Famous Footwear launched several commercials recently under the slogan “Victory is Yours.” Each commercial, while prompting a few chuckles, perpetuates America’s perverted desire to buy junk it doesn’t need.
Of course- this is the goal of advertising: to make the consumer believe he not only needs the item being advertised, but that not having that item will result in utter misery. This is why it is so effective. Perhaps the most revolting aspect of these commercials is its exploitation of the relationships between parents and their teens. More often than not, these relationships are strained but what is unfortunate is the mode by which the commercials suggest the relationship be repaired.
For example, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4UrAwWkUGk this commercial depicts a mother feeling victorious because she got her teen to smile by purchasing a pair of shoes. It suggests that the only way to make her son happy is to lavish him with THE shoes of the season so he can fit in at school and feel good about himself.
Her primary mistake is the idea that THIS purchase will make her and her son happy—complete fallacy. What happened to last years’ kicks? Why is Johnny no longer ecstatic about the purchase of those shoes? New purchases can provide short-term elation but they do not provide any lasting happiness; and they absolutely do not reach the center of why Jim Bob is fundamentally unable to feel good about himself.
But it’s not really about Jr., it’s about mom feeling like she is a success. To love her son the right way means she will have to talk about things she doesn’t want to address and at the expense of her son’s nerves. No parent wants to do this but that’s what love, what being a parent, requires. You have to talk about the hard-to-talk-about stuff. Buying things is a poor substitute for real relationship.
This http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VlEigVKcLo&feature=endscreen is another example of teen moodiness that is answered by thrusting a pair of shoes in a young girl’s face. The mother suggests the shoes put “a spring in her slouch.”
It screams, “Get your kid the most idolized pair of shoes and watch her come out of her slump!” What mom needs to do is talk to Cindy about Cindy’s unresolved issues regarding the media’s emphasis on supermodel bodies and couture clothing; hence the slouch.
Her daughter, like most, knows she will never measure up to this sick, perverted relationship our society has with perfection. Rather than address this destructive thought pattern, mom exacerbates the situation. Mom’s purchase shows her daughter that mom also believes her daughter should try to conform to our culture’s concept of beauty.
However, like the previous commercial, it is not really about Mary Sue or Jim Bob; it’s about mom, as the consumer, feeling accomplished because she has helped her kid overcome some monumental emotional turmoil. But she hasn’t. Mom has slapped a Band-Aid over the top of an infected wound that will continue to fester. Mom can feel relieved that she has done her motherly, relational duty. Suzie Q and Leroy get a new pair of shoes and both mom and kid can be happy- until Famous promotes their Spring line of wedges and Reeboks.
Here is a compilation of the other Famously detrimental thought patterns. See what YOU think!
A Father’s Affection
Pull for Communication