Everything That’s Wrong

Advertising is all about selling us something.  But in one particular commercial the something goes beyond the product to a lifestyle….a lifestyle of excess while putting down anyone not aspiring to follow along blindly.

Binging is all to common

Binging is all to common

The media has gotten on my nerves lately, and I don’t even have television.  From those bashing the Disney movie Frozen for it’s “gay message” to the stupidity of suggesting the missing airplane could have been lost in a black hole.  Even without a television it’s hard to avoid hearing these messages when they are spread through the rest of society.

Then there is this commercial by Cadillac which praises the type A personality who works overtime, doesn’t take vacations and has basically given his life to earning enough money to have the best and most expensive material items available to him.

I see wonderful changes around me, from college students who rather than lament the economic conditions are creating their own income streams; those who are striving for zero waste (or at least zero food waste); the rise of Farmers’ Markets along with the slow food movement; and adults who are sacrificing the big money to be home with their families more.  But then I see materialism pushed down our throats with a message I find demeaning to anyone who doesn’t live by the clock and flaunt status symbols.

I’d really like to know what you think about these messages, and specifically the commercial below,  which are being pushed harder and harder at a time in which we need to cut back and find a more sustainable lifestyle.  Do you think it is coincidental that these messages are so strong because  we are voting with our wallets and have cut back on our spending?


What are your thoughts?  Is there something getting on your Nerves lately?

37 thoughts on “Everything That’s Wrong

  1. I don’t think I have ever seen an ad for something anyone really needs, even the food ones are for rubbish products. Well, we do have some cute ones for the Swiss supermarket that advertises their organic range but that’s about it… Not many people realise this, sadly.
    I haven’t heard about the Frozen debate. How silly, where is tolerance in this world?? We hear it is very bad in the US if you are not in what they call a “liberal” area, that is so funny to us – our opinion of the US is that everything is incredibly conservative and mostly in a negative way (without even mentioning health insurance or holiday…), though I know there are many people who think differently, but overall…?! Hilarious when US friends gasp at how they think we are “so liberal”, even Canadian ones. We are pretty middling, I’d say.
    As for the work ethic/Cadillac, it’s another big con, isn’t it – who will see through it, I wonder.

    (I only recently realised you didn’t quit blogging – nice to be back!)

    • Swiss Rose, it’s nice to be back and to hear from you again. I didn’t realize how much I would miss everyone one. :-)

      Yes, there are areas of the US which are very conservative but there are areas which are very liberal, mostly the west coast. My town is a mix because we have a university here and the students (some of the professors) are very liberal which balances out the town.

      Tolerance is something I see more of in the youth than in my own generation. My boys laugh because I have college students who will stop by to visit with me (they are younger than my own children) but I love the conversations we have. They are very open to accepting of anyone regardless of race, physical ability, gender etc. It’s those talks with them that give me so much hope for a better world where all are accepted.

      Yes, we hear your country is very liberal and depending on their bias it’s either a good or bad thing. Personally, what I know of your country is that its citizens are happier than ours, so in my book you must be doing something right.

      It seems that Cadillac commercial has gotten only negative remarks. But I think they are okay with that because the outrage in the media is getting it more attention, sadly I did my part by sharing it.

  2. Lois,
    I am honored to have a link on your blog! I have to say I get frustrated with all these things too and I am glad I do not have a tv (although I do sometimes miss PBS).
    The Disney “Frozen” thing makes me embarrassed to say I am a Christian. Some people can be so hateful in the name of religion, and imo, miss the whole point of the Gospel entirely!
    Sometimes it is hard to not do what society is telling us- even my own friends and family I get the impression think I am a loser because I am “financially poor” (although that is arguable too, b/c even though we have a tiny house, old car etc, we have no debt!) and I have learned thus far the best thing to do is not care what other people think!!
    Thank you so much for your blog- I say it all the time- reading it gives me motivation to continue on the different path I am- I am constantly inspired by your words!


    • Katie, thank you so much! You are not poor at all, you have a loving family and as you say no debt. A friend recently posted on Facebook “I;d rather go to bed poor than wake up in debt”.

      Don’t ever be embarrassed to say you are a Christian, those of us with any brains can tell the difference between those who truly understand what being a Christian means and those that don’t. I tend to shy away from religion because of those who twist the teachings to fit their own prejudices. Personally, I’ve seen Frozen and think it’s a lovely movie, but then again I didn’t find anything wrong with Harry Potter either. I mean evil always lost and good always won, what better lesson could there be today?

