties and dinner, bad times and good.

Nathan Fillion was right to say anyone who doesn't tear up watching Up is a robot. I can't imagine being friends with someone who didn't.
posted by R343L at 8:34 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The haters in this thread remind me why I rarely spend any time on Metafilter anymore.
posted by hifiparasol at 8:35 PM on April 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's a fact that most purchases on anything other than the necessities of food and shelter are emotional.

Cite, please.


I'd say first that I'm the owner of a small construction company with a few employees. What's allowed me to sell more, at a higher cost, and actually make a living throughout this tough economy, is recognizing that logic can make people feel uncomfortable when buying, and emotions makes them feel better about buying. Logic, even when you have someone's best interests in mind, can bog people down with details and indecision. I can work with both positive and negative emotions to sell things.

While that anecdotal evidence may not be enough, look at the candy by the checkout. You don't need it for nutrition, you buy it because it makes you happy by tasting good, or you had it as a kid and you've always liked it. A Ford Focus gets you around anywhere a BMW does, but damn don't those heated seats feel good. Imagine slipping into that supple leather, and the car's already heated because of the remote start! Why do we not want to date a boring person, even though they may have a great job and good benefits? It would be the logical thing to do, but don't we want somebody who excites us? When was the last time you purchased something when you had a bad feeling about it? Everything in Las Vegas is an emotional buying experience, even the "free" drinks. Have you ever purchased an extended warranty on anything? I did for my computer. Yes, it was logical. But can you measure the sense of anticipated relief? That's emotion talking.

Almost all of us will say that we purchased something based on facts. Look at the change in adverts from the last century, and how they were all filled with logical text, explaining the benefits. But look at how we buy, and today a picture with no text in a magazine can be vastly more persuasive to a consumer than trade journal. It's emotion. Do a search for emotional buying. My employees depend on me being successful at it.
posted by l2p at 8:38 PM on April 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think this is the one you're referring to, Cool Papa Bell.

Yes! You rock, thanks.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:39 PM on April 27, 2010


Damn, Hogshead. I can't believe I'm saying this, but that would make an amazing commercial.

I feel dirty now. But it would.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:48 PM on April 27, 2010


Rather, that would.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:54 PM on April 27, 2010


This Bell commercial where a kid calls his grandpa has always been the one that made me tear up. So much love for it that years ago I looked for it via AskMe. Glad it's finally on the web.
posted by aclevername at 9:00 PM on April 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Also, since it's been mentioned, I have to say that I've always wanted "Jurassic Bark" to be as heartbreaking for me as it is for seemingly everyone else. I love dogs, and it's just a perfectly bittersweet ironic ending to Fry's noble (though uninformed) decision at the end, but while it's definitely sad and beautiful, it doesn't turn on the waterworks for me.

"The Luck of the Fryrish" does, though. It's not the Simple Minds at the end, but rather seeing Yancey's life without Fry there. I guess it's assumed that a dog will love it's owner, but after seeing a lifetime of Fry getting shat upon in the 20th century, even by his own family, having his brother devoted to his memory gets me misty-eyed just remembering it.

I'm also a total sucker for Fry/Leela, and so what really gets me are episodes like "Time Keeps on Slippin'," "The Sting" (good god, "The Sting" - noble sacrifice, true feelings finally coming to the fore, and then a twist that brings the whole fever dream into emotional context) and, of course, "The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings."

Ending the series (or at least they thought it was over when they made it) with essentially a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta would have been enough for me, really. (I'm a now-former board member of the Georgetown Gilbert & Sullivan Society, after all.) But they also brought in a perfect plot to balance humor (the episode is hilarious, as are all Futurama episodes, of course) with the whole "Gift of the Magi" workings of the Robot Devil's "ridiculously circuitous plan." Leela realistically finally falls for Fry, and at the end, once his physical talent is gone, and everyone but Leela has left, she just kills me with "I want to hear how it ends."

The crude holophoner rendition of the two of them walking off into the sunset was the most beautiful ending to the series that I could have imagined.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:19 PM on April 27, 2010 [9 favorites]


l2p: “You make it sound as if that's either a negative thing, or that those of us who happen to be white and living a western life cycle shouldn't feel an emotional tug. It's a fact that most purchases on anything other than the necessities of food and shelter are emotional. Humanity isn't comprised of robots.”

Most purchases on anything other than the necessities of food and shelter are emotional precisely because of the marketing that capitalism designed. This isn't necessarily the natural way of things. It's clearly an innovation, something completely new over the last fifty years. Before that, hardly anybody made emotional purchases; they made irrational purchases, true, based on notions of aristocracy or quality, but there was no unifying swell of common emotion at certain products. In fact, today, even most food and shelter decisions are based on emotion. This is the current state of the human race.

The idea that most purchases aside from necessities are based on emotion is a credo of the salesman for one reason: because emotion renders us irrational, and irrational people are easier to manipulate. You say that we make emotional purchases because we aren't robots, but this is a sort of bitter irony given the fact that our emotions with regard to products render us more robotic than anything else; they make us slaves to passions and to desires, pulled by unexplained and unreasoned cords toward the things that our masters sell us. It's only rationality that can break us free of this cycle.

In short, emotion is a tool used by salesmen to turn us into robots.

Sys Rq: “Cite, please.”

The citation for this is all around us. People in our time spend money on things irrationally; if there is one act which characterizes us as a civilization, it is the impulse buy. This breaks through in every realm of our society, from the checkout line at the supermarket to the subprime meltdown. And it has been the case for many years that those who control us are those who control our emotions; this is why we revere commercials and advertisements so much. We're worshiping our gods.
posted by koeselitz at 11:43 PM on April 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Advertising kills everything.
posted by koeselitz at 11:45 PM on April 27, 2010


I caught the John Lewis advert on TV the other night and thought it was clichéd and a bit lame. The Hovis one, though, I thought was great.

