The obstination of some “creatives” to underline the gregarious character of our culture does not stop surprising me. Propagandistic invocations aimed at selling a product come in pompous packaging which tries to aestheticize the most decadent common denominators of modern life. The following step is to twin everybody in front of that mirror which reflects always the same image. Those doctrinarians of branding, self-exempt from social responsibility establish without subtleties the notion that all of us are equal, more than similar to each other, undifferentiated.
I really want to highlight, in first instance, the TV advertisement launched in May of this year by the HSBC Bank, produced by JWT advertising agency. On the pretext of showing us the global reach of a banking services package, they thought that the best option was to state that apart from where we live, all of us lead identical lives. In this way, and on no scale, they speak out all of us need to believe in lottery, in tarot, in any Bible, or suggest that living alone is a synonym of being alone in the world. Summing up, common places of reduction of human condition, raved by the mediocre notion that in the end all of us are looking for the same thing.
They know that is a lie, not all of us are included in the same decaying average. So, how this pontification about the lack of human complexity can be understood?
It is about understanding why they show so much sympathy for such an authoritarian speech which hints that there are no options, that living more or less similarly is the right way to live, and therefore that deserves to be vindicated. Nobody obliges them; however, they are uncritically standing there, raising their voices in favor of the most archaic traditions and institutions. They do it in such a brutal manner that in many cases, until the end of said commercial, it is difficult to imagine what they will try to sell. The connection between the content and what they end up advertising is so round-about, that one has the feeling the product itself is a pretext; the message is what really matters.
And there are more examples in the submissive advertising universe, which let us identify common patterns. Let’s analyze “Marcha”, a 7up commercial also launched in May of this year by BBDO. In this case, the joint between what is gregarious and freak is even more evident. Narcotized multitudes march along the streets. In search of what? Of the identification of millions who believe “that living like those people is good”! In that context, the saying “I am what I am” seems to be a request of commiseration, of clemency, as if were told: “become friend of your little problems, because all of us face them and suffer life as well”.
They are two perfectly articulated messages, one about indistinctness and the other about degradation. Together they make up a speech of an only way, of cabin fever, an argument in favor of simplicity.
The consequences are not minor; we have to observe how much suggestion appears when we find ourselves in a moving train whose windows pass always through the same landscape. Is that trick enough to hypnotize all the passengers? This culture needs other accounts, less authoritarian and totalitarian ones, which reflect that even if many are in the same situation, not all of us are experiencing the same. There is an excess of obsequious people who turn majorities into hegemonies, perhaps it is the turn of those who plan to fight against that cultural claustrophobia.