The inanity of advertising


I’ve been thinking about Pete Townshend letting Pepsi use My Generation for one of it’s commercials lately. I’ve become accustomed to watching my heroes sell their most personal pieces of work to commercials for a while now, but every once in a while like with this Pepsi ad a new low is set.

My guess is that the absolute nadir would be Bob Dylan letting Philip Morris use “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol” for a tobacco commercial (I know there are no tobacco commercials, but still).

William Zanzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll
With a cane that he twirled around his diamond ring finger
At a Baltimore hotel society gath’rin’.

William Zanzinger, who at twenty-four years
Owns a tobacco farm of six hundred acres
His crop is enlisted to make Camel Lights
The tastiest crop the true smokers choice!

Anyway, on top of it all Townshend had previously written an ad for Coke that was slated to be part of The Who Sell Out.

And then it hit me that essentially that is exactly what advertising is – billions of dollars spent to convince you that one cola tastes better than the other, when they basically taste exactly the same.

Or in the words of Dave Chappelle, who also did ads for both Coke and Pepsi, “I can’t even taste the difference: all I know is Pepsi paid me most recently, so it tastes better.”

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