As for Up, I saw it for the first time last week and loved it. Aside from the first 10 minutes which are, indeed, awesome, the LOL bit for me was the quick shot of the dogs playing poker.
posted by essexjan at 11:47 PM on April 27, 2010


Am I not the only one confused why the 'House of Cards' ad campaign in the FPP used 'Videotape' when there is a song on that same album called 'House of Cards'?
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 11:48 PM on April 27, 2010


Nope - Never seen that John Lewis commercial before.
Life is Short
posted by seanyboy at 12:42 AM on April 28, 2010


Also - If you want Guilt Trip adverts, the British Government has plenty to spare. Here's one asking you to drive slower.
posted by seanyboy at 12:45 AM on April 28, 2010


"whatever the circa 1980s police vs protesters even the good times? The results, possibly (as I'm not sure what the 1980s event was), but still odd."

It was the Miner's Strike. I think if you are British it's pretty hard not to feel anything with the Hovis ad.

Advertising kills everything.

Sure, but it paid for the laptop I use to write this comment - a laptop which, oddly enough, isn't a brand who advertises.

When I first moved to London, I couldn't believe how much advertising there was, everywhere. I only really notice it now through professional interest - there;s a particular one in the lifts at Covent Garden tube that has me waiting for the ASA complaint.

Personally I think it's a pretty poor advert - 'she' grows and gets older but yet her surroundings are always firmly early 21st century.

The reason being that all the goods shown have to be available now. Arguably she has really classic tastes, I suppose. It's pretty tricky to fit years into one ad, which is why the Hovis one garnered a lot of attention.

As opposed to the "she's always a woman," whose life is reduced to kissing a boy, marrying a boy, having a baby, cooking, serving people food (and a few other activities). Yes, these can be important parts of anyone's life, but this woman never, oh, takes a science class or has a job or reads a book or whatever?

At one point she's at university; later, she comes home in a suit, and is seen working on a laptop. It's a fair point, but they kind of have to keep it in the home, and rightly or wrongly, most domestic decisions are still taken by women. The other argument is that it isn't antifeminist for someone to have a domestic life...
posted by mippy at 12:49 AM on April 28, 2010


Have a little pride.

Quite.

I haven't watched this clip yet, and I don't intend to. The sentimental trip through a life sequence is a well-worn tv ad cliche in this neck of the woods. To the extent that such things move me in a commercial context they annoy the fuck out of me -- how dare you toy with my finer feelings just to sell your stupid crap, you rotten advertising person you.

If successor civilisations admire these as works of art, good for them, but right now all I can do is hate these manipulative pricks.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:35 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Am I not the only one confused why the 'House of Cards' ad campaign in the FPP used 'Videotape' when there is a song on that same album called 'House of Cards'?

I'm gonna bet that Radiohead wouldn't license that one for whatever reason. I'm sure the thought crossed the mind of the director.
posted by empath at 1:51 AM on April 28, 2010


Good grief. We only ever watched the first series or so of Six Feet Under, but that finale still had me welling up.

The first ten minutes of Up were almost unbearable. My wife and I were in tears whilst the kids just watched it: I think the emotional impact almost completely passed them by.

I think I shall avoid any other links posted in this thread on the grounds that they'll leave me an emotional wreck unable to do anything for the rest of the day.
posted by pharm at 2:16 AM on April 28, 2010


I just spent an hour of my life watching these ads (the John Lewis one, the Hovis one, and the Hallmark one) and the Up montage, and crying. The Hovis one and the Hallmark ad are both quite well-done.

<>
posted by so much modern time at 2:22 AM on April 28, 2010


We're here in England for a couple of weeks. Last week we visited Highgate Cemetery, where John Lewis is buried. We didn't know who he was, but were intrigued by a quote of his on his gravestone that talked about cooperation. We grokked that it meant something different than we were thinking, but it wasn't until an English friend explained later that evening about who he was that we realized it was like what we call co-ops in the States. And then I saw the ad and yeah, great ad. And there's a John Lewis visible from our hotel (we're in Liverpool right now).
posted by rtha at 2:30 AM on April 28, 2010


Something that's not come out fully, I think, and which is one of the reasons that some British people feel pre-disposed to liking John Lewis, is that it's a co-operative, run for the benefit of all employees, past and present.

(The topic came up at the meet-up the other day - Artha had a photo of John Lewis's grave in Highgate cemetery and was wondering why it had the word "co-operation" on it.)
posted by Grangousier at 2:31 AM on April 28, 2010


Ooh, spooky - I was looking for the link when Artha posted.
posted by Grangousier at 2:51 AM on April 28, 2010


rtha, not Artha. Sorry. Oops.

Too much coffee.
posted by Grangousier at 3:03 AM on April 28, 2010


Hi! I am only now just barely fully caffeinated, so no worries! I guess it all evens out.
posted by rtha at 3:09 AM on April 28, 2010


Hovis ads have been built on nostalgia... even nearly 40 years ago. (Directed by Ridley Scott btw) Spoofed many times.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:12 AM on April 28, 2010



See, the original Hovis didn't mean anything to me as I was born in the 1980s and didn't remember the time (probably mythical) to which it referred. The new one does. I particularly like the subtle nod to multiculturalism as it hits the late 60s.

Which part is the grave in - East or West? I haven't seen it. JL doesn't really exist up North, but honestly, it is one of the best things about living in the south-east. Being able to purchase quality fabrics and sheets almost makes up for the high rent.

I purchased a couple of items from the websites of two big department stores over Christmas.

One sent a gift set - two pump bottles in a caddy - in a jiffy bag. They arrived broken and leaking. I phoned their customer services department, who sounded like they couldn't care less if I had been reading the phone book to them. I argued that I couldn't get to the store, hence ordering online, and I had to tell the operative where on their own website the returns forms were. The couriers never arrived. I ended up giving up a lunch hour going into Central London to return something that, for want of a box, was useless.

John Lewis sent me some bedcovers, and I was surprised to find I'd ordered one pillowcase, not two. I phoned them to check that it was the case that pillowcases came in packs of one rather than two, as I could check whether they were still in stock and ordered a new one. Before I even got to the latter, they told me they would just send me out a new one, free of charge, no postage costs. I wasn't upset about the pillowcase, it was just a pillowcase and my oversight, but I felt they went impressively far to keep their customer happy.
posted by mippy at 3:29 AM on April 28, 2010


Ah, you know what this reminds me of? The heartsrings-tugging greasy-lens adwork ofHal Riney. (More )

Actually, those ads are the lenswork of John and Joe Pytka (Pytka Productions). Hal Riney wrote the ads and narrated them.
posted by ericb at 3:58 AM on April 28, 2010


Since we're on the subject and I'm still watching shit online that makes me weep, this is my favorite tear jerker commercial.

Another ad filmed by Joe Pytka He's known for his "storytelling" and cinematic technique in directing and filming television ads.
posted by ericb at 4:08 AM on April 28, 2010


I didn't like it all that much although I do think it's well executed.

Why? For the reason John Irving says he doesn't like movies of many books, including his own. I lose the emotional commitment to it when the actor obviously changes. I don't know if that makes me odd in some way, but there you go.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:54 AM on April 28, 2010


Well, now I'm an emotional basket case this morning, thanks to you guys. Off to work!
posted by magstheaxe at 5:29 AM on April 28, 2010


This post should have been marked NSFW because it's not safe for work. 'Cuz now my coworkers are wondering why I'm dabbing at my eyes.

The beginning of Up haunted me; I told everyone who'd listen that the film was worth seeing just for that one beautifully crafted sequence. The ties! The clouds! Genius.

Thanks for confirming that it really was as lovely as I remembered.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:37 AM on April 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Which part is the grave in - East or West?

It's on the...side where you pay £3 pounds to enter, but are allowed to wander freely, not the side where you can only go in with a guide. We did both. It's a lovely cemetery, both sides. Lewis is just behind George Eliot, whose grave in marked on the map, and not far from Karl Marx. We also said hello to Douglas Adams (of course) and Malcom McLaren, who'd been buried just the day before.
posted by rtha at 6:11 AM on April 28, 2010


Nobody should be so willingly and happily susceptible to such transparent, unalloyed emotional manipulation by advertisers.

If successor civilisations admire these as works of art, good for them, but right now all I can do is hate these manipulative pricks.

So a sincere question:

At what point between writing this sentence:

"We are a retailer that provides consistent service and quality goods, and hope that you will patronize us throughout your life"

on a piece of bristol board and holding it outside your shop,

and the ad presented in the FPP,

does one become manipulative swine?

Because it's pretty easy to see how an ad agency (I work at one, for what it's worth) can be assigned Point A, "please find a creative and engaging way to tell people that we sell quality goods and would like to serve patrons consistently throughout their lives," and arrive at Point B, the commercial in question.

Somewhere in there, though, people start seething and bleeding out the eyes about it.

So what, to you, would be an acceptable way for John Lewis to creatively say that they sell quality goods, are consistent in their quality and service, and would appreciate lifelong patronage from consumers? Are moving pictures forbidden for advertisers? Is music off-limits? How much emotion can I inspire before I bump the needle from "good" to "bad"?

The preceding questions sound snarky and absurd, but honestly, I can't figure out what mental somersaults you go through in order to deem some communications okay and other communications not-okay. Some clarity on where one crosses the line from trying to find interesting ways to promote a good or service, and into hand-wringing evil, would be welcome.

[I appreciate arguments that the ad is kind of bland -- that's taste -- and too hetronormative/traditional-lifestyle/stereotype-reinforcing, but these are specific critiques of this ad that suggest that a slightly more energetic or offbeat take would solve the issue without changing the "manipulative" elements that seem to cause otherwise thoughtful and nuanced MeFites to flip their lids. And those critiques move into a different realm; the moral need to portray diversity and progressive roles vs. the desire to meet the expectations of the broadest section of the buying public, but again, that's a different conversation.]
posted by Shepherd at 6:29 AM on April 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


The Carpenters' We've Only Just Begun started out as an ad for a bank.
posted by nomisxid at 8:19 AM on April 28, 2010


The closing of a 131-year-old elementary school in Japan.
posted by emmling at 8:32 AM on April 28, 2010


I watched the ad and immediately started digging through my browser history to find Last Day Dream. Which I now see has already been linked to and discussed, but I'm going to link to it again because it's just that good.

It does bug me a little bit that based on the costuming, his full lifespan apparently runs from 1970 to present day. Still, better than this ad, which appears to run from present day to present day. And even though I know it's wrong it just feels right, probably because I was born in 1971 so that's what childhood looks like to me. I wouldn't be surprised if the filmmaker is the same age I am.

Also, Up should have been a ten minute long movie. It was brilliant right up until the point when the little kid shows up and leads us through an hour of pointless fireworks and generic chase scenes.
posted by ook at 8:36 AM on April 28, 2010


Nothing compared to the most heart-tugging commercial ever: Lamp .
posted by jeffkramer


I see your heart-rending lamp commercial and raise you a heart-breaking Thai ceiling board commercial.
posted by blueberry at 9:46 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Someone may have already said this, but I think part of the reason it affects people so powerfully is because we're seeing not only the lifetime of an individual, but also a pastiche of every commercial we've ever seen. When was the last time you really had any emotional impact related to a refrigerator door opening or a couch being carried into the first apartment? The woman is a prop to augment the products in the same way every person in every commercial always is. But by pasting those commercials together, we start thinking not only of the woman as a distinct individual, but also of the products as background elements in a way that an onslaught of commercials has prevented us from doing.
posted by jefficator at 9:49 AM on April 28, 2010


That Thai ceiling board commercial was great! What a country!
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:57 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


It really does go that fast, doesn't it, said the guy realizing he is suddenly almost 40.
posted by notmydesk at 10:00 AM on April 28, 2010


Okay, I thought, "how can a ceiling board commercial be heart-breaking?"

But it is. What a great ad. Definitely got to me more than the John Lewis thing, which served only to make me brood over life experiences I've never had.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:13 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, I'll nth John Lewis as a place that takes customer satisfaction seriously. I've had many dealings with them furnishing my new flat, putting up curtains and so on, and they've really shone when things have gone well and when things have gone badly.
It's a long way from my favourite ad in this thread, but then I already like them so I'm not the target.
posted by YAMWAK at 10:38 AM on April 28, 2010


Shepherd: “So a sincere question: At what point between writing this sentence: "We are a retailer that provides consistent service and quality goods, and hope that you will patronize us throughout your life" on a piece of bristol board and holding it outside your shop, and the ad presented in the FPP, does one become manipulative swine? ”

Nobody denies, I think, that the situation is complicated. But I think a person would have to live with eyes and ears closed to be ignorant of the fact that we're absolutely and completely surrounded by advertising at this point; I discussed above the fact that this has tended to make us more emotional and impulsive in the way we spend our money and time and lives. I would go further; I would say that advertising in our time constitutes a sort of tragedy of the commons with regards to our spiritual and physical space in society. Almost every place within the public mind for discussion, for conversation, for rational debate, is overwhelmed by the constant stream of marketing.

The taking up of all the physical space in society by ads and commercials isn't even remotely as tragic, in fact, as the taking up of all the spiritual space. Within society, our spiritual lives have a kind of landscape, a shared set of common notions that we might not all agree on but which we all at least contemplate and live with in our own particular ways. And there's an ongoing dialogue about these common things; when that dialogue is muddied or subverted for the purpose of selling things, we all lose.

The most glaring direct example of this in the FPP is the Hovis ad, which honestly I found quite offensive. This ad tears from their contexts particular historical moments which have a set of broad and varied meanings to the British people; it then trades on those moments by indicating that the quality of the product being sold is as meaningful or as permanent or as necessary as the memory of the history of a people. The presumption that a bread company might be as important as Churchill's speeches during the blitz, or as the strikes of the miners in the 1980s, or any of the other things pointed up during the several vignettes, is subtle, but it is the message of the ad. And the John Lewis ad that is the lead link here does the same, though not as macrocosmically or obviously; it trades on the importance of various moments in the lives of women, from childhood to old age, and attempts to aggrandize products by associating them with that importance.

All of this is tragic precisely because, while it serves advertising executives nicely to presume that our spiritual and historical commons are concrete and permanent things, in fact they are not. They are malleable, and they grow and change with our dialogue and conversation and daily experience with them. These advertisements, which we view as mere entertainment or diversions or relatively abstract pastimes, actually become part of our common narrative and heritage. And they thus inject into our spiritual commons all kinds of confused and confusing things: Churchill's speeches are associated with a particular brand of bread, the experience of getting married is associated with a department store, et cetera. And while most of us live this way now without even realizing it, our ability to think about our past and who we are as human beings living in society has gotten gradually washed away. One of the most important things we hold in common is our ability to make political decisions together, at least on some level; and it's hard to deny that advertising and marketing have steadily become a part of politics, and that those tactics seem to have an extremely disruptive effect on any sort of societal dialogue. They rely on encouraging emotional decisions based on instincts, but politics is only muddied and distracted by emotion and instinct.
posted by koeselitz at 10:45 AM on April 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Long Guardian article on John Lewis, and how it's co-operative nature sets it apart from other companies. I think it's an interesting and praiseworthy set-up, and wish it was a more widely accepted model of business.

The advert on the other hand, is mawkish, glossy, ad-family wank, and looks like it's made by the same people who write 'lifestyle' columns in the weekend newspapers that are thinly veiled opportunities for them to brag about the Agas that sit on a floor of tiles they brought back from Tuscany.
posted by reynir at 11:43 AM on April 28, 2010


The presumption that a bread company might be as important as Churchill's speeches during the blitz, or as the strikes of the miners in the 1980s, or any of the other things pointed up during the several vignettes, is subtle, but it is the message of the ad.

You know what, I don't take that from it - and I say that as someone who watches ads all day. More, that during all this time, and these events, the bread has existed. It's a mundane product that has stayed the same when everything has changed. I don't think it;s claiming to be important, but quite the opposite.

looks like it's made by the same people who write 'lifestyle' columns in the weekend newspapers that are thinly veiled opportunities for them to brag about the Agas that sit on a floor of tiles they brought back from Tuscany.

Now I want to know which agency you work for.
posted by mippy at 12:02 PM on April 28, 2010


Now I want to know which agency you work for.

The CIA. Our ad budget's not very high, which is why we have to do the whole brainwashing, blackmail thing.

Nah, I don't hate all ads on ideological grounds. Even if it's just trying to sell me something I don't need, I like ads that are witty, or clever. But this is just bland; it feels like a video form of a flyer that might slip out of the Mail's Sunday magazine, along with one for Boden.
posted by reynir at 12:11 PM on April 28, 2010


I just sent that "Lamp" commercial to my girlfriend. She replied, "ok, so i watched the commerical without sound. i think i feel sad for the red lamp."

Oh man, I can't wait for her to watch it again with sound.
posted by yeti at 12:48 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Shepherd: fair questions.

Caveat: my reaction is not based on some reasoned argument. It is a gut-based anger. So while I will try and tease out why I am annoyed, I am not going to try and build some sort of watertight logical defense.

I think what gets up my nose is the seizure of my attention by one thing which turns out to be in the service of another thing -- a thing which I would prefer not to pay attention to. In my daily life I am besieged by unwanted calls on my attention (mostly from your profession) and I have a pretty effective mental filter and by god it bugs me when things get through. This feels like the same anger at bait and switch that I also feel when charity solicitors in the street pretend that they're just starting a polite conversation between strangers, or when telephone sales pitches start with hello, how are you, let's get you on the rails of normal conversation before I get you where I want you.

