Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Beyond the Valley of the Bed Bath and Beyond

Advertising is successful when it becomes embedded in your unconscious and you no longer realize there's an addition to the interior design of your mind. An advertisement works when you mistake the message for a pro forma, the way say procedural memory makes it possible for you to mechanically undertake ordinary tasks. Let’s take the example of Bed Bath and Beyond, the home furnishing chain. The ingeniousness of the name lies in the fact that you very seldom think about its meaning. You muse about either the bed you sleep in or the bath you wash in and you take the most important word, “beyond” for granted. Most people would simply say that “beyond” connotes other things related to beds and baths, like duvets or toilet seat covers, but the ingenuity of the expression lies in its subliminal aspirational associations. The "beyond" aspect has to do with romantic strivings, not necessarily for love, but something more global and having to do with the complete renovation of one’s existence. Self-invention is what is ultimately being sold by the folks at Bed Bath and Beyond. However, the ingeniousness of the choice of name lies in the way it avoids hitting you over the head with such a heavy handed notion. So before Bed Bath and Beyond became what it is today, one would wager that the copyrighter at the agency handling the account, if there was one, had her or her work cut out for them.

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