Real Talkies

Real Talkies

Every cut is a lie. It’s never that way. Those two shots were never next to each other in time that way. But you’re telling a lie in order to tell the truth. –Wolf Koenig.

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August 18, 2010 , , , , , ,

Yesterday, I received a coupon (photo above) in the mail for a free smoothie or frappe at participating McDonalds. I would have tossed it in the bin, but, some words on the flyer that did not seem like English caught my attention. My initial reaction was, it must be Spanish, but it did not sound or look like Espanol. That is when I realized, Oh my god. No way. It was HINDI, the national language of India. It says, “Hamaari Treat, McDonalds aaye aur enjoy Kare” meaning “Our Treat, come to McDonalds and enjoy”. In Maryland, I got a flyer from McDonalds in Hindi. Can you believe that?

I don’t know how I feel about this special treatment by McDonald’s. Is this McDonald’s way to reach out to the predominantly non-beef eating south Asian diaspora or specifically the vegetarians to let them know that we have a “healthy vegetarian options”. It is unsettling to learn about the targeted and customized marketing campaign companies are engaged in these days.  I wonder if my neighbors received the coupons in Cantonese/Mandarin and Amharic.

But, fear not, my fellow documentary filmmakers have made awesome films about campaigns, that makes us spend money we don’t have and buy things we don’t need. I have listed three films for your reference. Persuaders can be watched online at PBS and Art & Copy can be seen on Netflix respectively.

THE PERSUADERS: FRONTLINE, Barak Goodman and Rachel Dretzin

In “The Persuaders”, a 90 minute documentary, FRONTLINE explores how the cultures of marketing and advertising have come to influence not only what Americans buy, but also how they view themselves and the world around them. Click here to Watch Persuaders online.

ART AND COPY, a film by Doug Gray

Art & Copy reveals the creative revolution in the adverting world, by artists and writers with rebellious spirits. These artists  – George Lois, Mary Wells, Dan Wieden, Lee Clow, Hal Riney and others featured in Art and Copy, were virtually unknown outside their industry but were responsible for some of the most brilliant campaigns for everything from cars to President.

THE DOWNLINE, a film by Eric Martinis and Jason Alfred

This is a film about multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing. The documentaries traces the origin of this style of marketing and follows four people in the first year of a new MLM business.

They truly got us. Happy buying or resisting the urge to buy.


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Hey, thanks for writing. It looks like we all feel similarly (weirded out) by the ad campaign. Just so uncalled for.


August 28, 2010

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