Remember the old commercial, where the guy asks, "is it live or is it Memorex?" TV viewers couldn't tell because the commercial created the illusion
that viewers were listening to the sound of a live instrument when they
were really listening to a recording. Now years later we have the "slimming camera" from HP that can instantly take pounds off (a special setting does the trick).
Check it out at Seth's blog or go directly to the
HP camera page These type of devices are very convenient for the ultra-image conscious (just ask Katy Couric), who was put on a Photoshop diet by CBS recently. The result: a younger, slimmer, zestier news anchor.
But this spotlights an interest trend and question: can you really believe anything you see anymore? Reality has taken a back seat for years to illusion and distortion. You can blame the corporate hype and marketing/media machine, slick advertisers and Madison Avenue, the media, technology, etc--but it doesn't matter. The bottom line is illusion now rules.
Of course companies have been creating images for years and getting away with it. When I worked at Intel (and was loosely part of the Intel Inside program) we managed to convince the world that there was something unique and magical about our processor, that "Intel Inside" equated to a technology marvel and safety for the consumer.
Most of these brands/images are deeply embedded in our brains.
Quick, what do you think about when you hear:
* Southwest Airlines
Ok, maybe HP's not a great example now..Ironically, bloggers are jumping on the slimming camera the same day the state of California announced it was filing charges against several key players in the never-ending HP pretexting soap opera, including chairwoman Patricia Dunn, who recently stepped down under fire. No slimming camera will help her or HP's once squeeky clean, above it all image.
* "Reality TV" -- is there anything "real" about the beautiful, aggressive young people who go at each other in the Apprentice?
* Crime news shows--COPs and so on...all creating the illusion we're living in a dangerous society where all black people are suspect, and the poor prey off the rich. Throw in the evening news shows too.
* Self Help and create wealth books--How many thousands of books are written promising eternal happiness if we could either make enough money...or lose 40 pounds...or grow hair...or find ourselves, our true selves.
I watched my daughter last week paging through
teen magazine, and then later took her on and endured a marathon
shopping spree with her (it was her 13th birthday). I was amazed at the
sophisticated advertising and marketing aimed at this young age group.
The fashions (and prices) seemed more geared toward an adult crowd.
I forgot the numbers, but the average kid gets hit with millions of ads before they're in college--or maybe it's the first grade. It's all about make a buck by creating an illusion that none of them will ever reach. I started to have that conversation with my daughter...but I resisted. After all, it was her birthday. Let her enjoy a small dream. We'll talk another day.