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The Innocent


the only passport you carry.” The promise is that the Internet provides the metaphoric path to the perfect world. Some brands acknowledge the limits of their ability to create Eden, appealing to consumers who recognize the reality that it is quite an accomplishment to make any part of life wonderful. Rockport Shoes pictures a comfortable pair of shoes with the tag line “Life is perfect, at least from the ankle down.” The investment brokerage Morgan Stanley Dean Witter ran an ad with a lovely, natural-looking, mature woman—cotton shirt, flowing hair—invoking an Innocent yearning, but with a surprising twist: “How do you measure success? I have someone to watch over me. Me.” The ad recognizes the Innocent’s desire to be cared for and implies that the company does some of the watching, but it also appeals to women’s desire for independence: This woman is not waiting for the white knight to rescue her; she helps to create the perfect life by taking responsibility for her own. In today’s complex world, even the most sophisticated and jaded parents feel a strong pull to keep their children as innocent as they can, as long as they can. For many, this takes the form of trying to give them everything they could ever want, so that they never have the experience of lacking anything. Babystyle lightheartedly jokes about the appeal of such innocence to parents. Under a picture of a totally captivating baby is the caption “He’ll make you laugh. He’ll make you cry. He’ll make you buy him lots of stuff.” There is often something unabashedly childlike even about ads appealing to adults when the Innocent archetype is being evoked. Before its bankruptcy, e-retailer Value America had ads showing a picture not just of comfy slippers, but of pink, bunny-eared ones. The company’s explicit promise was hassle-free shopping. (“Forget where you parked your car. Ignore pushy sales clerks. Lose your tolerance for limited selection. But wear your shopping shoes”—the slippers.) The implicit promise of pink bunny slippers is way beyond easy shopping; it is an escape from power suits and soccer-mom car pools to being a kid again. J. C. Penney’s ads and catalogues similarly highlight women and children in soft, pastel, frilly clothing. Land’s End runs an ad of a white room with French doors leading to a natural backyard, with a woman dressed all in white dancing unself-

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype