Forget artificial intelligence and quantum computing, advertising has long relied on fuzzy logic. If you have been to the cinema or watched TV recently you will have felt the warm fuzzy feelings generated by, for instance, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes “Good Morning” ad. Whilst I turned up, incredibly, that the ad is filmed in Grovenor Park, London SE5 (you would have thought maybe Queens or Brooklyn from the look of it) my investigatory skills failed to put name to iconic face of the little girl (shown) whose smile carries the whole proposition. With a name, one could hit IMDB or something and discover that she was paid a million pounds, has also done stuff for Shredded Wheat etc.
Diversity? Kellogg’s versus David Cameron versus Nick Clegg versus ‘Islamists’ versus the EDL. But it is borg-like assimilation at work here. We are approaching the Big Crunch. Part of it – read the ulterior fuzzy logic of the ad – is that there is no longer room for cultural differences. Mongoloids, Caucasoids, Negroids all eat Corn Flakes for breakfast. Perhaps there is something of US multicultural strategy behind it – make the smile golden enough and we might just co-opt China.
But the ulterior proposition is more straightforward than that. As with Vodafone’s ‘Couple’ ad, which delivers multimedia messaging capabilities of fones right enough, aspirational advertising has gotten real.
Gone are the neon penthouses and supercars: such imagery is off-strategy for aspirational campaigns as the worlds they proselytise are simply no longer attainable. Aspirations have been toned down, and what we now have is a relatively ordinary street – somewhere redbrick, a nice bit of London perhaps. But look carefully. That looks like a house, not a mashup conversion, and one with an adjoining garage! Now look at the bloke at work:
He has driven to work, where he has an allocated parking space in an underground car park and a desk that looks like this:
What does he do? Own Nokia or Pratt and Whitney or something? Meanwhile his fiancee (more aspirational than ‘wife’ or ‘partner’) is here:
Not exactly your local Fitness First is it?
But it’s aspirational, you say. That’s the point.
But the point is this: as we approach The Asymptote, the headroom of aspiration, the dreaming gap hovering above attainable reality, becomes thinner and thinner. In other words, run the same ad in a year’s time, and the phone will be smaller and smarter and so on, but the aspirational backdrop will be more realistic. A mashup conversion in East Ham perhaps. A job on an Underground station. A sort of memetic inflation, if you like. At The Asymptote (so to speak) we will aspire to what we are.
Imaginative flatline, the End of Desire. Nirvana in other words.
And you thought advertising was evil.