Let's snake a manwich
Product placement is a big part of the Telephone video. But can you believe that Miracle Whip would actually pay money to have their product featured in a video in which food poisoning plays a prominent part of the plot? Yeah, they did.
Another sequence, in which Gaga poisons a whole diner full of patrons, is interspersed with footage of the singer making sandwiches with Wonder Bread and Miracle Whip. Mr. Carter said Gaga wanted to juxtapose the poison sequence with all-American brands, and suggested Wonder Bread for an unpaid placement. Miracle Whip, meanwhile, made a paid appearance to appear in the clip. A Miracle Whip spokeswoman confirmed the brand's paid integration, but didn't comment further. The product shots feature new Miracle Whip packaging, and seem the latest in a series of Gen-Y outreach maneuvers, including a new campaign promising "we will not tone it down."But what really got me is there new logo. It combines the M and the W in a rather unusual way. It's very "organic". It kind of looks like... a snake!
Good kitty! Kill the bad snake!
The snake in this case is Apep from Egyptian mythology which is a very bad snake indeed. Notice the resemblance in this Egyptian painting to the Garden of Eden, by the way. Maybe I'll get more into that in another post.
Meanwhile here are some marketing slogans from Miracle Whip's Facebook page.
Miracle Whip is all about adding spice – whether it be to your life or sandwich. Never boring. Never bland. Never blending in. Always on. Always spreading unique flavor. Always ready to bring the zing!"Bring the zing"? "We will not tone it down"? Makes you wonder... what kind of whip they are talking about?
We are Miracle Whip. And we will not tone it down.
My friend LVB over at Vigilant Citizen pointed out the cognitive dissonance contained in the name Miracle Whip. Miracle is good, whip is bad. It creates a kind of tension in the mind that effectively imprints it deeper in the subconscious as the mind struggles to resolve the conflict between these two opposing terms.
Notice the same thing at work in Lady Gaga's name. Lady is sophisticated, gaga is infantile. Again this creates dissonance in the mind. A kind of clashing of two polar opposites which the mind wrestles with.
But it's not as if these are new tricks to the entertainment industry.
Why bother coming up with new tricks when the old ones work every time?
More on cog-diss
What is cognitive dissonance?
Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, or by justifying or rationalizing them. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.So how does cog-diss work and why is it so effective? I find that an example helps to explain this, and for this purpose I'll go back to the familiar example of Lady Gaga's Telephone song and video.
Let's say you are a big fan of Lady Gaga's. You have been listening to her latest song Telephone play on the radio for the last few weeks and you really like it. You look forward to the big unveiling of her new music video that features this song. You know you're going to like it. ('cause you're a big fan, right?)
You enthusiastically anticipate the premiere and watch it for the first time, and...
- you don't like the images it portrays
- it's weird
- it disturbs you
You like the song, but you don't like the video...you like the song, but you don't like the video...you like the song, but you don't like the video...
Your mind seems to be saying, "Is there something wrong with me? Because I know I'm good. And I wouldn't like something that's bad. Or that goes against my principles and beliefs. And yet I like this song, but I don't like the video..."
And then, your mind plays a trick on you. It decides that there is nothing wrong with the video, because there is nothing wrong with the images portrayed in the video. Perhaps you were being judgmental and prejudiced in assigning a bad "label" to this video.
And in the end you reconcile this conflict by concluding that it is your principles and beliefs that are out of whack and must be adjusted. This is reinforced by the fact that this video is being broadcast through the mass media which is an authoritarian source of information. And your mind tells you that the government would never allow the mass media to broadcast this if it were not good.
And to further reinforce this, you look around and you see that all your friends and acquaintances have also seen this video and have come to similar conclusions to the one that you have. And so it must be OK to accept the principles that are implied through the imagery in this video.
Your mind is at peace. The conflict has been resolved by adjusting your core belief system to incorporate the moral principles implied by the series of images in the video.
Tigers in the bushes
And the fact that this video caused a certain amount of mental anguish means that it is deeply imprinted in your mind. Why is that? It comes down to survival instincts.
I can't remember where I heard this before, but we are hardwired to look out for "tigers in the bushes". Or something like that. The idea is that we are constantly flooded with images and information, so our minds must necessarily filter all this out. It has to focus on some things over others. And the key factor here is survival.
This survival factor is triggered by emotions such as fear or discomfort. So when we come across something that causes us fear or discomfort, our brains go to work remembering that in a high priority way. Why? So that we can avoid similar situations.
The end result is that cognitive dissonance not only leads us to change our values and beliefs, but it also deeply ingrains into one's psyche the circumstances surrounding these lessons. You can see why this would be valuable to advertisers. They want their products to stand out in the crowd. They want to make an impression on you so that when you are in the supermarket, surrounded by choices, you will be drawn to their products.
They will pop out at you - like tigers hiding in the bushes.