The post “Hitting the Accelerator: Mercedes-Benz & The Age of Accelerated Meaning” does a fine job highlighting some of the main points found in Goldman and Papson’s work “Advertising in the Age of Accelerated Meaning.”  It effectively demonstrates how Mercedes-Benz has played off of common themes and narratives found in society, in order to grab the viewer’s attention.  However, when first watching this commercial, I immediately thought of how excessive the imagery and production content were.  Rather than just referencing common themes and signs found in society, this advertisement is rather guilty of playing into the notion of conspicuous consumption.

In the book “The Theory of the Leisure Class” Thorstein Veblen analyzes how society came to be obsessed with acquiring and displaying goods as a means to show off social status.  One of Veblen’s main ideas is that people who consume valuable goods are conveying how they have a substantial amount of leisure time available to them.  Veblen states how “Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentlemen of leisure.  As wealth accumulates on his hands, his own unaided effort will not avail to sufficiently put his opulence in evidence by this method.  The aid of friends and competitors is therefore brought in by resorting to the giving of valuable presents and expensive feasts and entertainments” (Veblen 47).  This conveys how in order to display wealth, one must purchase goods and have the assistance of others to showcase their lavish lifestyle, which is greatly displayed in this ad.

Opening the commercial with the tale of selling your soul to the devil in exchange for something, in this case the Mercedes-Benz CLA, was an effective move.  Doing this places the automobile as a highly sought after and valuable product right from the start.  The most crucial aspect of this scene is when William Dafoe states: “Make a deal with me kid, you can have the car and everything that goes along with it.”  This statement demonstrates how the man will attain a certain lifestyle and be perceived a certain way once he owns the car, which the man envisions right away.  He first pictures himself pulling up in the CLA to a highly publicized event, most likely filled with celebrities.  This connotes how people who drive the CLA are of importance and fit into a glamorous lifestyle.  This glamorous lifestyle is also conveyed in the next scene, which features Usher having a dance off with the man at a club.  At the end of this scene three women appear to be attracted to this man, and are then scene riding in the CLA right after.  The man is then seen appearing on the cover of countless magazines, which can indicate fame and power.  This envisioned dream ends with the man being chased by hundreds of girls and then speeding off onto a racetrack.

The events imagined by the main character truly demonstrate this notion that attaining valuable goods will make people believe you lead an important and leisurely life.  By literally partying with celebrities, like Usher and Kate Upton, the character emulates a life filled with exciting events and wealthy friends.  It places the notion into consumers’ minds that people who own this car also lead a similar lifestyle.  This advertisement is also quite effective at conveying Veblen’s belief that conspicuous consumption mostly takes place in areas “where the human contact of the individual is widest and the mobility of the population is greatest” (Veblen 54).  Conspicuous consumption is prevalent in such areas, due to the fact that many individuals do not know each other.  In heavily populated areas, like New York and Los Angeles, goods essentially act as communicators, and relay information to others.  They have the ability to communicate what social class people are in, or at least want to be perceived as being in.  In this particular case, the CLA relays to people that owners of this car live lavish lives, and will be the center of attention wherever they go, which truly embodies this idea of conspicuous consumption.

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