Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Americans What Have We Been Thinking?

Do you ever wonder what the companies who inundate the airwaves with their commercials really think about the very consumers they hope to attract? And how do those commercials make you feel, especially if you are a member of the target audience?

This morning the Capitol One credit card commercial, in the wake of the events last night and McCain's and Obama's words of unity and working together and sacrifice and making a change, seemed to reflect America consumers who need to rethink their priorities.

We have laughed at Captain Armadillo who retreats inside his shell when confronted unexpectedly with his wife. My husband says I over think these things for hidden messages. But it looks to me like we have a man who puts the needs of the universe on hold so that he can design a credit card. A card that is made simply to feed the greed for luxury and living beyond our means and purchasing things that polluted our environment in the making, cluttered our lives, pushing out what is truly important, and then ends up in landfills -- a whole 'nother problem.

In addition, he puts a photo of his family on the card and is proud of this 'image' of the perfect family. Yet, when confronted with a real flesh and blood wife offering him avocados (not sure what they represent) he, faster than a speeding bullet, insulates himself inside his protective shell and by the end of the commercial has not re-entered the world nor faced his wife.

Another Capital One commercial features a Captain Nemo type sea captain. He is more concerned with putting his darling Captain Barkey pet's photo on his card than rescuing his first mate who is in the clutches of a giant squid. Yes, I see the humor. But when you put the commercial in the context of a corporate giant seeking consumers -- I don't feel the love or respect. Is that how we are seen? Self-serving, selfish, blind to the needs of our fellow man, more devoted to our pets than to our fellow workers? Obsessed with more credit? Buying? Spending?

Perhaps now that we Americans are hearing a message from our leaders other than 'go out and shop', our behavior and priorities seem so shallow and well, embarrassing.

Would we be in the situation we are, economically, if we had more self-respect and civic pride? I wonder what our world would be like if we actually all gave 10 percent (or more) to improve our world, rather than improve our image of wealth.

Talk about a house of cards. Americans buying larger houses, adding technology that costs hundreds of dollars just because it is new and wearing clothes that copy the style of the rich and famous -- all purchased with plastic bringing us payments we can't afford. We work two and three jobs to maintain a fake lifestyle. When do we get real?

Maybe the change starts with a make over of each American in the image of our forefathers and mothers who knew what the priorities were and didn't spend their days worrying because the neighbor had a better lawn or designer dress or the latest appliance or technology. Yes, we must be consumers and grow the economy, but perhaps we need to make our purchase choices with a more discerning eye and look toward tomorrow, not just instant gratification.

And maybe we need to take another look at the commercials and determine just what those companies think of us? We have been gullible. We have fallen for the snake oil sales pitches. We have spent money we didn't have and never will. We have been childish in our choices saying "I want," rather than "How can I help." And we have taught our children these behaviors.

We all feel the need of change. I hope it will start with us.

Do I think Capitol One is the only corporation who has led us down the garden path to in the name of profit? No. Do I think the commercials will stop? No. It is up to us to make informed and responsible choices. We've made a good first step with choosing to elect a president out of hope, rather than fear.

Brainy Quotes offers several 'definitions' of Hope:


A desire of some good, accompanied with an expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable; an expectation of something which is thought to be desirable; confidence; pleasing expectancy.

One who, or that which, gives hope, furnishes ground of expectation, or promises desired good.

To entertain or indulge hope; to cherish a desire of good, or of something welcome, with expectation of obtaining it or belief that it is obtainable; to expect; -- usually followed by for.

To place confidence; to trust with confident expectation of good.

To desire with expectation or with belief in the possibility or prospect of obtaining; to look forward to as a thing desirable, with the expectation of obtaining it; to cherish hopes of.

And one step forward from hope -- faith: "...the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Let's put our faith to work and see what happens! Change, it happens one step at a time. One decision. One effort from every one of us.

No comments: