Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9-11 Disc. Apple/Leisure

I thought the apple commercial was really interesting in a couple ways. I was most interested in the very athletic woman running in, tan and colorful amongst a sea- a world of humdrum grey "pieces of the the machine." The use not just of a woman, but a woman filling what is classically a man's role in the media. She comes running in with the Thor like hammer, being chased by lesser men that are hopeless to stop some one so fast and strong was. The hammer being thrown at the huge, hypnotizing screen smashing the hegemonic norm on all levels. Apple is not only saving "us," the consumer from standardized technological consumerism, but if we turn to their company we will be saved from the standard on all levels. Women will fill men's roles, your computer will be unique and special, grey will become color and you will be thwarting the ruling authority of your time. I really liked the strong message being pushed through on all levels. It seems to continue today with Apple preparing their presentation building for the release of the iPhone 5 tomorrow, 9-12. I may stretching it here, but initially the color scheme, not new for Apple, seemed close to the gay pride rainbow. Continuing the stretch it seems as if Apple continues to find lesser served segments of the population and appropriating their iconic imagery as symbol of bucking the mold. This is a much more subtle example, but it would have to be now, right? I mean you cant keep saying your gonna be the new individual on the block with new things now that everyone has what you have.. But you can subliminally suggest it. Thats why I like this picture. As I look at it more, its just a building with bright colors that have been used before by Apple to promote individuality and the first reaction I had is fading, but i already had the reaction. The reaction being that this company relates to the independence, the strength, the eclectic and cultured nature of a place like the Castro, a section in the same city as the presentation building.

Switching topics to thoughts on leisure as an industry. If all the people in the leisure industry are at work serving and explaining and entertaining what is the product? Is it the authentic tasting Mojito served to the consumer? Is it the experience of sliding down a natural waterfall? The smell of la boulangerie in the streets of Paris? The finished product is the vacationer. This is what is being sold to the consumer. The idea that while on vacation we are not only there just to recharge our batteries so that we may return to work or so we think we lead interesting enough lives, but in our time off work we often opt for the ultimate in becoming a cog in the machine in that we willingly become the product. We are the consumer on the assembly line, not as an employee working the line, but as a simple product. not there to think, there to experience what the assembly line offers: As you stand on the conveyor belt it moves you through the toaster/white sand beach for your tan, as you roll out of the glow a worker slaps a Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses on you as another worker straps you in to a zip-line harness, you ride briefly down the line, you stop a picture is taken, immediately printed and stuffed in to an envelope with your mailing address. Everyone smiles as you are carted off to a club or a statue of something epic. New types of food are shoved in your face - ALCOHOL - because there is no good vacation without mind alteration. At the end of the line there are a group of people you don't really know, everyone gathers for a group photo and is packaged back up delivered to the shipping center/airport and sent back to their respective lives. At home the picture file awaits on Facebook along with a slew of new "friends" that you can stay connected with from the contentment of your own living/bedroom. It is here when the product is finished. Now your friends can see the amazing, unique adventure you returned from and the new, unique people you met on the "road of life" and now the product is complete and you can take your ass back to work. 


  1. Nice follow-up, Sam. Though it sounds like you are actually pretty sold by Apple's branding (the rainbow theme does tie in well to recent efforts by marketers to appeal to a highly educated, gay consumer culture, but it goes back to their old Macintosh logo from the '80s). Apple does have a history of tapping into not only a pop aesthetic but also street counterculture for its campaigns (I'm thinking of the iPod campaigns with dark figures on bright colored backgrounds). Whether or not you see this as appropriation/co-opting or just smart marketing depends on the alignment of perceived values and your needs.

    Your vision of leisure as conveyer belt is evocative, and scary! You've got the Frankfurt School perspective on "time off" to the tee.

  2. Props on your thoughts about the leisure industry! Sounds like a scene straight out of a tropical dystopia. As someone who does a lot of travelling, I find that this view of leisure is striking and (scarily) applicable to myself. After jetting all over the world, I am neither more relaxed nor relieved. I return to school with a brand new set of experiences with which I can begin conversations and a slew of photos that I must post on Facebook to satisfy my friend's demands. I return as a pretty-packaged vacationer, ready to sell my experience to other consumers hungry for a similar transformation.

    -Claire Hwang