Unconsumption — this site, this project — does not think you are ridiculous.
That simple point is worth articulating, because so many efforts to advance positive ideas about positive consumer behavior seems to take the opposite view. The ad above (via Adfreak) is an example of everything this project is NOT about.
It’s unclear to me why it is that when ad-makers do work on behalf of an idea such as “don’t waste energy,” they choose to shift into a lecturing, tedious mode, accusing anyone who fails to play along of being stupid, or in this case “ridiculous.”
Advertising that sells the idea of buying a brand of sneaker, e-tablet, or deodorant, NEVER takes this tone. Advertising that is geared toward consumption invariably suggests that by purchasing a certain product you will be better, smarter, sexier, a superior human being, you will be more efficient, you will enjoy life, you will be happier, you will get laid more often, you will be funnier, you will smile with joy, you will sleep with contentment, you will live your dreams, you will touch the transcendent, you will be a part of progress itself.
Such advertising tries to persuade, to seduce. It is, in a word … advertising.
For some reason that escapes me, advertising on behalf of genuinely positive behavior does not seem like “normal” advertising at all. It is not persuasion or seduction. It is, like this ad, a belittling, condescending, insulting lecture. It literally attacks the viewer. And as an obvious result, it practically begs to be ignored, or rejected, with a hearty middle finger.
Why can’t advertising agencies, clearly well versed in making the most mundane and idiotic and even harmful products seem incredibly sexy and desirable and redemptive, perform the same function on behalf of things that are actually good?
This – Rob’s rant – helps explain why I find the Unconsumption project – the idea, the Tumblr site – so appealing.