  3. Thanks for sharing the ad. Like you, I don’t have a TV and fortunately miss hearing most of the media commentary (although I did hear about the plane – but none of those theories), so I was intrigued by you posting an ad – I knew it would be worth viewing! I felt all kinds of emotions watching it (unusually for an ad) – at first, when he says about buying stuff, i was confused – he was saying my message, but he was advertising a car; I just couldn’t figure it out. I was intrigued where it was going all the way to the end – and when the ending came I laughed. At how ridiculous the ending was, at how it is so far from what I believe… but also I laughed a little because I felt despair – and if I hadn’t laughed I might have cried. Do people really think like that? I guess they do.

    I might share the ad on my blog too – I’m still thinking about it now. We don’t have cadillacs here in Australia so no-one I know will have seen it, and I’d like to hear their thoughts. I think it brings up interesting debate!

    • I am still having a hard time getting my mind around how a plug in car, which should be better for the environment is so how associated with that arrogant attitude of wanting all the best things. The two messages are so contradictory, at least to me. Did you notice his home, it was huge and had all the top of the line appliances and gadgets. Why care about green house gases from your car when just heating that house would cause more?

      I’m interested to hear what your readers would think of this ad, especially since it is so demeaning to the cultures of other countries when talking about vacation time, etc.

      • Lois, I am skeptical about how green a plug in car is.
        -rare earth elements in them come from far away (China and the Congo), and the conditions of the folks doing the mining is horrible, especially in the Congo..and Air Polution in China is a big concern.
        — the costs to ship the rare earth elements that distance is huge, both in money and to the environment
        —- as recently as last year (don’t know if this has changed), I watched several programs on these, and once the battery is dead, One disposes of the car and buys a new one. The battery is big, and too expensive to just replace the battery in the car. Most of the vehicle cost is actually the battery
        —–buying a new vehicle every year or two or three or seven, is not “green”. think of all the parts in the landfill. think of the cost, both money and to the environment to source new materials to make new vehicles.

        — etc.

        • So true Lynn. This is why we are looking for a company to mine the moon for the rare earth metals. Anything to continue to live an unsustainable lifestyle.

          As for buying a new car, I don’t see the point. Even the hybrids are expensive and what do you think they do with the traded in cars? They junk them. My son had a Honda Pilot, a very sought after vehicle in these parts but when he sought to trade it in for something less expensive and more fuel efficient the deal refused to consider any vehicle more than 5 years old as a trade. This is downright crazy.

      • Yes! I am from England, we don’t get as much holiday as the rest of Europe but having the whole of August off is something I aspire to! I used to get 5 weeks in the UK; here in Australia the standard is 4. Interestingly in the UK in my work place we weren’t allowed to carry holiday over from one year to the next, which I think is great as it means people actually take it and get to spend time doing fun stuff, with their families, or just resting (also important). Here in Australia there is a real culture of people taking extended trips abroad and it’s complete acceptable to ask your boss for 3 or 6 months off unpaid, and jobs are often held open for people for when they return. I don’t think I would cope with your work culture at all!

        • Wow you can take 3-6 months off to travel? In the US most people live paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford even a random day off without pay. Growing up my grandfather worked for General Electric. He would save all his sick days, along with all his vacation days and take them consecutively with the company shut down of 2 weeks every August. This way he had 6 weeks of vacation time from July to August and would travel most of it. That was what I thought everyone did, until I was a bit older. What a shame because having those 6 weeks off was a wonderful time for our family.

        • No, I haven’t read this book and will look for it, thanks for suggesting it. I agree, the 6 week holiday is much better than the 2 week one here. You may not know that only some workers get a vacation at all. If you are a part-time employee (which can mean 39 or less hours) you may not qualify to get a vacation at all in some fields and that type of work is becoming the majority.

          • There’s definitely a lot more spare cash in Australia. In the UK people struggle more. Then again, I wonder how long it will last here when it’s mostly tied to this “mining boom”.

            That sounds like a fantastic way to spend your holidays : ) Shame it’s not the norm.

            I have an American friend over here and we’ve discussed the cultural differences with work – I can’t believe how hard it must be to have that kind of work culture. And no, I didn’t know not everybody in the US is entitled to holiday. That is scandalous.

            Yes! Read the book. It’s really interesting how GDP is calculated, too. More people getting cancer increases a country’s GDP for example. People quitting smoking decreases GDP. Which would imply it’s better for the economy for more people to get lung cancer? Quite mind-boggling. I’d love your thoughts on it if you do read it : )

          • Don’t even get me started on how GDP is calculated. Any spending even for cancer or after a tornado or hurricane counts as positive GDP. What a crazy way to calculate how healthy a country is.

