I’m pleased to announce my new “ad campaign” — introducing the “Purple Paper Project“! For this project, I’ll be critiquing offensive advertising messages with the help of little purple papers and a little snark. Each new ad will be posted here on my blog, and I’ll compile them together in the “Purple Paper Project” tab in the right sidebar.
We see about 3000 advertising messages everyday. Even when we’re not paying attention, they’re always in the background. Cumulatively, these messages affect how we feel about ourselves. In so many ways, they tell us we’re too fat, our skin looks like crap, and our house is a mess. They teach us what society expects of us — and how we’re not measuring up. They play on our insecurities, and even invent new ones for us to obsess over (cankles, anyone?). But don’t worry, because they’re sure to have a product or service that can fix our “flaws”! How very convenient!
The more I started paying attention to these messages, the more I realized how manipulative, insulting, and sexist they were. And I also realized that I was buying right into them. Maybe I did need to lose weight, improve my skin, and clean my house more thoroughly.
Or maybe my weight, skin, and house were just fine the way they were.
Advertising is a one-way form of communication in which powerful corporations try to persuade us to spend our money by manipulating our insecurity. The “Purple Paper Project” is about turning this into a two-way conversation. Consumers have powerful voices too, and it’s about time that we started talking back.
To kick this project off, here’s an ad from Viva paper towels: