When did advertising start glorifying the loser?

Nothing food related here, just a rant.

When did advertising start glorifying the loser?

I’m not going to claim the good old days had better commercials. I grew up with Bill Cosby shilling Jell-O. Advertising has always sucked. But advertising used to be about making people want to be someone cooler than themselves. “Damn, that Marlboro man is bad-ass. I want to be like him. I better pick up a pack of Marlboro cigarettes. Look at how women swoon after Burt Renolds and The Hoff, I better get me a Trans-Am. Look at the abs on that guy, and look at how sexy his wife is, I better shave with that razor!”

The concept of linking your product to inspirational/awesome/sexy people is as old as brand marketing itself. So why have so many of the big names in radio advertising switched to the exact opposite?

Have you heard a Timmy’s commercial lately? It’s about some dumb-ass grown man gibbering on about “ooey-gooey” grilled cheese sandwiches.

Or how about the “I want me one of those” Toyota commercials? “I tried to make my girl friend the perfect snow man; they’re getting married next week.” “I wanted a tan, so I went to Florida; it would have worked better if I’d gone outside.”

These people are annoying losers. Why would I want to be anything like them? When I think of Tim Horton’s, I no longer think of donuts, I think of gibbering idiots. When I think of Toyotas, I no longer think of old men who can’t drive, I think of losers who can’t do a single thing right. Okay, Toyota may not have started in a good position, but they did manage to find a way to go even further down the suck-scale (which is a shame, because I’m starting to have some respect for the engineers and product planners there).

Did I miss something? Did society start idolizing the incompetent?

If we are going to be stuck with advertising (and it does appear to be here to stay), can we at least have more of the empowering variety? I can deal with “You can do it, we can help”, “Never stop improving”, or “Find your greatness“. I’m sure industries beyond home renovation super stores and personal fitness can make a buck off of us aiming to be better people.

/rant

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