            Yes, it is scandalous that so many here don’t qualify for vacation time, but it’s becoming so normal that people don’t even talk about it anymore. It’s just the way things are and most are happy to at least have a job.

            I will look for that book, good timing because I was heading to the library to find new reading material in the morning.

  4. regards the above commercial, and many many others.

    a common expression at our house, for some time has been (when some of these idiot commercials come on)

    — They (companies paying for these commercials) really need to hire someone to vet these commercials who isn’t on Crack. Many of these commercials make about that much sense.

    • When I hear how much is paid to air a commercial I am stunned. I heard PepsiCo paid $153 Million just to advertise their pop, that doesn’t include the other foods they sell. Just think, if we added up all the expenses for advertising and used it to do some good…..

  5. re the comments about the plane disappearing, and three weeks on, no nation has apparently located it…

    some of us have had the following discussion/observation….

    Golly Gee Whittikers,
    here, many nations are spending Trillions, or at least hundreds of millions of dollars on Stealth Technology, Using Stealth Technology, Avoiding Stealth Technology…..

    We have just realised what a waste..

    All they needed to do, was invest in Military Fleets of Boeing 777’s. They will be good to go. Apparently, no problem to avoid the best technology, the most advanced/high tech nations can muster.

    Just wait until some of the criminals/smugglers/more poor realise this..

    Stocks in Boeing will go through the roof. There will be mass orders of fleets of 777’s. etc etc.

  6. Ack, that Cadillac ad is awful – essentially slagging off other cultures for being “lazy.” Funny, though, I had the opposite reaction to the photo – I thought, “It looks like a gold old-fashioned party where everyone used to make and bring their own snacks!”

    • Dar, don’t get me wrong that looked like fun but if I joined in with the food I’d pay for it later. Isn’t that commercial the most arrogant thing? Nothing like endorsing a belief, that needs to end, that American’s are better than the rest of the world. We need more tolerance of our differences not less. The only thing good about the commercial would have been the fact that many in the US didn’t know how much vacation time other have. Maybe it will plant the idea to seek more time off?

  7. The commercials are just beyond ridiculous of late here too in the UK.. almost treating the adult viewers as children in their childish entertainment value of selling…
    I think our lack of tolerance to these TV adds Lois comes from the fact that most of us are waking up to commercialism and we are no longer the drones who are being told what to eat, wear, and buy… But we are waking up to new ways of living which are serving our life styles better. Such as eating healthier and finding ways of living more self sufficiently, And that means looking at cost cutting ways to make ends meet…
    So we are taking an interest in co-operating with each other, and eco friendly ideas to live in a less toxic world..
    Its good that we are choosing and THINKING for ourselves..
    Obviously many still need to wake up! And will easily be persuaded to buy or be manipulated to making choices in their lives.. because they give away their power,
    We all have free will, but we allow that will each day to be taken away..
    We have to start and empower ourselves in standing up for what is wrong, and Doing what is right… Its no good waiting for others to do it..
    We have seen through the lies of this horrendous accumulation of this airplane disaster… With conflicting views and amazing dis-information…
    Its my own view some one some where Does know what has happened to this plane.. thats why so many conflicting reports are emerging.. As one has to be very clear on a story if cover ups are being made..

    I know we can only keep on doing what we keep on doing Lois.. and do the best we know how…. and hope that what is wrong with the world will soon be righted if more of us keep doing the same! :-)

    Much love and will be back later to catch up more.. Hugs Sue

    • Sue, you hit on why this commercial bothered me so much. I am watching the university students struggle to find work, they need roommates to make ends meet and families are struggling to come to terms with part-time work with no benefits. My son and his wife are in this situation and trying the best they can to raise the little ones without all the extras. Right now they can’t afford to have pay television, internet or to even go out to a movie. The children are doing well, but will start school this next year where they will quickly find out they are different than other families (this area is quite wealthy). So to push this message angers me because of how the public perceptions will affect my grandchildren for a while.

      As for that plane, I haven’t kept up too much on that story, hearing bits and pieces but it’s really crazy and has me wondering what they are trying to cover up with all the disinformation being spread about.

      I appreciate your encouragement, Sue and will keep on as I have been and hope others, whether they follow suit or continue on as they have been, will at least learn tolerance for those who are choosing a different path.

      • it is too bad, but I am sad to suspect you are correct about what will happen when the children start school.

        don’t suppose there would be any school options? a way to find a school situation which is more in keeping with their needs/values? any alternative schools?

        very tough situation, for sure.

        • No unfortunately we have one option which is a public school. The only other option would be to drive them a minimum of 20 miles and pay for private schooling which they won’t be able to afford.

          We rarely ever had the TV on when my boys were little and I still remember my oldest coming home upset because he didn’t know anything about the shows the other kids watched. The only upside is that a lot of people are using Netflix so maybe I am borrowing trouble.

  8. I do not watch an excessive amount of television but in the UK these advert breaks are when someone makes tea/coffee/juice. I empty or fill the washing machine or rummage for some more wool, I crochet in front of the TV. Mostly I record onto my sky box and fast forward through the adverts. Then of course we have BBC which is advert free. I watched the ad and it just made me want to slap him.

    • Pamela, I agree I wanted to slap him too. What arrogance and disdain for anyone who doesn’t want to share his lifestyle. I don’t watch television but when I want to have a program on while I crochet or do needlework I will use Netflix, Hulu or watch a free documentary. Only Hulu has commercials so I watch that very seldom.

  9. in the past it has seemed to me, that the more a product/service is advertised, the more “push”/more “often” etc, the worse the product is in service or quality or value. Or, the “Bigger Lie”.

    Years ago we (here) noticed this. Over the years it seems (to us) to have proven out.

    So, if we see something advertised a lot, or touted a lot in news, we assume the worst.

    • Lynn, one of my favorite sayings comes from a Native American (sorry don’t remember his name) which says a bad thing is advertised a good thing has no need for advertising. I look at ads or catalogs passed my way and shake my head at the ridiculous items being offered and know it is true. Those dumb products would never have a buyer if it weren’t for advertising. But things we need, such as food or a good jacket for winter are things we will seek out and don’t need to have them shoved in our faces by marketing. So yes, your observations are very similar to mine.

      I guess what was so annoying about this commercial was the fact that it could have been really good if it relied on the one fact that this is the first plug-in car by this company. Those who want the status symbol of that manufacturer would have bought it and the rest of us would have ignored it.

  10. You need to steel yourself against the commercial world, personally I just ignore it, it’s BS. The problem is most people are not able to do this, they swallow the BS hook, line and sinker and believe they cannot be happy without all this material claptrap. I bet that guy in the ad is not working 8-5, but slaving his guts out for 14+ a day, he might be happy, but I bet his family aren’t at the absence of a Dad.


    • What really gets me is that today the job market is slowing, people are having to come to terms with having less than their parent’s generation did and will need to leave that so-called American dream behind. I see so many who are trying to find the balance in their lives and reject consumerism and living for the job, they get enough flack from family and friends they don’t need these stupid commercials making it any harder for them to embrace a simpler lifestyle.

  11. Lost in a black hole? That’s ridiculous… we all know that the plane was abducted by aliens! :-)

    Seriously though, I think you’re the 3rd person I’ve seen railing against this particular commercial. Part of me gets angry when I see stuff like this and part of me just has to laugh. I mean it sorta seems to me that this kind of thing is its own punishment. Wanna be a slave to money and status your entire life? Knock yourself out! Enjoy your heart attack while you’re at it! I think the most powerful thing we can do is to find joy in a different path.

    It does make me angry when they go after the kids though. Not sure how to combat that other than to teach kids about things like propaganda and “corporate bullying” – which is what most marketing can be boiled down to these days.

    • Alliens makes much more sense to me. :-) I mean if a black hole were able to make a plane disappear the entire planet would be gone as well. Goes to prove those talking heads need to brush up on their educations.

      I just learned about this commercial, guess not having a TV does help to insulate me from some of the worst commercials, at least for a while.I did learn Ford came out with a commercial intended to be the polar opposite of the Cadillac one. You can see it here: http://youtu.be/jAN61QK0aUI.

      I agree with marketing to children. Canada banned commercials intended for children in junk food and found obesity rates fell: “Researchers found that a 32-year ban on fast-food advertising to kids in electronic and print media in Quebec resulted in a 13 percent reduction in fast-food expenditures and an estimated 2 billion to 4 billion fewer calories consumed by children in the province. While the rest of Canada has been experiencing the same explosion in childhood obesity seen here in the United States, Quebec has the lowest childhood obesity rate in Canada.” Based on this research it shows that it can be done and will protect children from at least the fast food industry.

        • Yes, I know what you mean. Supposedly the woman in the commercial is real and that is her business. It was reportedly released to give the opposite message we get from Cadillac.

  12. I think it all boils down to where our hearts are. If our hearts are trying to find happiness in things, it’ll show. If our hearts are on the temporary or the eternal, it shows. If our love is for stuff or people or what God cares about, it shows.

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