American Psycho (second half)–Group 3

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:  Dan, Michael

Home Décor: Haley, Will

Video/Stereo/Home and personal technology:  Alex L., Joey, Jacob

Cutlery/Tools: Rachel, Gordon

Men’s Clothing:  Alex M., Henry

6 thoughts on “American Psycho (second half)–Group 3

  1. William Koch

    The premise of this product strikes me as one that would appeal to Bateman, at least at a symbolic level. Although I can’t imagine him necessarily walking around with a handbag, or even a briefcase, without spouting several homophobic and chauvinistic slurs, the philosophy behind the product is one that I feel captures the essence of Bateman as a product of 80th century New York capitalism. The handbag’s presentation is malleable. It can be painted a new color on a whim to match the desire of its wearer. We could say this is emblematic of Bateman. Where the handbag changes color on a whim, Bateman adjusts and alters segments of his personality to seemingly conform with what is trendy and what is hip among the young New York elite. He, like the handbag, has no fixed form. Ultimately, I don’t think he would buy it unless it became a trendy fad that other Wall Street brokers and consultants were buying, and even then I stand by my assertion that he would disparage the trend with his homophobic mindset until he drove himself crazy enough with societal FOMO that he went to buy one himself. It’s not a product that fits with the consumer habits or the psychosis of Bateman, but rather one that is emblematic of who he is as a person, or even a lack thereof.

  2. Joseph Levine

    I chose an advertisement for the Sonos One home stereo system. The advertisement employs a dramatic introduction for the product using trendy, sedate club music. Its list of features are rattled off rhythmically and consecutively, its service offerings extensive and nuanced. Bateman loves products that he can tell a story about, ones with lengthy descriptions and complex offerings, and the ad certainly includes these attributes. In terms of its delivery, the commercial’s narration is a disjointed amalgam of men and women’s voices, and throughout the video we see a montage of their mouths and ears as they talk. This reminds me of how Patrick fixates on different parts of the body when contemplating his victims. This also adds a kind of sensuality to the ad that relates to Bateman’s almost physical attraction toward the material. In the montage of happy men, women, and children enjoying their home life, it feels as though we are watching them secretly through the camera; when they show a father sitting on a bed with his daughter, it feels strangely invasive, possibly because I am imagining what kind of fantasies Bateman would project onto the image. The ad highlights how the stereo can be assimilated into any room easily, hidden in bookshelves or inconspicuously sitting on nightstands. While Bateman enjoys showing off his personal technology, I can assume that hiding a voice-activated stereo–particularly one that can be hooked up to an Alexa, which can then control elements of the home–would potentially offer several devious applications that Bateman would concoct. The ad concludes with emphasizing that it caters to lovers of music who want the best sound possible, which of course fits Bateman’s vapid and obsessive music interests.

  3. Alexandra Lawson

    I like this ad because I am a little conflicted about how Bateman would view it.

    Initially, I thought that the ad would appeal strongly to Bateman. This is largely due to the fact that the AirPods are shown to provide a certain happiness to the main actor. In the initial scene, the actor appears devoid of emotion – following a mundane routine and lifestyle. However, upon putting in the AirPods and starting his commute, presumably to work, he gains momentum. I think what would appeal to Bateman would be the way that the world seems to mold around the actor in this ad. The actor is able to jump off of surfaces, and the world around him seems to adapt to fit him in. In this sense, the character is the center of his own world and the main character. We get a sense that this actor is liked by those around him. The AirPods seem to transport him from an emotionless and mundane place, into one of excitement and fulfillment. They are able to create happiness in something as routine as a commute to work.

    At the same time however, while AirPods are clearly a luxury good, I am not so sure that they are shown as one in this advertisement. The actor is portrayed as a normal, working man: shirt is untucked, his shoes are far from luxury, and immediately upon leaving his house there is an old mattress on the ground. One scene that stuck out to me was the woman in the car who is polishing her glasses. She seems to represent luxury. Here the ad works to show that the man, while not being wealthy or rich, is much happier and more fulfilled even than this woman, who is likely very wealthy and presumably being chauffeured somewhere. So while my initial reaction was that he would love the ad, I ultimately changed course as I got deeper into analysis. I think that Bateman would scoff at the AirPods and instead align with the woman in the car. While the AirPods seem to provide some sort of happiness, they are also shown as something accessible to everyone rather than something exclusive. I think that this lack of exclusivity would draw Bateman away from them – they don’t seem shiny, they seem like something that anyone could have.

