Good question for the Disinfo crowd: accurate or appropriating?
Good question for the Disinfo crowd: accurate or appropriating?
It’s taken over twenty years, but American Apparel has finally finally begun offering clothes in size XL. Up until just recently, anything over a “Large” was just plain “not our demographic,” according to American Apparel reps. It may seem strange that the popular clothing outlet has never provided anything over a size 11, but who here is truly surprised to hear that Don “I’m A Sleazeball And I’m Okay With That” Charney’s company caters exclusively to slender women?
New sizes apparently mean new models to display them, so American Apparel has started a plus-sized model search/contest looking for “booty-ful” women to fill out the new XLs. Women submit photos to American Apparel’s website, where they are then numerically ranked by readers based on their perceived attractiveness.
Anyone who has ever been to a model search can tell you that, despite the abundance of beautiful people, it’s a horribly ugly affair.… Read the rest
There sure is a lot of time traveling on television these days. The Consumerist provides an example of the subtly unsettling practice of messing with cinematic/cultural/TV continuity by digitally inserting advertisements from the present into old shows and movies. Just wait until they start slipping “Zookeeper” billboards into footage of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech or Nazi stadium rallies:
For the past few years, networks have been digitally inserting ads and product placements for new products into old reruns. Shannon just noticed one in a rerun of a 2007 episode of “How I Met Your Mother.” In the background on the shelf is a magazine with an ad on the back for the new “Zookeeper” starring Kevin James.
Cigarettes seem like the last thing a doctor would prescribe, but Iceland may be moving to outlaw the sale of cigarettes in stores and only allowing pharmacists to dispense them. The proposal was written in hopes of reducing the amount of smokers and emphasizing the health concerns rather than the marketing tactics. Those with a prescription for cigarettes will be considered addicts getting the chemicals their bodies have become accustomed to. The Guardian reports:
Iceland is considering banning the sale of cigarettes and making them a prescription-only product.
The parliament in Reykjavik is to debate a proposal that would outlaw the sale of cigarettes in normal shops. Only pharmacies would be allowed to dispense them – initially to those aged 20 and up, and eventually only to those with a valid medical certificate.
The radical initiative is part of a 10-year plan that also aims to ban smoking in all public places, including pavements and parks, and in cars where children are present.
Facebook wants to be the place where you feel most yourself, with the most control over how you are regarded. It inextricably intertwines marketing with selfhood, so that having a self becomes an inherently commercial operation.
Writing for n+1, Rob Horning concocts a frightening, fantastic, and thought-provoking essay on how we live today, connecting the reign of “fast fashion” companies such as Forever 21, social media such as Facebook, and 21st century capitalism’s demand that workers market and reinvent themselves endlessly:
I’ve always thought that Forever 21 was a brilliant name for a fast-fashion retailer. These two words succinctly encapsulate consumerism’s mission statement: to evoke the dream of perpetual youth through constant shopping. Yet it also conjures the suffocating shabbiness of that fantasy, the permanent desperation involved in trying to achieve fashion’s impossible ideals.
Despite apparently democratizing style and empowering consumers, fast fashion in some ways constitutes a dream sector for those eager to condemn contemporary capitalism, as the companies almost systematically heighten some of its current contradictions: the exhaustion of innovative possibilities, the limits of the legal system in guaranteeing property rights, the increasing immiseration of the world workforce.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has confirmed that this is a real promotion occurring now at KFCs across the country. Gulp down a “mega jug” of Pepsi — that’s a half gallon containing 56 spoonfuls of sugar — and one whole dollar will go towards finding a cure for the terrible disease that the drink will give you. Via Grist:
I honestly didn’t believe this one was for real at first. No way even KFC, purveyors of a sandwich that uses fried meat as a delivery mechanism for fried meat, would seriously market a soda size called the “mega jug.” And even if they did, they’d never have the chutzpah to donate “mega jug” dollars to juvenile diabetes research.
Sadly, I had totally underestimated KFC’s capacity for irony. The mega jug is a half gallon of soda, and this is a real local promotion. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation defends it thus: “JDRF supports research for type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that results when the immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, therefore requiring a child or adult with the disease to depend on insulin treatment for the rest of their lives.
Rachel Maddow compares Sarah Palin’s media portrayal to a similar strategy that Putin is known to use. From images of her running in pristine Alaska to her successful hunting kills, Palin’s media image isn’t too far off from Putin horseback riding shirtless. Maddow continues to question whether these tactics facilitate the same reactions from Americans as Putin receives from Russians. FromThe Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC:
On the bright side, is it really such a bad thing to be implanted with false memories of, say, dancing with smiling, multicultural nu-ravers while drinking a refreshing Pepsi? Partial Objects explains:
A newly published study by two marketing professors suggests that advertising can create memories of experiences that never happened, simply by including sufficiently evocative imagery and descriptions in the ad:
Exposure to an imagery-evoking ad can increase the likelihood that consumer mistakenly believes that s/he has experience with the advertised product when in fact s/he does not. Moreover such a false belief produces attitudes that are as strong as attitudes based on true beliefs based on previous product experience, an effect that we label the false experience effect.
Advertising has always been an appeal to a fantasy, and this study seems to suggest that if the ad is created just right, that fantasy can be in the form of a desire to return to a previous wonderful experience (even if the previous experience never actually happened.) But this finding suggests something a bit more insidious.
It may come as a surprise to some Americans, but since 9/11, Osama bin Laden’s name and visage have been prime fodder for use in corporate ad campaigns (elsewhere) around the world, symbolizing a range of meanings. Buzzfeed has an overview of some of the best examples of Osama advertising, demonstrating that terrorism, like sex, sells. Just imagine the unbelievable bankability he would have commanded had he not been in hiding.
“In the early 1900s, radium was more valuable than gold and platinum. As such, the term “Radium” was incorporated into the brand names of any number of products even when these products didn’t actually contain radium. The same was true for the term ‘X-Ray.’”
How To Be A Retronaut has a nice collection of early to mid-twentieth century consumer brands that tapped into a general public enthusiasm for anything related to atomic bombs and radiation. Those were simpler times, when happiness meant an “atomic meal” on every kitchen table and (usually faux-) radioactive products in every medicine cabinet.