Now you might say, but that's the price you pay for watching broadcast television. Very true, and that's a big reason why I no longer do watch commercial television.

And you very fairly ask -- how can I do my job without resort to doing things that annoy you? And quite honestly, I don't care. That's not my problem. It's your profession's problem. I didn't make you choose it. You chose it.

The question "please find a creative and engaging way to tell people that we sell quality goods and would like to serve patrons consistently throughout their lives" presupposes that you have some right to a share of my attention to tell me that. Frankly, I just don't want to be told and I deny that you have any such right. In the event that I wished to find a firm of that nature, I should think it would be quite easy, and in the meanwhile, when I am not actively searching, please leave me alone.

But in a spirit of goodwill, there are in fact some forms of advertising I find tolerable or even like. I love catalogues. I like Google ads in search results and text ads on the web because they are generally relevant or even helpful. I like colourful street signage, particularly when it's unique to one establishment. I like old-school text-dense ads that are actually more fun to read than the surrounding articles. In sum, if I can tune you out when I have better things to think about, or if you wait for me to come to you, I will not mind what you do.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:01 PM on April 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


>So what, to you, would be an acceptable way for John Lewis to creatively say that they sell quality goods, are consistent in their quality and service, and would appreciate lifelong patronage from consumers? Are moving pictures forbidden for advertisers? Is music off-limits? How much emotion can I inspire before I bump the needle from "good" to "bad"?

First of all, you are quoting two different comments from two different users, without making that clear. That's not particularly charitable or friendly, and is actually even a little dishonest. But I'll assume that was an accident. As the author of the first statement, I can say that my comment has nothing to do with what's "acceptable" for merchants or advertisers. It's about consumer self-protection, abut the shitty fact that I can't let myself feel anything for the "woman" in the commercial because at the end of the day it's a commercial, and I can't cede that part of me (maybe the last sovereign territory) to the advertisers.

They may do what they like. Hell, they already do. But the better they get at it, the more I have to fight to protect what little bit of me remains outside their grasp. Substitute "you" and "your" for "they" and "their," if you like, since you work in the industry.

As for

I can't figure out what mental somersaults you go through in order to deem some communications okay and other communications not-okay.

Well it's easy. It's all "okay," but if it's trying to get me to buy stuff, I'm going to be super cynical about it--just as advertisers have recourse to many tools to trick me into caring, I have some tools to prevent them from doing so. It's a little disheartening, but the best one is cynicism.

Cynicism is, after all, an expectation of selfish ulterior motives, and the desire to sell me stuff (hidden under cute bunny rabbits, wrapped up in blue-screen-Bildungsroman, or served over ice with glowing endorsements from celebrity sports figures) is a selfish ulterior motive. Good on the merchants for giving it their all, but I'm not going to go willingly.

If that's a somersault, I'm a lot more limber for my age than I thought.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:14 PM on April 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: wrapped up in blue-screen-Bildungsroman.
posted by jquinby at 5:24 PM on April 28, 2010


Wow, that Hovis ad is really special.
I wanted to make sure I got all the references in the ad, so I looked it up. If anyone else was curious, here's a list of events, from Wiki:

-Victorian era
-Titanic
-Suffragette march
-WWI
-an early automobile
-the Blitz
-Churchill's "We shall fight on the beaches" speech
-coronation of Elizabeth II
-England World Cup victory 1966
-Miners' Strike
-fireworks celebrating the new millennium
posted by estlin at 7:09 PM on April 28, 2010


None of these made me want to buy anything, but I enjoyed watching the bread one. Also Up makes me cry just thinking about it.

I'm going to go dream about an Aga.
posted by sgrass at 9:24 PM on April 28, 2010


If you think only ads are trying to sell you and that all the music, movies and books you enjoy are pure expressions of art untainted by the needs of commerce, you're hopelessly naive. Ads are just more honest about selling out.
posted by empath at 10:17 PM on April 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you think only ads are trying to sell you and that all the music, movies and books you enjoy are pure expressions of art untainted by the needs of commerce, you're hopelessly naive.

Can you clarify that a bit? I mean, I'm aware that things are created for an audience to make money, and I don't mind that a bit, because I like being in that audience, I want to pay attention. But perhaps you are suggesting that the books I read and the music I listen to are "tainted by the needs of commerce" in some other way? I'm aware of product placement in movies but in other media I honestly don't think that's so.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:40 PM on April 28, 2010


>If you think only ads are trying to sell you and that all the music, movies and books you enjoy are pure expressions of art untainted by the needs of commerce, you're hopelessly naive.

I didn't say that and don't think it. And you probably don't know very much about what I enjoy.

But thanks for the random insult!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:47 PM on April 28, 2010


I didn't specify anyone in particular! thanks for taking offense, though!
posted by empath at 11:27 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, okay. My pleasure!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:03 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Regardless of whether or not anyone was supposed to take offense at the claim as to the inherant mercenary nature of artistic expression: I'm with Joe's Spleen, I'd also like that clarified.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:09 AM on April 29, 2010


Thank you for the thoughtful replies, koeselitz and i_am_joe's_spleen. I think about this stuff a lot, so apologies in advance for length.

My specific question was at what point does an ad go from an "acceptable" message that doesn't possess a "manipulative" quality, to an "unacceptable" ad that is indeed "manipulative". There's no clear answer here (maybe because it's an impossible question). I appreciate your take on the Hovis ad, koeselitz, because it's a pretty clear indicator of what you deem unacceptable -- the repurposing of history to promote a brand or product.

Quoting you for convenience:

The most glaring direct example of this in the FPP is the Hovis ad, which honestly I found quite offensive. This ad tears from their contexts particular historical moments which have a set of broad and varied meanings to the British people; it then trades on those moments by indicating that the quality of the product being sold is as meaningful or as permanent or as necessary as the memory of the history of a people. The presumption that a bread company might be as important as Churchill's speeches during the blitz, or as the strikes of the miners in the 1980s, or any of the other things pointed up during the several vignettes, is subtle, but it is the message of the ad. And the John Lewis ad that is the lead link here does the same, though not as macrocosmically or obviously; it trades on the importance of various moments in the lives of women, from childhood to old age, and attempts to aggrandize products by associating them with that importance.

