Friday, February 26, 2010

The MasterCard Pickle Jar Commercial's Commentary on Culture

Food for thought. What audience are they playing to?
I like a good commercial, and historically the MasterCard “priceless” commercials have really hit the spot. I've considered them honest, insightful, and playful.
I’d consider the newest MasterCard “priceless” commercial a hit but for one word that is in the script. That one word is a commentary on our culture, a commentary on what’s considered normal and everyday. Now, I’m not what one would consider a culture warrior, I’m more a cultural observer. And this observer is disappointed.
The commercial shows a guy twisting and turning, trying to open a pickle jar. Have you seen the commercial MasterCard calls “Pickle Jar?” If not, go take a peek.
Did you catch the word I’m objecting to? It’s very subtle. The word is boyfriend. I wouldn’t have thought twice about the commercial if that word was husband.
Here’s the script: “Gym membership for February: $68. Gym membership for March: $68. Gym membership for April: $68. Finally convincing your boyfriend he should go with you: priceless.”
A sociologist will tell you that a culture that values marriage over cohabitation is stronger and healthier. Why did MasterCard choose to use the word boyfriend? Wouldn’t it have been just as clever with the word husband? Does their choice of noun reflect our culture?
I’m not naïve. I know that many people live together outside of marriage. I’m not even going to take on the why-they-do or why-they-shouldn’t. That dialogue has been around for decades.
What I want to know is why did MasterCard use the word boyfriend? Did they think no one would notice? I did. Apparently they don't care. 


Jodie said...

Good point, Megan! Subtle indoctrination scares me more than blatant arguments any day... Nice catch.

Michele Cushatt said...

Wow. How interesting! I don't know if I would have noticed. But I impressed that you did. I need to be more aware of these subtle culture changes. Thanks, Megan!

Megan DiMaria said...

Thanks Jodie and Michele. It's nice to know "it's not me" who see it this way.


Christian Rauh said...

I've noticed, but for the best. What matters is that people who are together should love each other, married or not.

Momstheword said...

I had caught that also. At the time I felt disgusted and wondered why they didn't just say husband. Perhaps she was just visiting?? :(