Of Mice, Men and Madison Avenue

I just saw a new ad for D-Con (which in case you didn’t know, kills mice) and found myself routing for the brave little mouse who risked his life.

I don’t think that’s what they intended.

Problem is, we live in a world in which rodents of all sorts are humanized and made movie stars. Mickey Mouse, for example. And the rats of Ratatouille. Little charmers. Chip ‘N Dale. Rocky the flying squirrel. My references may be largely outdated — although arguably, timeless — but you get the idea.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t want my cats catching any mice they find under our roof. But in my world, they’re kind of endearing.

Now I know the difference between cartoon characters and rodents. But seeing this ad made me wonder, what kind of subtle influences in advertisting have affected my biases without my recognizing it? Are there prejudices abounding in my mind because of the way hair spray once was portrayed?

For the first time ever I saw a television ad for WordPress.com. I already have multiple accounts here, but is my opinion of this platform going to change because of the ad? After all, I saw it shortly before the D-Con ad and now here I am, writing for the first time in four weeks (well, I’ve been doing other writing, so I should be fair and say writing on this blog for the first time in four weeks).

We all recognize that our attitudes about certain products are influenced by advertising. But how deep does it go? I’m sure there have been studies, but even reading about one of those wouldn’t tell me why I haven’t been to Burger King in 40 years. Way back then they had an ad that irritated the bejeebers out of me, but who would have thought I’d still be boycotting them?

So if an ad can annoy me away from a product, no doubt it can draw me in. I’d like to think I’m smart enough to avoid those influences, but I’m not.

Because if Mickey Mouse is endorsing something, I’m probably buying.