I'm not really on board with your intepretation of the ad as saying that the bread company is "as important" as any of these historical events. Where I felt the ad crossed the line -- for me, personally -- was when "bread boy" actually interacted with the miners' strike; up to that point, the point seemed to be "we're a breadmaker of long standing". The miners' strike was (a) a weird choice to include, and (b) insulting in that "bread boy" (and by extension Hovis) actually in a minor way shaped the course of history. Were I on that project, that wouldn't have made it past the script stage -- it's an overstep.

Miners' strike aside, I didn't read any pretense of "importance," just... presence. If you're trying, as a British bread manufacturer, to retain your customers of long standing, showing your bread as something that has been made for over a hundred years, a constant if minor part of British society, seems like a reasonable and not immoral tack. Similarly, with John Lewis, my read was that the company's intent was to distinguish themselves as a store that is dedicated to long-term customer satisfaction and retention; show the lifespan of a woman in the understanding that viewers will understand that the store has been a dependable source of goods and services throughout her life. It's probably a very fine point, but it's important to me that the John Lewis ad was promoting a department store rather than a specific product; it's more credible that a store might reliably exist over the course of decades than any specific thing. It wasn't to my taste, but I actually thought it was more restrained than it might have been -- she's not carting around John Lewis branded bags or unpacking John-Lewis-delivered merchandise or whatnot. Were that to happen it would be ham-handed and ineffective; if you don't blat your brand all over the place, it's sneaky and manipulative.

Continuing to quote koeselitz --

All of this is tragic precisely because, while it serves advertising executives nicely to presume that our spiritual and historical commons are concrete and permanent things, in fact they are not. They are malleable, and they grow and change with our dialogue and conversation and daily experience with them. These advertisements, which we view as mere entertainment or diversions or relatively abstract pastimes, actually become part of our common narrative and heritage. And they thus inject into our spiritual commons all kinds of confused and confusing things: Churchill's speeches are associated with a particular brand of bread, the experience of getting married is associated with a department store, et cetera.

It's hard to respond to this in any really coherent way, as it's a huge topic, not at all quantifiable, and an (ironically, I guess) emotional argument.

But I find it a bit risible that you attribute the pollution of the proposed "spiritual commons" solely to "advertising executives". Advertising is hardly the only medium where the past is looked back on for less than perfectly sterile documentary reasons: I was just watching an episode of Doctor Who, for instance, in which the Doctor travels to World-War-Two-era London and engages in witty banter with Winston Churchill, who as it turns out has repurposed genocidal androids from outer space to fight the Germans (kinda). I am fairly certain that this is not historical fact, and that the purpose of the Doctor Who creators, in making this episode, was to use World War II as a plot device, a hook for a neat story, and to bend it to the service of Doctor Who.

So is Doctor Who also participating in the ruination of the commons? I'd argue that this episode of the series, which will be watched in reruns, released on DVD, and hotly debated as the merits and drawbacks of the new iDaleks are discussed, will have a much greater impact on the public consciousness than a bread ad ever will. There's maybe an argument to be made that the Doctor Who pollution of the World War II commons is less egregious because its intent is to tell a story and not sell bread, but there's an equal argument, as empath kinda-sorta alludes to above (and that Joe's Spleen and EmpressCallipygos then ask for clarification on), that the purpose of Doctor Who is in no small part to sell you more Doctor Who. They write Doctor Who stories not just to create one-off masterworks of speculative fiction, but to rope you into serial viewing so that their show will be renewed and they can continue to make money. Television stations air these shows to attract viewers, and those viewer numbers are used to attract -- advertisers.

So where do fiction, popular music, etc. stand as fellow polluters? Pointing at the guy next to you at the principal's office and saying "but he did it too!" is a crap way to defend yourself, admittedly, but man, I'm getting called to the principal's office all the damn time.

One of the most important things we hold in common is our ability to make political decisions together, at least on some level; and it's hard to deny that advertising and marketing have steadily become a part of politics, and that those tactics seem to have an extremely disruptive effect on any sort of societal dialogue. They rely on encouraging emotional decisions based on instincts, but politics is only muddied and distracted by emotion and instinct.

Again, I agree and disagree. I agree that advertising and marketing tactics are used heavily in politics, but I disagree (from the gut, but hopefully somebody somewhere has actually looked into this) that what you see is anything more than politics keeping up with society. My guess is that from the earliest days of cavemen painting VOTE THAG FOR MORE ELK on a rock up to the Obama campaign Facebooking their way to victory, politicians have always, and will always, use every tool at their disposal to get elected. It's the chicken and the egg -- the Obama campaign is currently under study as a masterwork of marketing, for instance. Politics drive marketing as much as marketing enables politics, and if the issue is that marketing is used to appeal to undereducated and/or willfully ignorant voters, then I suggest that the problem is with the political system, and not the tools at its disposal.

Incidentally, I'm not really a fan of the quote-and-respond posting style, as it always seems like a fighty I will take you on point by point way of engaging in a conversation, but it's such a big topic that I kind of need to respond to elements of it in turn. I hope this doesn't seem like I'm being combative. This is (for me) a huge and important topic, and I wish more marketers would have it.

Plus being called "dishonest" for following a common convention of presenting an aggregate of comments to illustrate a commonly held opinion before responding really irks me. So: the following is a comment by i_am_joe's_spleen, here presented for purposes of clarity of response. I am going to jump back and forth a bit, so hang onto your hat! This might get crazy dishonest!

In my daily life I am besieged by unwanted calls on my attention (mostly from your profession) and I have a pretty effective mental filter and by god it bugs me when things get through. This feels like the same anger at bait and switch that I also feel when charity solicitors in the street pretend that they're just starting a polite conversation between strangers, or when telephone sales pitches start with hello, how are you, let's get you on the rails of normal conversation before I get you where I want you.

