Glam Or Spam?


Based only on the image--is this room Glam or Spam?

It's over the top, to be sure, but is it dreadful  ? Is it Louis-the-Hotel or Poule de Luxe or What Granny Would Do If She Had the Money?  Does it make a difference if you know who lives here?

Can bad taste ever be glamorous? Chime in, please.

Dream House, Dream Car

I'm fascinated by this ad (by Venebles, Bell & Partners), which has been running in heavy rotation during the Olympics. It adopts the conventions of shelter magazines (and their advertisers) in presenting an empty but evocative home interior, then speeds up the imagery so fast that you experience the space only as if out of the corner of your eye. You don't quite have time to feel the glamour of the interior or the displaced meaning it represents. But that's OK, because the ad is using the house to sell a car.

The ad works because you don't need the details. You already know what the house, in its two incarnations, represents: the good life. What's interesting is that the ad doesn't cheat. It makes the traditionalist interior look well-designed and appealing. It simply presents an alternative and names it "progress," confident that the audience it wants will agree. And then, of course, the trick is to get people who feel the allure of the modern house to identify with Audi rather than (again, no cheat) Mercedes.

Keith Barry of provides some background on Audi's advertising strategy. For more on displaced meaning, and the equally relevant concept of the Diderot Effect, see Grant McCracken's Culture and Consumption.