Sunday, August 17, 2014

Get 'em while they're young



This very brief commercial says so much with so little. Famous Footwear isn't just selling shoes, they are selling "confidence." To ten-year-olds. I don't even know where to begin. First I thought of Althusser, and the media as a cultural ISA. What kind of ideology is this promoting? Perhaps something like what Debord discusses? What's important is how we appear? But what's really troublesome about this short ad is that it's directly telling kids that the way to be happy and like yourself at school is to make sure the cool kids like you, by having cool clothes. Especially if you're black, because the cool kids are white, and you definitely need their approval. If you win them over, by buying stuff, "victory is yours!" Consumerism, spectacle, racism, and child indoctrination, all in one fun little package.

14 comments:

King said...


All I can say is, wow!

That commercial is so wrong on so many levels. Obviously, the quotidian, which asks a 10 year old to associate any valuation that she has about herself to money and that a value of a person is directly correlated to the stuff that they have.

In addition, I was flabbergasted that the only way for her to gain favor by the people from the majority, she has to leave a tip, have flashy shoes and still force her way onto the table.

Thank you for posting this. The Rhetoric of the zeitgeist.

Leah Daoud said...

Thanks for posting this! As much as it bothered me, it definitely feels like a nice summary of a lot of what we’ve talked about over the semester. It’s infuriating how many of these types of commercials are out there - basically, just dangle a shiny carrot (disguised in the appealing shade of whatever it is that we’re told we need but really don’t) in front of our eyes and they expect us trip over ourselves on the way to the mall. Ugh.

Clinton Barnes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clinton Barnes said...

The argument is incredibly insidious. By shopping at Famous Footwear, you save money, and that extra money gives you more power and "confidence," and ultimately leads to social acceptance. I see a combination of Debord and Klein: The child's confidence originates from the spectacle of her shoes, and the Famous Footwear brand is associated not with the product, but with the confidence supposedly sold alongside the product. Thanks to this class, I can never peacefully watch an advertisement again.

King said...

@Clinton - same here but who willingly wants to watch an advertisement anyway?

Samiha Baseer said...

Reminded me of this quote from Naiomi’s work “…it's a pretty safe bet that as spending on advertising continues to rise, we roaches will be treated to even more of these ingenious gimmicks, making it ever more difficult and more seemingly pointless to muster even an ounce of outrage.” Naimoi is referencing the rise in advertising and its subtle detrimental effects. I feel her sentiment when she says that it has become so prevalent that it seems useless to even have a reaction. As advertisements become more and more brilliantly cunning and we become more and more desensitized to the consumerism, racism, indoctrination in advertising, it seems that advertising will become our unsolicited pedagogue as it teaches us our worth, values, and goals.

Lea Dandan said...

This was absolutely amusing to watch. It's amusing in a sense that they are selling confidence for $39.99 a pop. They define confidence in this context as being rude to elders and arrogant because they have the newest type of shoes. Well, this confidence expires as soon as the newest in-style shoes are released. From my understanding, retail therapy can help you feel better but it doesn't get to the root of your insecurities even though it's a clever band-aid.

Lea Dandan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lea Dandan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lea Dandan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lea Dandan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lea Dandan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lea Dandan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lea Dandan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.