Rewards of Labor

A currently running Cadillac TV commercial that aims to convince viewers that being hard working Americans they deserve a beauty like this car, takes a dig at the French practice of taking off in August every year for grande vacances.

Published sources say that the food processor inventors, Le MagiMix/Robot Coupe lost their market, when their distributor Cuisinart lost its patience over their French supplier’s refusal to continue working during August to help stores have enough machines during the Christmas shopping season. Indeed, today a sparse few even know the RC name. An internet search reveals that food processors showed up in the United States nearly in the early 1970s after an American engineer saw the RC at a French food equipment show. Sensing the potential, he started importing RC machines, and in 1973 after adding a few features to the RC, he started his getting his Cuisinart made in Japan. Intellectual rights anyone? After all, does anyone ever ask such questions of Microsoft or Apple? It is reported that after a furious Steve Jobs confronted Bill Gates over copying his company’s work to create Windows, Gates coolly retorted something to effect that there was more than one way of looking it, adding, “I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor, and I broke into house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.”

“Consumer satisfaction,” requires dependence on more than morality: tweaking is an honored expression.

According to the wisdom being taught by Cadillac, harder working Americans deserve Cuisinarts more than the French.

Oh, just dismiss all those “Jesus is the Reason” reminders that pop up each December. Ask any of Santa’s helpers and why not Santa him (or her)self, and they will tell you: Shopping is the Reason for Christmas.

Advertising — a profession that I chose to pursue as a post-toddler, only to discover that it has its dark side, despite the pro-side of aiding growth and development. It is a matter of creating illusions. and indeed mind engineering. Not too long ago, I was asked what was I doing in a roomful of engineers. I replied: Oh, I an engineer of minds.

Indeed, advertising engineers minds, creates wants that then feel like needs. Charles Revson, the Revlon cosmetics mogul is famously reported have said, “In the factory we make cosmetics; in the store we sell hope.” Wasn’t sixty years ago, Marlboro favored as a women’s cigarette, indeed featuring a red band at its other end suggesting a lipstick? In 1954, Philips Morris rebranded it and the rugged ‘Marlboro Man’ cowboy became one of the most prominent advertising icons of the mid-twentieth century, propelling Marlboro from a niche brand to the world’s best-selling cigarette.

In 1980, I happened to see to a hotdog factory: it produced 15,000 lb. of the stuff in an hour, labelled and packed to go! Imagine, the production speeds of today’s machines. But the question is how much persuasion is required to move that volume because you cannot stock up of hotdogs like gold bullion. Eureka: Hotdog eating contests! On July 4, 2013, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut gorged his way into history, winning his seventh consecutive Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating championship in Coney Island by scarfing 69 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes — a new world record, reported the New York Daily News.

The Cadillac TV commercials expresses entitlement: Americans deserve a car like a Cadillac because they work harder. In essence, the commercial simply plays on the age-old cognitive dissonance formula that supports existing and targeted buyers with the justification of buying a particular product or service. Uh, the carbon footprint and all that!

It was in such a mood that in 1986, while working as an advertising copywriter in Jeddah, in a Saudi Arabia flush with newly minted petrodollars that I penned this poem: 




luxury and opulence



target audience

faces an enemy.


ask them

to paint themselves

with yves st.laurent


douse themselves

with lagerfeld,


that they are helpless


it comes to defense.


entice them

to holidays in greece


clothes by pierre balmain,






at their door.

now you know


i don’t laugh.

it’s not easy to live

in a bed of roses.

– Omer Bin Abdullah ©



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