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LEAVING A THUMBPRINT ON THE WORLD

World War I soldiers relaxing near a plane with these words: “Who will be tomorrow’s business heroes? Maybe you.” The ad urges consumers to “move fast” to “apply information technology.” For the Hero, the sky is the limit. Fujitsu appeals to such ambition by saying “Be limitless” (and buy one of the firm’s notebooks). FTD.COM florists say “Be a hero,” or at least be seen as one by someone— perhaps your mother—who receives flowers from you. Marlboro clothes the call to heroism in nostalgia, inviting readers to “Marlboro Country” and the mythic land and life of the cowboy. One of the most successful Marlboro ads of all time showed the Marlboro man carrying a calf across a creek, illustrating the Hero’s willingness to help anyone in need. Consumers who know the old “Mission Impossible” television show or have seen the movie cannot miss the call to heroism in the Kodak ad that reads “Your mission, should you choose to accept it, begins at www.kodak.com/M12/Digital.” Often, though, the incentive is fear—of falling behind or of not being up to the task. PricewaterhouseCoopers (“Join us. Together we can change the world.”) ran one of many such ads, saying “The biggest risk is being left behind.” An Army ROTC ad pictured a shark saying, “Only the strong survive. So, take the smartest college course you can. Then go out into the world and tear it up.” Outdoor Research camping gear promotes its bivy sacks with a picture of a lightning storm over a lake surrounded by forest: “Five went in, None survived.” The ad gets your attention with the thought that people died, but as you read, you find out: It was a long, wet night after we got rained off of the East Face of Mt. Whitney a few years back. Our five different brands of bivy sacks all leaked. There had to be a better design, so in the morning I began scratching one out in the sand. I knew that creating a truly advanced bivy sack would be difficult, and it turned out to be way worse than I feared! The designing was tough, the engineering was tougher, and it took three years to get the patent. This urgency of the call to act also fuels a Planned Parenthood ad: “Accidents happen . . . if you have unprotected sex. You have 72 hours to reduce your risk of getting pregnant. It’s called emergency contraception. Got questions? Call Planned Parenthood.”

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

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