Haha, the cynical side of me loves this!

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Advertising’s love affair with romance goes way back, perhaps to the birth of advertising itself.  People never seem to tire of images that portray intimacy in connection with the act of purchasing.  A recent ad by Paypal seems innocuous enough: a girl wearing a heart-shaped pendant kisses a young man in a suit.  Our eyes soon wander to the adjacent slogan: “Necklace selected.  Privacy protected.”  Another slogan beneath the Paypal logo drives the message home, subtly merging people with objects: “Go for the things you love with confidence.”

Paypal necklace ad: Girl kissing man under city lights.

What do we have here?  On the surface: technology in the hands of consumers for the benefit of their personal lives.  Just beneath: a slick appeal to fantasy and power.  At the core: capitalism packaged as romance in the service of reproduction, or, survival of the fittest.  On a subliminal level, we might say: “Mate obtained.  Risk eliminated.”

In today’s sophisticated media-saturated…

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