(...)

The question "please find a creative and engaging way to tell people that we sell quality goods and would like to serve patrons consistently throughout their lives" presupposes that you have some right to a share of my attention to tell me that. Frankly, I just don't want to be told and I deny that you have any such right. In the event that I wished to find a firm of that nature, I should think it would be quite easy, and in the meanwhile, when I am not actively searching, please leave me alone.

I sympathize with that, honestly, but aren't you essentially saying "do your job but don't you dare do it well"?

I think part of the problem is that I see the current (frequently annoying and, yes, stupid) state of marketing as an issue of continuing process, where you (quite understandably) just see it in terms of its annoying impact on your daily life.

But -- as somebody that thinks about this stuff too much -- overadvertising is honestly inevitable. It's both a consequence and a driver for the intersection between capitalism and free speech, both of which are systems that (I think) are reasonably good ones, within limits.

"Within limits" in that I'm a big fan of controlled free speech. You can't flat-out lie in advertising, and that's a good thing. I'm a Canadian, and thoroughly cool with our freedom-surpressing hate speech and CanCon laws as well. I'm also quite keen on the environmental, work safety, product safety, hygiene, etc. etc. etc. laws that restrain capitalism.

But fundamentally, we live in a society that's relatively free. If Joe wants to try to make bread for a living, he can do so; if Frank also wants to make bread for a living, great, but now we have a problem: they both want to attract customers to their bakery. So they both try to outdo each other by making better and better bread, which results in better bread for everyone, which is good.

They also need to tell people about how and why their bread is better, which means they have to get the word out, preferably cleverly and in an engaging manner: thus is born advertising.

And without turning this into a stupidly obvious essay, you can see how it rolls out: people are allowed to sell their goods and services, and they're allowed to promote their goods and services within some very broad limits. This means lots of messages about lots of different goods and services, which results in kind of an arms race to make yourself heard among the tumult of other messages, which results in innovations that are in a lot of ways really quite excellent.

The irony being that the more actively you seek to be left alone, the more actively you'll be sought, because while Frank might trust you to seek out his bread as the best bread in town, Joe doesn't want to take that chance, and if he can get a word in edgewise for his bread, he's damn well gonna do it.

People are free to start businesses and sell goods and services; they're free to tell people about their goods and services. I work at the intersection of these two good things, but the overabundance of that intersection attracts a lot of angry shouting. "There's too much advertising and people are too good at it" is something I sympathize with, but it's not really an actionable complaint.

No, hang on, it is, but it's not in my industry's interest to take that action. You may not cede advertisers the right to try to communicate with you, but if it's allowable by law (i.e. if advertisers have the legal right), then it's inevitable that somebody will try. So it (unfairly, maybe) falls to those who dislike ads to step up and take action against them. People do all the time -- proposals for ad-free public spaces (no park bench ads, etc.); boycotts of movie theatres that showed ads before the feature (it didn't work out, but at least people tried), etc. In essence, though, you have a problem created by the combination of capitalism and free speech. To solve the problem, you have to find a way to restrict one or the other more than they already are.

Now you might say, but that's the price you pay for watching broadcast television. Very true, and that's a big reason why I no longer do watch commercial television.

Yeah, neither do I. On my end, I find I'm generally happier when I avoid a stream of portrayals of what my life "should" be like, which is in part advertising but also in large part contemporary TV and film. I've got decent filters as well as far as specfic messaging, but the constant drone of what's "normal" in a televised lifestyle creates feelings of inadequacy. If I were 17, I'd say "it's meant to" in a sinister voice and rub my hands together, but the fact of the matter is people generally want to see appealing people with nice things doing appealing stuff as entertainment. C'est la vie.

And you very fairly ask -- how can I do my job without resort to doing things that annoy you? And quite honestly, I don't care. That's not my problem. It's your profession's problem.

Well, unless I'm okay with you being annoyed, in which case it's back to being your problem again. If the underlying problem is with capitalism and/or free speech, then I have to accept your annoyance as inevitable and just get on with my life.

It does, however, remain a "problem" in the "math problem" sense of problem -- and unfortunately, the "problem" to be solved is "how do we communicate with people that don't want to be communicated with?" Which results in an escalation of annoying (for impact), devious (to get around standard filters) and prominent (for inevitability) advertising. Which is why...

I didn't make you choose it. You chose it.

...I stick with it. Somebody asked me once, when I was whining about being an adman, why I don't just quit and join the Peace Corps or something. The answer is that if everyone with a moral compass quits working in advertising, there'll be nobody with a moral compass working in advertising.

MetaFilter loves to hate Seth Godin, but I actually like the man, largely because his work on "permission marketing" has a lot to do with finding ways to approach people with messages of value to them, at a time when they want to listen to that message. He's got a lot of other marketing fooferaw on the go of varying value, but on the whole his thrust is to find ways of presenting messages with some sort of pertinence to people, as opposed to just plastering a Starbucks logo on the moon or whatever. Is that good marketing (because it's engineered to tone down the overabundance of ads and try to actually be relevant to the audience) or evil marketing (because it is by nature more personal, and thus more "manipulative," than standard ads)? I'd like to think the former, but I'm expecting to be accused of the latter. And, to be fair, lots of people in my line of work do only see the exploitative end of that equation instead of how it can be of benefit to what koeselitz calls the commons.

Not responding to anyone in particular, but just in general, two things bother me about the Bill-Hicks-lite approach: one, it's frustrating to be at what amounts to the inevitable and admittedly sometimes annoying tip of the capitalist wedge, and to constantly get hammered for it. The other is that it really assumes the worst of people -- you have to have a fairly dismal view of humanity to assume that a vignette showing a woman growing up and growing older will convince them to shop at one store above all others, regardless of price, quality or convenience.

Case in point:

I can't cede that part of me (maybe the last sovereign territory) to the advertisers.

