Tag-lines are a powerful tool as part of advertising.
Especially the good ones (or, the funny ones).
The picture below shows the packaging in which Ice watches – intended for teenagers, young people – are sold.
The tag line is pretty clear. For those who haven’t figured it yet, it says “fuck me I’m famous!”
I’m not sure how to qualify that tag-line.
Certainly it’s not my business to judge it.
I’m curious about two things, while I could offer one possible answer.
1) What’s the thinking behind the tag-line?
Is becoming famous the ultimate goal for every tween and teen today?
But the think-tanks behind the slogan must have figured that this line would sell well with their audience.
2) Is the intended for this product audience concerned by the Ice watch tag-line?
They probably won’t be bothered by the ‘fuck’ word.
It’s no big deal to use ‘fuck’ anymore.
It’s such a diverse word that we use it as a noun, as a verb, as an adjective, and as an adverb even (to quote Mr. Big and his “absofuckinglutely”).
What young people are likely to be concerned about, however, is the “I’m famous” part.
And that’s where I’m concerned, too.
Our culture, or at least that of our children, bursts with media messages that promote image, but undermine value; that idolise certain stature, but ignore to stress on the possible paths to getting there.
In short, our kids know that the ugly duckling is now a swan, without thinking (or being directed to think!) about how that happened.
But there’s a worse side-effect to the idea of thinking only about the ‘destination’ and not about the journey.
It disconnects us from reality.
And that’s like a whole tin of rotten stuff in it.
But I don’t want to dramatise.
The objective here is just to create a tad of awareness of the media messages our kids are bombarded with, daily.
In that respect, I don’t mean to say that advertising is bad.
It’s messages that convince us that “looking good” means “feeling good” that become a concern.
It’s messages that convince our young ones that “I’m famous” means “I’m accomplished” that become a worry.
And, my possible answer to why the “fuck me I’m famous” message, and all similar messages targeting our young today, is given by the caricature below:
In short, because young people are one of the biggest spenders.
In Born to Buy, Juliet Schor documents how kids have a greater spending power today and the fact that parents include them in the decision making processes for purchasing this and that.
It is more and more common today for kids to decide what their parents should buy, from cars to electronic equipment to room furniture and food.
Dr. Twenge’s Generation Me, along with Born to Buy are giving a great many examples and statistics of the current situation in the USA which aren’t that much different across the Western world.
Kids have never been more informed about products, thanks to media, and determined about what they want to buy and what their parents should buy, driven by the need to reach their desired image and status, which, in turn, is stimulated, if not influenced, by media messages just like the one above: ‘fuck I’m famous’.
Businesses know that reality, while advertisers aim at maintaining it for as long as they can, both of them betting and relying on the impulsivity of the young spender and his untrained and unaware mind.