Works: written (all is rosy)


All is Rosy is taken from Undefinable Places In-between — a series of short essays I have written and continue to write under that title.

All is Rosy

Commercial messages work on us on various levels.

Regarding one level, we have grown up with advertising and we understand that rosy claims are crafted by people who get paid for it—whether they believe it or not. The rosy claim is a given. People understand the idea of shades of truth and truths (or lies) in context.

On another level, on some mysterious other-plane of consciousness, the rosy claim is assimilated and believed. There is a belief that the purchase will magically change our lives.

Of course the magic can be explained away as messages that appeal to deep needs and fears—the need to be loved or found attractive, the need to at least appear to be successful, the need to fulfil powerful obligations, the need to be part of something greater—but there is also an element operating here that is more aligned to a type of enchantment than psychological drives.

One presumes that if enchantment is happening then some type of entity is doing the enchanting — casting the spell. But it is not just the advertiser, or an ad agency creative team or a marketing strategist or a brand influencing blogger who creates the allure through well crafted messages and imagery, but also the products themselves. Even if the spin were somehow subtracted from the equation, the shiny car, the artfully prepared restaurant meal, the jacket, the jeans, the table, the chair, the kitchen blender, radiate some type of primal, fetishistic “come hither” that goes beyond being an aid to self image.

The enchantment can also be explained away as effective product design: the curves and colours, textures, weight, whatever—that makes a thing with a price tag sexy or must-have. The entity creating the enchantment could be, say, an industrial designer, or a product designer or a fashion designer. But this still doesn’t completely account for the allure. This type of product design is also part of the marketing message; the spin.

Something even beyond all of this is operating here.

With the same innocence and sense of wonder as a small kid holding up a string of plastic rubies to the sky and being charmed by the way the pink and crimson light is refracted so beautifully through its facets, we look at the car or the chair or the blender and we “get it”; that what we now have is a talisman with the transformative power to renew life—not by driving it or sitting on it or blending with it or looking at it or showing it to the world but merely by having it in our presence.

Back home from a day’s spending at the shopping precinct, you take the new jacket; drape it over the sofa. Place the new shoes nearby, still in the unlidded box with its crisp tissue paper. Next to the box, an exquisitely designed perfume bottle. Stand back and admire the arrangement. The coat. The shoes. The perfume. It looks like a magazine shoot. Sure. What you see is going to make you look more attractive and successful; and they are, in themselves, beautiful objects; but something else is happening. All three items are beaming their magic into some unfathomable place in your soul.

How else could we juggle the two states of mind simultaneously? Not believing and believing at the same time.




Picture: Watch advertisement. 

Photo: GS.