FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Cashing In On Patriotism

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, Madison Avenue wasted little time devising ways to draw customers to their products. Some of these efforts have bordered on the unseemly.

United Airlines is running a commercial about a firefighter who boarded a recent flight. The advertisement says that once the crew found out there was a firefighter on board, they placed him in first class and the captain announced, “There’s a hero on board.” The commercial ends with the sentence, “People are getting back on board United.”

A Chevrolet commercial shows dramatic scenes of firefighters before a shot of a Chevy cruising down a scenic highway. The advertisement ends by flashing the patriotic words, “Keep America Moving.”

Even Lee jeans has gotten in on the action. A Lee doll is featured in a commercial with a Band-Aid on his arm and a Red Cross sticker that says, “I gave blood.”

In a radio ad, Toys-R-Us encourages parents to bring their children into the store to color a flag.

The Food Network is running promotional commercials to encourage people to cook together to relieve stress and to watch their programming. The ad states, “We’re all feeling a little overwhelmed, but we have to keep going.”

Newcastle Beer has advertising posters in bars that say, “Drink Newcastle to help the victims of Sept. 11.”

This type of ad is now a common corporate tactic. The consumer is told that part of the company’s profits will be donated to a Sept.11 relief fund. Corporations should not prey on Americans’ desire to help the victims’ families by turning the tragedy into an advertising ploy.

The New York Stock Exchange is now running commercials that end with, “Let Freedom Ring.” Its associating the civil right’s movement with the bell that ends each day’s market speculation.

These ads want us to associate patriotism with consumerism. But there is something tawdry about it all, as when fast food chains like Arby’s and McDonalds place “God Bless America” on their outdoor signs right above “99 cent Double Cheeseburger Special.”

Many of the very corporations that are showing this fake patriotism are the ones that are undermining the foundation of American democracy. In each new election cycle, corporations spend millions of dollars in campaign contributions and on lobbyists to push their pro-business agenda in Washington.

These ads demean the memory of the more than 5,000 people who lost their lives on Sept. 11. CP

Sarah Turner is a weekly opinion columnist for the Daily Cardinal, a student newspaper at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an intern at the Progressive Media Project. She can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

More articles by:

January 23, 2019
Paul Street
Time for the U.S. Yellow Vests
Charles McKelvey
Popular Democracy in Cuba
Kenn Orphan
The Smile of Class Privilege
Leonard Peltier
The History Behind Nate Phillips’ Song
Kenneth Surin
Stalled Brexit Goings On
Jeff Cohen
The System’s Falling Apart: Were the Dogmatic Marxists Right After All?
Cira Pascual Marquina
Chavez and the Continent of Politics: a Conversation with Chris Gilbert
George Ochenski
Turning Federal Lands Over to the States and Other Rightwing Fantasies
George Wuerthner
Forest Service Ignores Science to Justify Logging
Raouf Halaby
In the Fray: Responses to Covington Catholic High
Kim C. Domenico
No Saviors But Ourselves; No Disobedience Without Deeper Loyalty
Ted Rall
Jury Trial? You Have No Right!
Michael Doliner
The Pros and Cons of Near Term Human Extinction
Lee Ballinger
Musical Unity
Elliot Sperber
The Ark Builders
January 22, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
On the Brink of Brexit: the Only Thing Most People Outside Westminster Know About Brexit is That It’s a Mess
Raouf Halaby
The Little Brett Kavanaughs from Covington Catholic High
Dean Baker
The Trump Tax Cut is Even Worse Than They Say
Stanley L. Cohen
The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner
Karl Grossman
Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars
Glenn Sacks
Teachers Strike Dispatch #8: New Independent Study Confirms LAUSD Has the Money to Meet UTLA’s Demands
Haydar Khan
The Double Bind of Human Senescence
Alvaro Huerta
Mr. President, We Don’t Need Your Stinking Wall
Howard Lisnoff
Another Slugger from Louisville: Muhammad Ali
Nicole Patrice Hill – Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Scarlet “I”: Climate Change, “Invasive” Plants and Our Culture of Domination
Jonah Raskin
Disposable Man Gets His Balls Back
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail