April 13, 2010
 

Buy me, please.

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Click above for Macy's Sale

By Kelly W. McHale, Guest Columnist

To all those hot-shot creative directors with offices in the corner, you're cornered.

Tag lines are now for the emotionally weak. Catch phrases are for the attention span-ally challenged. Slogans are for hedge fund managers. Your audience was always more intelligent than that, and if not - well you're SOL kid, get a day job.

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Knee-beg marketing.

Face it, the next wave of Holiday Ads are going to use buzzwords like, "Reduced, Half-Off, Going out of Business." Someone at (agency name here) had an idea for a new holiday ad this week and the client green lighted it on the spot. It's called, "Buy me, please." The attorneys are running a copyright/trademark on it. The planners say it's the "please" part that'll move the needle. Knee-beg marketing.

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Mission statements are for the non-conformitally challenged. People like me are as nonconforming as can be - you can wear ripped jeans and black makeup and you'll be nonconforming too if you be just like me.

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Click above for Saks' Sale.

People like me don't use marketing strategy statements; people like me don't need marketing strategy statements; people like me don't like marketing strategy statements. People like me don't have marketing strategy statements. People like me don't have a terminal illness. People like me don't feel the need to rush out and get one - though they do seem to be rising in popularity these days. That was intentionally ambiguous.

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Click above for Bloomingdale's Sale

The formal eco-metric educational system was a dismal fraud and failure and people like me think it's time people like me stuck up for our rights as creative individuals to say that I can buy what I want, how I want and know that people will buy it because it's good - not because of catchy taglines or headlines - though they never hurt. Alan Ginsberg said "I won't write until I'm in my right mind." People like me believe him, and people like me know where he was coming from. He was coming from the same place we all come from. The narrative of life.

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Click above for Neiman-Marcus' Sale

Spiral smoke signal couches cradle me as people like me think about our future. The time has come! It's always like that. When people like me stay in one place for too long our innards start to preserve and pickle themselves like waking up from a long nap after too much dinner. Metaphors seem to be the only things that are real these days. In fact, my life is one big metaphor for life. Funny how that works. If someone had told you 10 years ago that you'd be where you are right now would you have believed them? People like me sure wouldn't have, yet here we are. Well I guess that's the reason we keep kicking, cuz we never know.

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Click above for Century 21's Sale.

We're constantly driving through the mountains watching the curves as they come our way. Sometimes we can see two ahead - in those rare and wonderful instances - but usually we can only see what's coming. Most of us - myself included - have spent our lives smack dab in the middle of a giant storm of cosmic radiation, x-rays, gamma rays, solar winds, infrared waves, light waves, ocean waves, emotion waves and the floor thumping sound systems of rushing traffic; face to face with the wild temperamental beast which is our biosphere yet perceiving only a miniscule band of the complete energy spectrum which is constantly bombarding us day in and day out. I'm becoming more aware of larger and larger cycles these days. The rise and setting of the sun, the waxing and waning of the moon, the seasons. Things people like me never noticed before. As a child, people like me use to go out of our minds without toys or something to do - now the only thing that interests me is the play of shadows amongst sunny trees. Lava lamps are good fun too.

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Click above for Lord & Taylor's Sale

Restlessness has set in these days as people like me look for a path to take. Robert Frost said he took the path less traveled by, but all the paths people like me can see look equally trodden. It's virtually impossible to find something that someone else already hasn't. Especially in the city. Especially in a world of 6 billion people. If you've got an idea - someone else has already had the same idea and has probably has the copyright trademark and patent. Dairy queen will soon be paying license fees to Paris Hilton. The great machine keeps on turning.

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Click above for Nordstrom's Sale.

Every day people like me work with stubborn client value systems - trying to etch our prerogatives into someone else's preferences. It's like trying to shape metal with water droplets. People like me know how things should be done - hell the entire internet agrees with us and yet some people have enough money that they can pay to have it done wrong. This insanity just blows my mind. But people like me are free now. People like me have relinquished our live in the computer industry for a life of creativity. Now if people like me can just find something to create that hasn't got trade mark stamps all over it then we'll be fine.

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Click above for Bergdorf's Sale.

And then it hit me. What's the one thing that everyone has which has no patents? This was my conundrum you see. People like me were certain there had to be something so obvious that no one had found it yet. And then it hit us like a ton of bricks, or perhaps more like the rancid cheese tacos people like me mistakenly ate last night while drunk. Egos! The expression of which is usually termed Jerkaholic or the more prominent "A" word resembling a variety of donkey. It was so extremely and mind-blowingly simple. They say that opinions are like them, because everybody's got one. People like me came to this conclusion after dealing with the general populace of the internet and then dealing with the general populace of car salesmen and then just the general populace. Some people like me kinda suck. Ok not everybody. Lots of good people in the world - but if you go to the store on any random day you'll meet lots of buyers who've got a bad case of rectal cranial inversion. Now it doesn't surprise me that the collective consciousness in the world would be in such a state - I mean in the grand evolutionary scheme of things we've only just recently evolved into a semi modern society so it's only natural that some archaic ways are still about.

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Everyone knows that constipation can lead to crankiness - though not every one realizes it or even believes they are this way. People often use the phrase "full of" #@$%*. A practice which is particularly common in extreme and competitive group sports is for the men to slap each other on the? What is gluteus maximus, Alex? When gorillas are in a dispute over territory this is the official weapon of choice projectile used for hurling at offending monkeys. What is fecal matter, Alex? And the daily double is "Nice guys finish..." Ok, let's see, oh wow, he wagered everything on it, he must be very certain... and your answer is? What is last?

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Click above for Henri Bendel's Sale.

If you walk into a modern store you can see this dynamic in action. People like me think it goes back to the days when we were cave-people living in, well caves. Mothers were rearing children and gathering while fathers were out hunting - this was by no means a good standard to set for today because we are in very different times; however this was the state of things. Suddenly a ravenous saber tooth tiger jumps out of the bushes frothing at the mouth looking for a tasty human crunchy treat. Oh no! Then father appears on the scene with a big ol club and thwack - hey kitteh! Leave them alone! And then daddy jumps on the tiger and beats it senseless. Now the adrenaline rush that mom felt has created a heightened emotional state and she's all very thankful for her life and for the tiger meat which will last many days and so baby number two is conceived. How's that gonna play today when you get a ravenous pink slip? Hmmm...

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Click above for Barney's Sale.

Right, so maybe some details of this story were altered a bit, but as with any good legend it gets more grandiloquent over time. The point is, there is a dynamic which occurs in many stores which is not altogether too different from this one. Obviously it is by no means the only dynamic that runs its course but it is certainly one of the most common people like me have seen. Big bad mo'fo walks into the store and gets the deals by being a real jerkaholic. It's very prevalent and very befuddling to a lot of other people like me.

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Click above for Loehmann's Sale.

So have we really got ourselves stuck in primitive times? Are we really monkeys? People like me don't have the answers to that and the opinions vary wildly. One thing for sure is: we're completely insensitive primitive brutes to each other on a regular basis. Look at Congress. People like me think this is the reason a lot of people have come to the conclusion that society is basically hopeless and helpless. People like me think another reason people think this way is because lots of times the only way you get what you want is by being mean. People remember you that way. People like me don't think this is the best approach and people like me don't think society is totally helpless. People like me think we just need to recognize where we are and then build it up from there. People like me don't think that nice guys finish last is something that will last for much longer - People like me just think it's an unfortunate fad... an... eon, long ... fad - that's been going on for millions of years. People like me think as we mature as a society - as the world finishes its growing pains that we will come up on the other side, older and wiser than we were once before. That the buying rituals of the elderly are different than those of the young is already a testament to the waning power of materialism. However in the retail stores of the world - the selfish people still reign supreme.

Buy me, please.

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Click above for Von Maur's Sale.

Kelly is a full-time student at Emerson.

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