Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Things I Think Too Much About: Ads on the MBTA

As an individual without a driver's license, I spend a lot of time on the MBTA. As someone with a BA from a liberal arts college, I spend A LOT of time analyzing things that, ultimately, were never meant to be analyzed deeply. When these two qualities combine, the outcome is obvious: I spend a lot of time on the T over-analyzing really stupid ads. Sometimes, this habit of mine is relatively benign-- I'll joke with my roommate about how ill-suited the image of a girl staring dreamily out at a blue sky is with the ads copy, which is trying to track down hypochondriacs for a Harvard Med School study. "Worried you have brain cancer? Heart disease? A tumor?....well, it sure doesn't look like it, but hey: call us anyways." More often than not though, they make me really deeply annoyed.

A couple months back, Kaplan test prep bought, like, every third ad on the Red Line and Oh. God. Did I hate their ads. The tag line was "You'll be a different kind of _____. But first, you have to get into ____ School. " and it had the DOUCHIEST MODELS EVER. Like, apparently, being a "different kind of lawyer" meant you MEDITATED. In a BUSINESS SUIT. In THE MIDDLE OF A COURTYARD. "Different kind of doctor"? Daisy in your lab coat pocket. "Different kind of business man"? Look like a douchietty douche face and don't wear a tie. And call business school "B-school." HaaAAAaaaaaTE. The mere sight of these ads practically enraged me-- they were so SMUG about their pseudo-nonconformity. You could just imagine the douchy douche who they were obviously meant to target, the person who was like "Oh, I'm going to Law School, sure, but just to SUBVERT THE SYSTEM. But I won't consider anything that's not an Ivy." And they'd tell all their friends they were going to do Legal Aid or whatever, and get all self-righteous in people's faces about how they weren't just ANY Law School Clone they were there to DO SOMETHING MEANINGFUL. And then they'd end up working at, like, Goldman Sachs doing copywright law. But still be insufferably self-righteous. Those ads were directed act the kind of person who, while doing EXACTLY what all his peers are doing, still thinks gloatingly that he's some kind of daring individual. And good, dear lord, did I ever hate them. Even thinking back on the ads now, with them gone for MONTHS, they STILL annoy me.

Sometimes. however, there is a bright spot among all the rage. Something that consistently makes me laugh, even though it's not trying to. Like this ad:

Which never, ever fails to make me think "FART ATTACK!" and snicker to myself. Seriously. I defy you to see *anything* else when you look at that picture. It amuses me so much, so consistently, that it almost makes up for the Kaplan ads.


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