February 8, 2008

Papering Over The Differences

As a small bit of synchrony, a reader called out this ad the same day I read Digby’s The Lovers And The Fighters.  Digby writes:

I have often thought that the two parties could be described as two fundamental archetypes: The Lovers vs The Fighters. I don’t mean that pejoratively in either sense, but rather that temperamentally, we seem to be motivated by different impulses, both of which are part of all human beings, but which I can loosely characterize with these two terms. This has even been borne out by psychological studies….

As I watch the primary unfold, and see what looks increasingly like a deep desire among the Democratic rank and file to assert Obama’s positive, uplifting vision of politics, it looks like Americans may have the starkest choice between a Lover and a Fighter in my lifetime. The man the Republicans appear to be about to nominate is so combative that even his own party fears he’s going to knock their heads together as much as the other guy’s….

As much as Digby captures and frames the character difference between the two parties, let’s be clear about one thing: the advertising world understands this stuff cold, and is expert at working both sides.  As Trudi, my reader, comments:

I wanted to suggest that if you haven’t seen the latest Charmin toilet paper TV ad, it is worth analysis.  The commercial shows 2 bears racing toward an unknown destination; one bear is blue and one is red.  They reach their goals, which are packages of new kinds of Charmin toilet paper:  extra strong, and extra soft.  Guess which color bear grabs the extra strong paper and poses like a weight lifter showing his muscle?  And which color bear grabs the extra soft and starts cuddling the package?

By the way, I know I can get a little too wrapped up in our process here because, when I first saw the red bear do his thing with the package, it crossed my mind for an instant that the bird going by might actually be a reference to 9/11!

But seriously, I think they did a great job with gender neutrality, as well balancing the blue bear in the lead on the beach, with the red bear ahead on the sand on the way to the outhouses.  The fraternal fist tap at the end, I think, also appeals to the ultimate fantasy of bipartisanship.  And then, is it too much of a stretch to imagine that those two structures doubling as voting booths?  …Although, who knows where that could lead.

(It’s Friday, by the way.  Be as free as you’d like in your associations.)

The Lovers And The Fighters (Digby)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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