American Psycho (second half)–Group 2

Find an ad that would appeal to Patrick Bateman and post a link to it.  Base on the advertisement, why  would Bateman buy  or scorn the product?  Don’t just say that he’d like it because it’s a luxury or reject it because it isn’t one.  Be more specific and analytical about how the ad works, the nature of luxury presented, the kinds of people we see, how the ad is filmed or photographed.  What, specifically, would make Bateman fall in love with the product? 

You don’t have to write a lot, but we’re definitely going to spend some time in class looking at these, so be prepared to say why you chose the ad you did and what you think is effective about it.   The ads can come from any time period.

Here are product categories for individuals.  Don’t work in pairs.  Find your own example.

Self-Care/Beauty Products:  Madison, Tim

Home Décor: Paolo, KK

Video/Stereo/Home and personal technology:  Carl, Cole

Cutlery/Tools: Liz, Michael

Men’s Clothing:  Annabella, Andreya

5 thoughts on “American Psycho (second half)–Group 2

  1. Elizabeth Srulevich

    At the top of this Vitamix ad, it reads: “HEALTHY LIVING: From a powerful Vitamix blender to a handheld press, keep resolutions on track with tools that transform fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables into delicious juices, smoothies, and salads.” Then in the bottom left corner, there’s a small paragraph that reads: “You’ll find Vitamix blenders in top restaurant kitchens for good reason: they offer an unrivaled combination of power, versatility, and performance. These innovative machines do it all, from whipping up healthy smoothies and nut butters to cooking hot soups and making frozen desserts.” Finally, in the right corner, there’s a tiny note under one of the two blenders in the image that reads: “Available in White, exclusively at Williams Sonoma.”

    I think Patrick would love this product. First of all, it’s sold in two colors — a black and steel version and a sleek “White” version, and only the latter can be found “exclusively” at Williams Sonoma, the luxury lifestyle magazine and retailer that ran this advertisement. The exclusivity of the White blender obviously leads me to think that this would be the version Patrick opts to buy, but I can imagine a situation in the novel where someone whose opinion matters to Patrick, maybe McDermott, points out that the White blender doesn’t fit into the “color story” of Patrick’s kitchen even if it does happen to be more “exclusive.” Most likely — even though the Vitamix is sold at Williams Sonoma — there’s an even better and more exclusive blender out there that Patrick sees at someone’s house. I could imagine many ways in which this Vitamix blender and the ad that sold it to him, for better or for worse, would be the subject of one of Patrick’s internal monologues.

    Fresh fruits and vegetables, blended and whole, are featured throughout the ad — inside, next to, in front of, and even behind the blenders at the centerpiece of it all. The kitchen featured in the image is modern, clearly styled as part of this editorial feature. Both the visuals and content in this ad suggest that the Vitamix blender could easily be a component of Patrick’s lifestyle and especially his carefully-planned daily routine.

  2. Annabella Twomey (it is the first advertisement picture at the top that says “show her it’s a man’s world” for Van Heusen ties)

    I chose this advertisement for several reasons, because there are no shortage of sexist men’s clothing ads from various eras, but this one has several details that I think are relevant to Bateman. For one thing, it depicts a luxury item of business: the tie. (Although I do not think Van Heusen is considered a luxury/designer brand, so I don’t think Bateman would actually buy this brand of tie, although the appeal of the advertisement still applies). It includes a woman serving a man breakfast in bed, kneeling next to him in a submissive position that is inherently sexual (on her knees), which is the primary way in which Bateman sees women. Furthermore, the ad draws a distinct separation between the capabilities, responsibilities, and overall isolation of men and women. Bateman sees women either as people like Evelyn in his life – people he associates with, view as a sign of status or class – or as the women he rapes/kills (in his delusions). But in all cases, they serve him in some way, whether in image or in his thoughts, the same way that the woman is serving this man.

    The man being dressed for the office including his tie in bed would also appeal to Bateman. Even though his job makes him feel empty inside, he constantly mixes corporate life into all personal aspects of his life, including his conversations with friends, relationship, and the overall methodical way in which he organizes his thoughts like one would organize a spreadsheet. Overall, this tie advertisement represents a depiction of Bateman himself: mixing business, sexual relationships, female companionship, branding/consumerism from clothing all into one big melting pot in his life, only to glean absolutely zero satisfaction from any part of it.

  3. Michael Taylor

    This 1978 advertisement for Ginsu kitchen knives is so perfect for Patrick Bateman that it prompted me to run a word search on the American Psycho text to see if Ellis included it. He didn’t, though he should have (an internet user named Ranylt Richildis did in her WordPress blog review of American Psycho in 2009, and her reference, it seems, has really taken off in subsequent reviews about American Psycho on the WordPress personal blogosphere. You go, Ranylt!). In addition to the deceptive allusion to Japanese metallurgy and samurai culture – Ginsu knives are made in Arkansas – and the almost endless additions of “but wait, there’s more” items in the direct-to-market, made-for-TV knife set, what really drives this advertisement home as a Bateman special and makes it so easily imagined in the middle of, say, The Patty Winters Show, is the line “it even comes with a matching fork to make carving a pleasure!” You really can’t make this stuff up.

  4. Andreya Zvonar

    “…Marcus works at P&P also, in fact does the same exact thing I do, and he also has a penchant for Valentino suits and clear prescription gasses…”

    “I’m wearing a cashmere topcoat, a double-breasted plaid wool and alpaca sport coat, pleated wool trousers, patterned silk tie, all by Valentino Couture…”

    I chose this ad because we know from the brand and above description that Bateman would most certainly like the clothing. The reason I chose it was to put a visual to the words. That way, we can perhaps see why he is such an avid fan of Valentino.

    Firstly, I notice the colorways and clean lines. The topcoats are in the same family of colors as the sport coats, but on each man, they are a slightly different shade. For example, the man on the left has a topcoat that is a shade lighter than his sport coat. Nevertheless, the sport coat always matches the pants, and in the case of the man on the left, the darker shade complements both his brown eyes and hair very well. “Clean lines” refers to the verticality of the clothing. Take the man in the middle for example. The edges of his top coat form a neat, vertical axis that subtly matches the vertical crease on his left pant leg. This accentuates the man’s thin and tall appearance, and thereby makes him appear elegant and masculine.

    Nevertheless, I think that Bateman might have an aversion to the man on the right. Not only does he look different from the first two men (perhaps he is not 100% white), but his collar and tie are not nearly as neat as they should be. Bateman might ask: Is his top button even done? What kind of ghastly knot did he use for his tie? And that hair, with gel still visible and such short sides…

    In all, Bateman is an astute student of style, and most importantly. He loves certain brands and trends, but is not one to be fooled by a moment of inconsistency nor one to hop on any bandwagon.

  5. Carl Langaker

    This is a commercial by Apple made in 1984, and it is arguably one of the most famous commercials ever. Since an obvious take here would be to choose an Apple commercial that highlights the elegant and high-class design of their products to appeal to Bateman’s affinity for the finer things, I have rather chosen a slightly different edge. The entirety of the commercial I have chosen is a pun playing off George Orwell’s classic book 1984. This book depicts a society where every person is entirely homogeneous, each simply being a brick in the wall – it is largely a utopia of sorts, where everyone obeys the god-like words of a deity-type character named Big Brother. In the commercial we see a legion-like crowd of people marching, all of whom are identical in gray drab clothes and uninteresting appearances, who are watching and listening to a big face on a screen – clearly representing Big Brother. Then, we suddenly see a young and hip-looking woman in white and red running down the room, and hurling a sledge hammer at the screen, thus destroying the Big Brother stream. The commercial ends with a slogan saying “You’ll see why 1984 won’t be like “1984””, clearly trying to say that this new computer will make the year 1984 different from the homogenous and drab society presented in the book.

    Throughout American Psycho we keep seeing Patrick Bateman doing anything and everything to fit in with his peers, who, like in the commercial, are all basically identical. For instance, when Evelyn asks him “If you’re so uptight about work, why don’t you just quit? You don’t have to work.” (127), he immediately responds ‘“Because,” I say, staring directly at her, “I… want… to… fit… in.”’ (127). He’s working a job he hates solely for the image it gives him, and the social sphere it places him in. We find that most of his interests are spurred by this similar motivation. He wants to confirm his spot in the elite, showing that he belongs. However, his desires are larger than this. It seems that he wants to fit in, while also being the person who is ‘fitting in the most’ – the most respected. That is, he wants to stand out within the crowd of people who are fitting in. Of course, Paul Owen occupies this role, while Patrick is rather casually confused for Marcus Halberstram.

    Due to this, I think if Patrick had seen this commercial, he would be thrilled. Something about the woman running the past the rows and rows of entirely homogeneous people would appeal to his desire to be the one who is the most prominent in the sphere of his community. She stands out in her red shorts and white tanktop, from the ocean of grey plain suits. Similarly, Patrick wants people to see his credit card, his glasses, his watch, and think “wow, this guy has got it going on”; we also see this in the scene I discussed last week, where Patrick wants his business card to be the best among his associates, and is basically heart-broken when even he realizes that it isn’t. I think that this notion, combined with the fact that Apple produces without a doubt the most expensive computers, which are largely synonymous with privilege, would be too enticing an opportunity for Patrick to let up. It is important to note that this commercial is a fringe case – that is, while Bateman wants to stand out among his peers, he simultaneously does not want to stand out too much. I think the commercial falls on the right side of Patrick’s taste, and that he would find it alluring, although it could honestly go either way.

    I can just totally imagine him flashing his shiny and pristine new computer to his coworkers and saying something like “Oh this? It’s the new Macintosh – I just purchased it last week. The New York Daily is calling its recent commercial BOTH insightfully unique and tasteful, for its astute interpretation of George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 and its innovative slogan comparing the novel to the present year” and so on…

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