Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Advertising's Zen koans

For an industry that wants to believe it has all the answers, advertising sure likes to pose imponderable questions.  The Japanese call it a koan, and here's how my MacBook's dictionary explains it:
A parodoxical anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment.
And since emotion tends to make for stronger brand preference than rational thought, no wonder copywriters love to rely on the irrefutable logic of illogic.

(By the way, the ad above was run back in 1999, well before the sub-prime mortgage crisis and its domino effect on the financial markets.  I'll bet E*Trade's not acting so smug now.)

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