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Super Bowl ads and the desire for the infinite

I like what one Benedictine College professor says about advertising: The goal of marketing is to reduce infinite desires to desires small enough to pay for.

We long for beauty, love, friendship, wisdom, says Salvatore Snaiderbaur. Corporations want our money. So they tease our desire for the former in order to get the latter.

A sizeable percentage of last night’s audience tuned in not to see football, but to see ads. So let’s reverse engineer a little and try to see what desires those amazing commercials were appealing to.

Brady Everyday” by Intel knows that we all want to be epic. We want to be great. We feel like our life has a gigantic meaning from its small acts to its large ones —and so Intel offers its new 360-imaging technology, which can make the ordinary actions of our day epic. Yes — with this product you truly are the Tom Brady of stretching, tooth-brushing and pancake flipping that you imagine yourself to be.

But that epic greatness only exists on screen. Is that enough?

“Switch” by Nintendo works very hard to say, “Oh, yes. That’s enough.” It features fathers and sons, friend groups and couples all bonding with each other not by actual human interaction — but by shared interaction with a screen. And they sure seem to find it very fulfilling.

Fulfilling yourself via a screen was a frequent theme last night.

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