Oh, for pity's sake, show some self-respect. You're not a gibbering blank slate waiting to be filled by whatever content is dropped in front of you; you're an intelligent, capable human being who is perfectly able to make informed decisions on your own. An advertisement for bread is not going to eradicate the last whimpering vestige of your humanity. Thinking "that was nice" at the end of a well-crafted TV spot is not going to turn you into a drooling John Lewis mandroid.

I'd be distressed if you actually believed that, but I don't think you do -- I think you're indulging in theatrics and deliberately using hyperbole and an appeal to emotion to make your case. In other words, marketing.
posted by Shepherd at 6:48 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


"The background music is a commissioned piece for the advert, "History", by Working for a Nuclear Free City."

Ah, I did not know that! I do like that band as well, if only because their name reminds me of the signs I saw coming into Manchester.

"But perhaps you are suggesting that the books I read and the music I listen to are "tainted by the needs of commerce" in some other way? I'm aware of product placement in movies but in other media I honestly don't think that's so."

I don't want to presume your tastes - I can't, and you wouldn't guess mine more than likely - but in, say, commercial pop or commercial fiction there's a lot that gets out there mainly because someone somewhere knows it will sell well. Think of all the failed boybands, the artists who get dropped by labels because a chart entry at number 6 is a faliure for an act designed to be as mass appeal as possible. Think of all the imitators of Dan Brown, Harry Potter, or Bridget Jones Diary, and compare these with the originals. Think of Hollyoaks and High Street Honeys. Think of the last time you went past the poster of a chick flick or Vin Diesel movie and thought to yourself 'who would even pay to see that??)

There's nothing at all wrong with manufactured pop, let me say. But there's a reason why you won't hear the latest Disney stable pop star sing about death, evangelism or Heidegger. And there's a reason why Lady Gaga, in the same field of chart pop, sticks out three miles.


Similarly, with John Lewis, my read was that the company's intent was to distinguish themselves as a store that is dedicated to long-term customer satisfaction and retention; show the lifespan of a woman in the understanding that viewers will understand that the store has been a dependable source of goods and services throughout her life

I can tell you that was their intention - it's what we call a 'brand ad' - something not designed to get you to buy something in particular, but to remember the brand. Any ad by a company that doesn't focus on any product in particular does just this. The co-Op had one recently to promote their commitment to Fair Trade, something they've become well-known for, for which Bob Dylan licensed Blowin' In the Wind.


that the purpose of Doctor Who is in no small part to sell you more Doctor Who.

All I'm saying is that there is an awful lot of Doctor Who merchandise on sale. Although as it's on the BBC, they don't advertise during the programme.

I'm an advertising regulator, so it's my job to take an interest in advertising in terms of it's legal or social repercussions, but prior to this, my view was that if advertising is a necessary part of the society in which we're living, why shouldn't it be at least entertaining. And even though I watch many, many ads now I still enjoy seeing what agencies come up with, and put out there, and become part of pop culture, and maybe change perceptions a little bit.


There are other media products which are far more harmful to us - magazines which place a heavy emphasis on the shapes and figures of women, or newspapers which manipulate facts to cause negative attitudes toward certain social groups. This is a good place to direct your anger, as these are all products of capitalism, all things which from a Marxian perspective serve to divide those with the least power.
posted by mippy at 7:40 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are other media products which are far more harmful to us - magazines which place a heavy emphasis on the shapes and figures of women, or newspapers which manipulate facts to cause negative attitudes toward certain social groups. This is a good place to direct your anger, as these are all products of capitalism, all things which from a Marxian perspective serve to divide those with the least power.

I have no shortage of anger. Giving some to some people doesn't take any away from others. It's not fungible.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:36 AM on April 29, 2010


aren't you essentially saying "do your job but don't you dare do it well"?

Yes! Or at least, your job as you see it. I don't like your job, and I'm happier when you're a bumbler at it. Very selfish of me, I know.

I think we actually agree on about 95%, Shepherd. But I think that "if I didn't do it, someone worse would do it" is a sign you're engaged in an antisocial enterprise.

I absolutely accept that given an acceptance of free speech and capitalism, I'm going to be annoyed a lot. Well, I'm not wedded to capitalism. And even if I were, I'm still going to be annoyed. Lots of things I believe in have annoying side-effects. That doesn't mean I should just give up on ameliorating those side-effects, or that I should disown my own emotions. In fact it would be dishonest of me to pretend those side-effects weren't there. So I applaud your honesty in laying out so clearly the arms race of indifference vs attention-seeking that leads to our argument here.

In sum: you annoy me professionally. You won't stop doing it, and I won't stop being annoyed. Hooray!
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:14 PM on April 29, 2010


There are other media products which are far more harmful to us - magazines which place a heavy emphasis on the shapes and figures of women

I remember how 70s and 80s feminists quite successfully shamed advertisers out of the most sexist use of women's bodies and stereotypes. And I notice in the last decade how those things have come back, at first draped in the plausible deniability of retro/irony, now just T&A and sexism unvarnished. I find that pretty harmful -- in fact, because of its ubiquity and pervasiveness, more harmful than those magazines.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:19 PM on April 29, 2010


US troops in afghanistan dancing to Telephone.
posted by empath at 6:51 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Joe, I wasn't even talking about cheesecake, or even lad's mags. I meant magazines produced for women, which focus very heavily on weight loss, dress size, and what famous people are seen eating. I find it quite sad that women criticising other women is so pervasive we don't even notice it anymore.
posted by mippy at 3:05 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The haters in this thread remind me why I rarely spend any time on Metafilter anymore.

If you can't read something that you disagree with then you probably shouldn't have been here in the first place.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 3:21 PM on May 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


aerotive: "2I like it...kinda reminded me of the last few minutes of the Six Feet Under finale ."

Well, thanks a heap, aerotive. I had never seen the finale and now I'm crying into my laptop.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:21 PM on May 3, 2010


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