Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I saw this on a rolling billboard on the Champs Elysees.

It says "Life--What a Beautiful Product. Let's Limit Advertising!!!"
I thought the bar code was kind of clever. It took me a minute to figure out what it was. At first I thought it was just random lines, but as I understood the meaning of the message, that bar code leapt right out at me.

In my grammar class, one of the articles we read and discussed talked about the opposing sides of the advertising debate in France (and maybe elsewhere... I don't really know if there are "anti-advertising" groups in the US). Francois BRUNE, who is very much against advertising, wrote an article called (roughly) "Advertising: Watch out for the Trap" in which he presents the arguments of those who are for advertising, and then argues against each item.
The article was only a page long, but there was one concept that really resonated pretty deeply with me. I've thought about it a lot while I've been in France. He talked about how every one of us has to find our "vie authentique," or our authentic way of living. It shouldn't be about what "everyone else" has, or whether something is the newest, miggest, most tricked-out model of something. It should be about whether having that item--or lifestyle, or way of dressing--is really you, or if you're being influenced by advertising.
Personally, I don't really care about limiting advertising. I know I'm influenced by it, but I feel like that's more of a personal thing. If I really hate that I'm so influenced by advertising, then maybe the best approcah would be to sit down and study it so I can pick advertising apart when I see it, rather than responding emotionally to it.

1 comment:

Billy Bob Bambino Bombabious Baby the Third said...

Much of our modern existence insulates us from the "real" world. We drive in cars/planes and arrive at incredible distances at incomprehensible times and complain about how long it took us. We sit in air conditioned comfort and complain about the heat. We are so far removed from the food we eat that it's a surreal process... While I am grateful for all of this, I wonder about the impact it has on us as human beings - are we really getting it? Are our lives so insulated that we have become comfortably numb? And what about empathy towards those who live in desperate circumstances without these conveniences? Does our lifestyle make us better/higher than them? If so, why? The rate of our consumption is so great that they would scarcely fathom our way of living... Most of the world lives on a dollar a day!

Advertising (in my mind, anyway) has become very trite. There used to be clever things out there, and I suppose there still is. But I don't listen/watch enough radio/TV that is paid for to really speak on this. So I am the anti-advertisement... :-)