I mentioned that I was the only baby I know of whose birth announcement was done as a product release. That is still true, but I think it says more about how many people I don’t know than the number of such releases. At any rate, I found it, and here it is, cleaned up a bit so as to keep some details (such as my full name and place of birth) out of the public eye. It’s me, so I am certainly biased, but I think it’s kind of charming in a naïve way; such a thing would be much slicker today, of course.
My father’s ad agency had the Darigold dairy account, so I grew up with Darigold around the house, especially the butter and milk. Darigold has gotten big in order to compete with the rest of industrialized dairy in the USA and today I wouldn’t drink it, but in those days nobody had any thoughts about “grass-fed”, rBST, or CAFOs.
I think the dairy was pretty small back then (this was a long time ago), but Dad always seemed to have a new brochure mockup like this one lying around on the kitchen table, and I was interested in them. I asked a lot of questions, and one thing about my father was that he always treated me as an equal whenever possible, so he would have answered them to the extent that he could while talking to a child. We discussed why people might be attracted to an ad or why they might be repelled by it, and all of the other subtleties that I could comprehend at the time; this led to a lifelong fascination with the process of how ads are created, and I suppose was indirectly responsible (in a small way, anyway) for my decision to become a photographer when I found I couldn’t support myself with my music while playing the music I liked.
I even appeared in an ad or two, looking like a typical dumb-cute 50s little boy eating ice cream, although I don’t know where the proof of that claim is. I know I have it somewhere, but I have a lot of old stuff lying around. I suspect I will eventually come across it just as I did this flyer, but I think this is enough to make my point – namely, that I started out “in the business” very young and have been involved with it ever since, even if it wasn’t on a professional level. The decisions we make unconsiously are very important ones, but by their very nature we are not aware of making them. And everybody claims they are not affected by advertisements. Bullshit. Heck, *I* am affected by them if the ad concerns something that I am interested in or which I already buy – and I know more about this whole process than most of you do. Show me a magazine with a Fender ad in it and I guarantee that I will read the ad every time. So just because Heinz Baked Beans ads don’t move me I can’t say “Ads don’t work on me,” which is what most people do – they think of an ad that doesn’t have any effect on them and then proclaim their imperviousness to ads in general.
That is a big, big mistake.
They work, and they work on you. The trick is to realize that and then work to control it. They are most dangerous when you are not aware of their power, which means that they can be pretty potent as far as most unbelievers are concerned.
As far as recognizing this power, we had a game we played in the family that really helped develop this analytical faculty and I think I will write a post about it, but that is a different story for another time. Let’s just say that the more you think about this and look into the motives that you see pushed by ads and the more aware you are as a manipulable consumer, the better off you and your family are.
Stay young and monstrous.