Friday, June 15, 2007

Move Over Sex...

I don't plan on watching any of HBO's new flagship series JOHN FROM CINCINNATI, but it's been impossible to avoid the saturation-bombing of its advertising campaign. In today's "Calendar" section of the LA Times is a full-page spread filled with one-word critical plaudits, including one word in particular that makes me uncomfortable every time I see it used to sell:

- Oakland Tribune

Maybe it's just me, but I am trying to avoid any more addictions in my life, not seeking to add new ones.

not me, I can quit any time I want.

What bugs me in particular about using "addictive" to hype this series, is that the narrative backstory deals with addiction of the drug and alcohol variety. The following is clipped from HBO's site:

"The Yosts' reign and reputation, once defined in the curl of a perfect wave, have been eroded by years of bad luck, addiction and hubris... The gifts of 13-year-old Shaun rival those of Butchie, his addict-derelict father..."

(and then, my personal favorite)

"Into this world, where even simple joy has been turned into a commodity, steps a mysterious stranger named John. "

I guess if we're "exploring" how simple joy has become a commodity, then it's OK to commodify the sorrow of addiction too. You know, for artistic purposes only. Well, for marketing and artistic purposes only.

But ho, what does HBO have to say in it's full-page ad for ENTOURAGE on the back page of the "Calendar" section?

-Chicago Tribune

Let's see... how about BIG LOVE?

"An addictive treat"
-Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

And so on. I wonder if it's possible that in using the "addictive" blurb as a selling point, HBO might be alienating untold numbers of viewers who only want a casual relationship with their TV shows. I really started noticing the trend of using addiction as an overt selling tool about a year ago in the Glendale Galleria. Trendy boutique Planet Funk was offering a "Jeans Junkie" discount card for frequent shoppers of designer denim.

"Bayer Junkie" discount cards are now collector's items.

I just couldn't get over the fact that young women were encouraged to become "junkies" for jeans. The so-called "heroin chic" trend was bad enough, but that term was used to condemn a perceived strategy, not to openly encourage the connection between drugs and fashion.

Might as well face it you're addicted to... jeans?


Anonymous said...

Word Man, you're going to have to face're addicted to love.

knowhereman said...

the word addiction carries a lot of baggage. how about habituation. ahhhh, that's better. not as attention grabbing though.

Mr. Word Player said...

let's see... "HBO's Arli$$ is hilariously habituating!"

nope, you're right, doesn't have the same ring to it.