  4. Haley Glover
    The advertisements above coincide with the general theme of decor that I think would pull Bateman’s attention. Always searching for the life lived in advertisement, Bateman is mesmerized by the happy beautiful people in marketings as well as the constructed sense of environment. As the first advertising link shows, the water facet being sold promises a life of ease suggested in the woman’s luxurious gown which she wears while idly running her fingers under the water’s stream. Bateman searches for meaning and a defined life in advertisement. Believing himself to be nothing, he relies wholly on the constructed sense of the American self proposed in advertisement. I also chose the second advertising link because it promises almost a new environment, an escape. The light being advertised resembles reflected water and transforms the bathroom into an underwater getaway. Bateman in his dissatisfaction with the repetition and grime of society is desperate for something new, in which he turns to murder. While the light is sure to lose its initial pull as Bateman lives with the item, its advertisement sings the song of a new note that Bateman, especially in the second half of the book, is trying desperately to hear.

  5. Michael Frank

    I think this question changed since I last saw it! Revised post:

    I actually saw this ad a number of times over the last couple of months and the fact that the campaign was launched exactly 30 years after Psycho ended is all too fitting: Very little has changed. I think it would be directly appealing to Patrick’s lifestyle, mostly because it doesn’t treat his living situation as extraordinary. In fact, the way that BOSS pitches Chris Hemsworth’s luxurious penthouse, exercise routine, and wardrobe makes you feel ridiculous for not living so decadently. Hemsworth is shot intimately, but not necessarily in a way that is larger-than-life– Just comfortable and in control. In the sense that the devil’s greatest trick was convincing man he doesn’t exist, capitalism’s greatest trick was convincing us all that it is default. I think Patrick would find solace in the matter-of-factness of that kind of life.

    I also just have a feeling that Bateman would kind of like Imagine Dragons.

  6. Dan Cielak

    Patrick’s murders seem to exist only in his imagination and by living out these fantasies, he is satisfying some desire that is not made explicit to the audience. In fact, the ambiguity behind Patrick’s motives to kill justifies the novel’s title; he is a true “American Psycho” because he has no discernible reason for killing some people and not others. He seems to kill out of joy, pleasure, excitement, etc. However, at times, I did feel like he may have killed out of jealousy, such as when he kills (or thinks he kills) Paul Owen. There are several indications that he kills Owen because he is jealous that he is managing the “Fisher account.” Other than that, I just think he kills because he likes to.
    Bateman is a product of his direct surroundings. He influences and is influenced by his elitist friends and lavish lifestyle. It seems as if he only exists to partake in these excessive tendencies. Moreover, he never speaks about the actual work he does, if he does any. He only ever talks about watching The Patty WInter’s Show, working out at Xclusive for two hours +, dinning out with his fellow Wallstreet pals at the most expensive restaurants, and dressing in the finest clothing. To many, these activities seem like unnecessary indulgences. Thus, when he speaks about gruesome murders, I can’t help but read them as just another vice that Patrick needs in order to feel satisfied. And, because Ellis chooses to portray the redundancy of Patrick’s habits, one beings to think that Patrick kills because everything else has become too boring. He already lives the most quintessential life for a 26-year old. On a surface level, Patrick has it “all”; he is young, attractive, rich, and educated. Murders seem to provide him with enough excitement to keep himself happy and hungry for more. For example, after he kills his first victim, the homeless man in the “Tuesday” chapter, Ellis writes of Bateman, “[afterwards], two blocks west, I feel heady, ravenous, pumped up, as if I’d just worked out and endorphins are flooding my nervous system, or just embraced that first line of cocaine, inhaled the first puff of a fine cigar, sized that first glass of Cristal” (132). Here, the references to the feelings he got of doing a working out, doing drugs, inhaling nicotine, or drinking alcohol seem to indicate that he gets a drug-like dopamine effect from killing.
    In the last 50 pages of the novel, the killing seems to stop almost abruptly. In part, I think this because is beginning to realize that his murders are not real (the revelation that Paul Owen was indeed in London this whole time), and the fact that his life isn’t always perfect (he gets robbed at gun point by the Taxi driver). This perhaps causes Patrick reflect on his circumstances and begin to reassess his motives for doing everything he does.

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