Yes the agency in question is Hollywood.
Above: THE AMERCIAN GUN PENIS - coming soon and going too far in an otherwise reasonably entertaining cinematic experience near you
So, first a chuckle at an amusing example of collective phallic narcissism personality disorder from the misguided stepchild of the new global community, the USA. Namely, its most amusing cultural export of the decade so far, the 2012 penile production ‘BATTLESHIP’.
Then let’s drill down a little into the psychology of this long-standing issue that surely deserves our full attention in Asia Pacific moving forward.
Anyway it’s all in the name of a giggle and some objective marketing study – if not for us all having a chuckle at the Hollywood manipulation machine and its out-dated long-running joker methodology of psychovasion, then on behalf of the millions of intelligent, more globally aware U.S. citizens who are sick of the uber-positive egoistic, overly penile approach of their country and its psyche.
Here’s the trailer of the gung-ho testosterone pumping penis marketing montage BATTLESHIP by Universal…
Starts out with the screen copy – THE OCEAN … VAST … UNEXPLORED … THE PERFECT PLACE … TO HIDE
… and then…..
WE’RE OFF! Phallus Fest 101, GO! …
MAIN SHOT 1: Six massive phallus guns aboard a big floating phallus adorned with phallus flagpoles, American flags outnumbering all others at least four to one of course.
MAIN SHOT 2: Single ‘alien’ super-phallus protruding from horizon … complete with two ‘objects’ one on either side of its base.
MAIN SHOT 3: The gigantic unwelcome invading phallus again, with the words of the lead phallocentric patriarch “I want to have this thing thoroughly investigated” followed by an intrusion team (equipped with mini-phallus on rubber ducky boat) going in for “thorough investigation”
MAIN SHOT 4: Main character (and challenger to the patriarch) touches the sweet spot of the phallus and BOOM! Out shoots the ejaculating seeds of the great phallus and all-out chaos erupts.
MAIN SHOT 5: Yup, you guessed it, part of China destroyed by the phallus, ie the particular shot where a mighty symbolic phallus of commerce in Hong Kong is toppled by one seething phallus-lopping blow from the sheer power of the incoming ejaculate from the super phallus.
And on we go with the standard montage of war seemingly instigated and waged by the ‘vile unknown enemy’ and its penile protrusions, including one moment when a nimble enemy phallus dismembers the tail (or “competing phallus”) of an “innocent” defender trying to hover off the ground.
And all this helpless terror and destruction of the meaning, permanence and order of the “good world” being matched by vengeful hyper-phallic one-liners by the “goodies”, such as but not limited to:
(i) “They’ve created a barrier … we can’t seem to penetrate it”
(ii) Q-”What are your orders?” A-”We’re goin’ in.”
(iii) “Keep firing!”
and if we review another trailer for the same movie, it continues…
(iv) “I want everything loaded.”
(v) “Fire everything!”
Or yet another one in which it continues…
(vi)”Warning Red … weapons tight”
(vii) “Hit it!”
and in another – “Light ‘em up!”
One word. Ridickulous.
Hilarious masturbational marketing designed for a subconscious ‘fix’ of identity assurance for those easy-to-manipulate citizens of the world, so as to continue the justification of a (U.S.-led) war machine that also happens to make a couple of trillion dollars here and there, due mainly to the global community’s approval of its gunnery exploits and their signing on to a similar self-centric agenda as governments.
A country/government/business hybrid that unfortunately still also sees it necessary to implant within its own up-coming generations the enlistment intention to wage war against other cultural “out-groups” for no other reason than the obedience of orders issued by it’s mens club as it drags around its fossilised and overly paternalistic ideology in the midst of a world yearning to mature into anything but that.
Anyway, what’s the marketing relevance?
The main point of this post is to wonder: If the US in its socio-commercial militaristic fundraising efforts can captivate an audience and/or spread identification and advocacy by applying some elements of the human condition and evolutionary principles toward a film’s production and promotion, then why why why Delila does the marketing industry hardly ever use the same depth of strategic insight and planning?
Surely marketing “insights” and strat planning is not just about interviews, questionnaires, data collection and dissemination per se.
As for the senior marketing figures trying to sell themselves as experts in psychology and neuroscience, it seems that building a flimsy house of cards that lasts for one’s own tenure is more important than transforming the business to actually understand behaviour, behavioural science, and, um, creativity – which is just downright sad.
Successful advertising, marketing and PR has at no time in history been more about the study and application of psychological theories, human evolution, human base drives, archetypes, dreams, thought processes, experience and how we progress though and navigate various stages of development.
If you’re in marketing and these concepts are all too deep for you or you believe your craft to be above them, maybe you should go to the bottom of the ocean and hide.
More importantly, through the identification and application of a thorough understanding of human instincts and behavioural drivers (especially those that could be/become common across cultures) Advertising, Marketing and PR could produce more positive material directed towards actually unifying people and effectively ‘jinking’ the world towards maturation and civilised sophistication proper.
Not to mention making a tonne of cash with some wildly successful blockbuster (but not necessarily ball-buster) big brand marketing campaigns.
The psychological drivers of Hollywood Moronism …
All in all it should be getting clearer and clearer what the immortal psychologist and mighty intellectual and spiritualist Wilhelm Reich described as part of his review on the United States Of America – that (similar to Freud’s view) if America doesn’t change its thinking it’s in real trouble.
Reich was the first one to identify the phallic narcissistic personality type and its excessively inflated self-image. According to Reich this particular personality type is elitist, a “social climber”, admiration-seeking, self-promoting, bragging and empowered by social success.
According to Otto Fenichel, “Phallic characters are persons whose behavior is reckless, resolute and self-assured – traits, however, that have a reactive character: they reflect a fixation at the phallic level, with overvalutation of the penis and confusion of the penis with the whole body.”
Fenichel stressed that ‘an intense vanity and sensitiveness reveals that these narcissistic patients still have their narcissistic needs … for which they overcompensate’.
Others would add that the phallic character conceives of sexual behaviour as a display of potency, in contrast to the genital character, who conceives of it as a participation in a relationship.
A cleverer consumer requires cleverer marketing, deeper strategic planning, and application of psychological theory together with creativity.
Hollywood is (unfortunately) a great exponent, in fact I would go so far as to say that a one-month cram on psychology 101 together with a course of study on science fiction, fantasy and popular culture (with some Hollywood thrown in) would stand to benefit anyone in marketing more than a thousand “marketing” courses.
Unlike Hollywood, content and engagement does not have to be lowest-common-denomitaor dumbed down garbage. The principles of behaviour and the science of creativity, led by good old bobby-dazzler creativity itself, can be used in any way advertisers see fit. In any case what we learn from Hollywood is that some in-depth background study in the right areas attracts revenue and ROI like nothing else.
It lies as the greatest challenge ever to face the marketing industry – how to discover, go after, investigate, understand, apply, and thus dissect manipulative psychological tactics that only governments and scholar clubs usually employ to measurable effect. And although some try, sadly they too often cut corners and get the science rather embarrassingly wrong.
Think psychology, evolution, continuum, existential fear and anxiety, sex, archetypes, identity vs role confusion, intimacy vs isolation, generativity vs despair, autonomy vs shame, life vs death, repression vs sensitisation, transference,,, and all that jazz – not forgetting altruism, unity and people power.
Don’t over focus on over-analysed shampoo product benefits, package illusions, segment appeal, mere exposure effect, incessant rote yelling, blanket awareness, tangible ROI, site hits, YouTube views, budget limitations, production cost-cutting, ATL vs BTL, digital vs print, online vs offline, content vs participation, and all that twentieth century fluff.