Assumptions about Communication/Cool Hand Luke

Suzette Haden Elgin ocls at MADISONCOUNTY.NET
Sun Feb 25 22:33:03 UTC 2001

Gerald van Koeverden  writes:


 You are partly correct.  There are always negative feelings associated with a
successful commercial, but there are also postive feelings.  It is the mix of
these two in how the viewer interprets them that determines whether the
is successful or not, in whether it induces positive (buying) or negative
(cynicism) responses.

For example, an advertisement on Caribean cruises might first focus on evoking
negative feelings, eg. a sense of jealousy on the part of the viewer.  The
is trapped between his feelings of vicariously enjoying the cruise and his
realization that he or she can't afford it or the time.  Then the ad by
advertising cheap rates for short cruises gives him or her a way of being
able to
do it, and overcome this chasm between fanatsy and reality.

Sales pitches for cruises and arguments by mothers to get their children to
their teeth, work on the same principles."

**Partly correct or not, I'm not communicating. Let's try this again.

I'm not talking about subtle negative feelings like a "sense of jealousy on
the part of the viewer." I mean that tasteless and tacky and even vulgar
laxative commercials, diarrhea remedy commercials, toilet paper
commercials, beer commercials, sexual "vigor" commercials [I'm trying hard
to be neither subtle nor obscure] -- commercials that people find
literally, overtly disgusting -- sell more product than elegant and
tasteful commercials that people love. You know that commercial where the
little girl stands trustingly as the rhinoceros charges at her across the
savannah? It's lovely; it's irresistible. And nobody can remember what
product or brand or company is associated with it.

This is different from the effect that a gross-out human being has on other
human beings in noncommercial language interactions, and is not recommended
as a way to get your kids to brush their teeth.


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