The marketing masterminds employed by LG to sell their Kompressor Plus vacuum are coming up short with this commercial attempting to showcase the superior suction properties of their product:
This clip rates high in the shock-value department, but the benefits highlighted in it are not those one would typically associate with a household vacuum cleaner. Herein lies the ad’s motive. No one truly believes that if they pick up this LG at the store that its usage will encourage a svelte shape. The real danger of it lies in its irrelevance.
At first, I was confused by the ad’s intention and dumbfounded at its choice of subject matter. My initial reaction was how ridiculous the comparison was. Who really believes that you could buy a product that would suck away excess flesh?
I thought the marketing tactic was questionable and that the geniuses holed up at LG would have been more successful if they showed every dust particle being systematically vanquished from a filthy home. I thought the selling point was misplaced and would be better suited selling a new fitness regimen, supplement or weight-loss cocktail… but, a household appliance?
Then I spoke with others and found out that this particular clip had in fact circulated virally. One friend had received this as an e-mail forward accompanied by the sender’s flip comment, “I wish I had one of these.” Perhaps, because the correlation feels so wacky and extraneous and people still find the riff on the fashion industry so comical, a bigger problem is revealed.
The model’s fat is literally sucked away.
These effects, motives, and approaches of Photoshopping and passing off altered images as realistic body types is so embedded in our culture that we find these exaggerations fodder for laughter instead of an exploitation of a sad reality.
I then realized that the embellishment of this product’s superior suction properties is in using its uncorrelated subject matter to work for it. Its aim is to encourage a cheap chuckle and hope that the snickering at its shock value would push the product inadvertently. In my mini-poll of those I asked to view the commercial and give me honest feedback, I was met with several “have a sense of humor” responses that further support my point.
Instead of turning a critical eye to the media, specifically this company and its marketing angle, we see pieces such as this as bits of comical fodder, ripe for electronic sharing. One person gets a small giggle out of it and promptly forwards it to a handful of others and a seemingly harmless commercial continues to circulate.
The real danger is in the enjoyment of its ridiculousness. It is the Trojan Horse of themes. Society is informed enough to know that the portrayal is tongue-in-cheek and we know that no such product exists, yet we still derive humor out of watching it. Beneath it, we are still buying into the stereotype that thin is acceptable and desirable and other body weights must be demonized, contained and “sucked” away.
Innocent enjoyment can often keep us complicit with a culture that presents doctored images to our youth, passing them off as role “models” (pun intended!). Yes, this particular clip is exaggerated, but there is a very real and large problem in our world in terms of Photoshopped perfection, idealizing models and celebrities at unhealthy weights, and pushing a one-size-fits all standard of beauty.
The fact that it seems innocent and benign is the cause for concern: it is the unexamined media that can be the most dangerous. Do you think that this clip is humorous, or does it reinforce damaging stereotypes? Is the fact that the initial reaction to this commercial is to find the comparison comical, a symptom of the larger problem in society?