The Campaign Spot

The Marketing World Warns the Political World About Laughing at the Hicks

Microsoft is dropping their commercials that featured founder Bill Gates and comedian Jerry Seinfeld living among an “ordinary” family. Among the hilarity — Seinfeld keeps injuring the mom while playing team table tennis, Bill Gates asks when the outdoor above-ground pool gets warm (“It never gets warm,” the Dad sighs), grandma snarls at them, and the kids frame Gates and Seinfeld for stealing a leather giraffe from Cabo.

The ads had a lot of flaws — among them, never really saying anything about why you should use Microsoft products — but it seemed that a lot of the jokes were about how lame the mundane life of the family is. They eat “scalloped potatoes,” seemingly every night! Their den has fake wood paneling! They collect chotchkies that look tacky in the eyes of Gates and Seinfeld! They have an above-ground pool! And it never even gets warm!
Apparently the marketing world sees the limits of “ha-ha! Those silly hicks!” as a theme and brand identity. I wonder if other entities will consider that argument…

I wandered through the Wal-Mart, which seemed almost as large as Wasilla, a town that is a soulless strip mall without sidewalks set beside a soulful mountain and lake.
Wal-Mart has all the doodads that Sarah must need in her career as a sportsman — Remingtons and “torture tested” riflescopes, game bags for caribou, machines that imitate rabbits and young deer and coyotes to draw your quarry in so you can shoot it, and machines to squish cows into beef jerky.
I talked to a Wal-Mart mom, Betty Necas, 39, wearing sweatpants and tattoos on her wrists.
She said she’s never voted, and was a teenage mom “like Bristol.” She likes Sarah because she’s “down home” but said Obama “gives me the creeps. Nothing to do with the fact that he’s black. He just seems snotty, and he looks weaselly.”