As a person that used make his living by writing ad copy for radio commercials I occasionally feel hypocritical for having no tolerance for marketing ploys. I’m not a fan of clever commercials of any type; I don’t feel inclined to buy a car from a man that can belch out the word “huge”, I don’t feel the need to add two blades to my razor just because Tiger Woods swung a ball at it and I certainly don’t find my work day infinitely cheerier because one of the Baby Bells has populated their software interface with pictures of happy people.
Now, I don’t mean to sound like a crank but is it really necessary to put all these smiling, fake, airbrushed people throughout a software application? I’ve been asked many times why I don’t use Microsoft products and while I’m not a fan of their products I don’t hate them to the point of disuse. I just don’t like the fake happy people on their packaging. Their boxes always have pictures of people nearing orgasm over the data in a spreadsheet. Now I know every office has interoffice hanky panky going on but how often is Microsoft Excel included in the fun? I hope not very often.
The aforementioned software interface has pictures of people staring at you no matter what screen you are on. Most the models are of Asian decent and I often wonder why this is the case. Are they reinforcing a stereotype that Asians are more “techy”? Once in a while a white man will pop up on the screen, he’s grinning from ear to ear next to his ancient Sperry text terminal. I hope he’s not saddled with that clunker today! The pictures rotate in a seemingly random fashion, today I had three Asian women staring at me seductively, as of if my attempts to add “speed dial” to a customer account was actually one click away from a steamy session on X-tube.
I think I’m offended by the fact that marketing folks try too hard to make the picture balanced. There’s a token black, a token woman, a token Asian and a token man. Why not just have a group of “people”? Where’s the Native American? Where is the Russian? Where is the Irishman? Where is the Indian? Where is the lesbian? Where is the gay man? The fact that they are trying not to offend me by including an unlikely cross section of people in these photos offends me. If you have to include pictures of people on the site, just make sure they’re human. That’s all I ask.
Now, back to my date with PowerPoint.