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What is in the headspace of ad writers these days? More and more I am seeing ads which dissuade me from purchasing the wares advertised, essentially by telling me that this product will make your life miserable, or that this is a product for the kinds of idiots we showcase enjoying it. Of late, two in particular have exemplified this sense.

First, there's the latest Subaru ad, showing a dad offering his small child the dream of moving up from his toy car to driving the real car. It starts off happy enough, driving by jealous neighborhood kids, but almost instantly it turns into a series of reminders of how much it sucks to have a car to drive. First, now the dad needs to be picked up at 6; then the kid is stuck in a traffic jam during a downpour; then he's running up too late to stop the meter maid from ticketing the car; then he has to buy the groceries, which, naturally fall out through the bottom of the bag; then he's honked while trying to reach the drive-through ATM. In the end the kid wisely declines the offer to drive the Subaru, with the commercial wistfully concluding that he's "not ready yet" -- as if he needs a few years of life beating him down before he's prepared to accept the drudgery of driving this car.

But worse, much worse, is this Inifiniti Q50 "Distracted Driving" ad.... the gist of the ad is that the driver is so ensconced in thinking about his boring daily trials -- 'did I close the garage door,' 'did I send that email, 'I need to make a reservation' -- that he is constantly on the verge of getting into accidents because he simply doesn't realize there's a car in the next lane, or a stopped truck in front of him. Lucky for him he can afford to be a lackadaisical driver because his car does aaaall the heavy lifting for him, warning him with a highlighted beep each time in time to stop his immanent fender-bender. This commercial flat-out disturbs me because it seems to be advocating for careless driving -- don't worry about your blind spot, the car will do it for you; don't watch the road ahead, the car will warn you if there's something up there. Except, naturally, that there are many hazardous situations where the car won't warn you in time, like when you run the red light and get slammed in the intersection, or simply careen right off a cliff.

Honestly, the only positive I see coming out of these ads is that they validate my life choice to not own a damned car.

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