Recently on one of her specials, Babara Walters interviewed Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue magazine. In a wrapping segment the two discussed the possibility that fashion reflected the mood of the country. Whereas I am definitely not a fashion expert, I began to think about what other mediums could tell us about the countries current mood and culture. It is easy to classify the music, movies, and television of decades past as being representative given they are part of our culture.

This is going to be the first in what I hope to be a series of articles analyzing television commercials. I will attempt to minimize my personal dislike and annoyance at particular commercials and instead focus on any linkages between the message/context and social implications if any. I am fully aware these are commercials and some are to be taken in jest, so this won’t be a ‘save the children’ message but instead an attempt to identify the underlying mood of the nation.

Pizza Hut $5 Deal –

I recently noticed Pizza Hut is capitalizing on their version of Dominoes three medium pizzas for $5. To advertise, we see a husband yelling to his wife, “Honey! The Pizza Hut kid made a mistake again,” indicating he received his three pizzas for the special price and unaware of the promotion assumed the difference in price was that of a mistake by the delivery boy. Elated, the husband dances into the kitchen. Now we will ignore the fact that the primary loser in this situation is the delivery boy, who if having made a mistake will likely be reimbursing Pizza Hut for the difference, and focus instead on the mindset of the delighted consumer.

Most of us have been in a similar situation where we received too much change or weren’t charged for something at a restaurant or store. I believe two factors are at play here: 1) when was the mistake realized and 2) what was our initial reaction. We won’t always have or recognize the opportunities to rectify the situation, but the husband above was fully aware having experienced the same deal on a previous occasion. Is this part of a broader distrust of the corporation?

We are reminded from time to time through large jury decisions, like that of Stella Lieback and her McDonald’s coffee incident. The belief that organizations have deep pockets and they can afford to loose from time to time. Unfortunately this belief is in part contributory to many other incidents of crime and petty theft. This attitude can be easily be applied to the popularity of file-sharing, movie and music downloading even stealing the pen from the office.

Those incidents aside, how does this attitude manifest? For those who willingly take advantage of situations such as this, as our fictional husband did, how if at all can this be related to his experience with large corporations? Is he unappreciated at work? Was he raised in a similar environment? Is he merely following standard economic theory and maximizing his profit? Do they lack certain mental competencies? Or is it all of the above? At any rate it is food for thought.

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