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MONDAY, JULY 04, 2011



Arts & Entertainment

Last Fall, Dentyne released a new ad campaign with hopes of bringing people together. With this launch, the chewing-gum company positioned itself in opposition to all things Facebook, MySpace, text-message, MSN, and email. In other words, it's taking on the new institution of social-networking -- the internet -- with the intention of bringing human communication back on par with times prior to 1989. The following are examples of the recent campaign:

Dentyne print ads

Dentyne television commercial

Since I no longer think all advertisements are inherently evil, I can watch with delight. I enjoy the minimalism and how they depict people as generally good folk. I also find their warm rendition of commonly cold phrases, such as "send & receive," quite clever. They even made a 3-minute website that insists you disconnect after three minutes to go outside and play with your friends. According to the site, there's "enough time to browse every link, but not a second more."

As expected, not everyone thinks as highly of this strategy as I do -- here is the standard argument against my optimism. I agree that we currently have too many companies deciding how best we should live our lives, but if a piece of chewing gum can help us reconsider how we relate to one another, I think we can deal with our loses in light of what we have gained. I can imagine -- and perhaps naively -- that the marketing team would have gladly spread their message of making more face time without the product placement if they could, but they can't.

I have a very ambivalent attitude towards advertising: I both love and hate it. On the one hand I can see how advertising is manipulative, deceptiv...




First let me say that I think gum is almost directly correlated with social relations. I think that most people become aware of their bad breath or "halitosis" (an invented pseudo-scientific name for bad breath only to sell more products of Listerine) only when they meet each other. And very few people chew gum while in private. So it's a gum manufacturer's best interest for people to get off the internet. Secondly, I think that this is ironical. Sure, bad breath is a nuisance but so is having to buy a pack of gum every time people want to meet. It falls alongside, brushing your hair, hair-spraying it, using body spray, deodorant, facial creams, and every single product that Patrick Batement would use to cleanse his face in the opening scene of American Psycho. In the end, part of the reason it's sometimes just easier to contact a few friends online is because they aren't on a level to forgive you for your "halitosis."

American Psycho Intro: A reminder of why public appearances has become a chore.



One thing I didn't mention in my response piece: You say, Ryan, that you "can imagine -- and perhaps naively -- that the marketing team would have gladly spread their message of making more face time without the product placement if they could, but they can't."

A funny thing to suggest, though it may be true. Imagine if advertisers were free or encouraged (or even more unbelievably, paid) to come up with purely feel-good ad campaigns, with not even a hint of self-interest? (that sounded like a crappy deleted John Lennon lyric...).

Maybe those "God probably doesn't exist, so stop worrying and enjoy life" bus ads qualify? And isn't there a counter-campaign that simply turns it into "God probably does exist..."? Does that second one qualify? What do you think?...

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