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Friday, 3 December 2010
Linked by Joshua Glenn
tags: americas, clients & brands, emergence, semiotics
A new reason for germophobes to feel anxious!
In the US in recent years, anti-bacterial product advertising has moved steadily away from George W. Bush-style coding (military precision, a besieged mentality, the depiction of bacteria, germs, viruses as alien intruders) towards Barack Obama-style coding (efficiency, connective thinking, dialogue, reasonableness, awareness of complexity). To use language borrowed from Raymond Williams by Semiotic Solutions, in US antibac coding lately, overkill has been trending "residual" while underkill has been trending "emergent." Like the repressed, however, the residual always returns.
Purell's ad, released in record time after yesterday's announcement that NASA has found a bacteria whose DNA is alien to all other life forms as we've known them, is a perfect example of the use of satire (signaled, in this TV spot, by a tone of exaggerated portentousness) to reboot and leverage a played-out cultural or communications code. Overkill's comeback begins… now. Click on the "full story" link below to view the ad.