Friday, January 30, 2009

Confessions of an ad writer

Recently I heard a radio spot for McDonald's espresso drinks called "Confessions of an Ex-Hipster."  (Apparently it's been on the airwaves for quite a while.)  This is more or less what it says, for those who haven't heard it: 
I like espresso coffee, so the other day I put on a scratchy turtleneck and went to a coffee shop. Pretty soon I was into French films, independent music, and not bathing. 
But then I discovered McDonald's McCafe [or something] and I'm already back to watching football, wearing khakis, and even high-fiving my friends.
This ad is so confused that I don't even know what to say about it.  I suppose, as advertising, its goal is not to be accurate, but to play on the consumer's perceptions in order to maintain the McDonald's brand identity.  The target demographic is young white folks (our narrator sounds like one) who perceive football, khakis, and high-fives as normal and perhaps who have some animosity towards normal coffee shops, coupled with an insatiable urge to drink pressure-brewed coffee beverages despite their crippling self-doubt.  The kind of people for whom Starbucks is apparently too edgy.  

But seriously, how long has it been since turtlenecks were associated with hipsters?  40 years?  Maybe the target demographic is people who are still mad about those damned beatnicks.  Beatnicks wore khakis, though, so maybe not.

Apparently this confusion about hipsters is more common than I thought, though, as Baby recently sent me this quote from a blog she reads:
On our way home we saw a car stuck in a parking lot and JB stopped to talk with the driver. He offered to give him a tow, but dude was driving a lowered PT Cruiser (too low for tire chains) with a custom lowered bumper, so the tow chain couldn’t be hooked on. How you like your goofy too-low-for-speed-bumps ride NOW, hipster?
Hmm ... so hipsters are people who drive lowered PT Cruisers.  Actually, that's incorrect.  In case anybody out there needs to know, this is what a real hipster looks like: 

See the difference?  Yes, there are similarities, but this man is clearly wearing those hideous glasses and boring sweater ironically.  Same with the cat, I think.  Or wait, maybe that guy is just really socially awkward and the people up above are REALLY INTENSE hipsters.  Shit, now I'm confused.  


  1. I heard one of these commercials not long ago--it was two women rejoicing that they could finally stop going to Starbucks and pretending that they liked jazz.
    I would like to think that pandering to the lowest common denominator (ie people for whom ordering a whipped candy bar in a cup next to the cart corral at Albertson's is considered fancy and pretentious) was given a death-blow when we send a certain VP candidate back to Alaska, but maybe I'm naive.
    Also, everyone knows that hipsters drive monster trucks.

  2. I love everything about the McCafe, except the silly name...