A Day in the Life of a Consumer (2020)

Microsoft Sam, a video essayist/compilator with a YouTube channel of 2190 subscribers, provides an apt update/Corona version of Harun Farocki’s A Day in the Life of a Consumer (1993). The result of an intense search through corporate advertisements (car industry, telecommunications, delivery services, etc.) of the first half of April, the excerpts used in the 3:41 minutes video (uploaded on April 15) are organized around visual terms and conceptual tropes such as “people,” “family,” “home,” “today, more than ever,” “in these times of uncertainty,” “unprecedented times,” “together”, etc. Edited to become a dizzying rhythmanalysis of “the moment,” the main impression entailed here is one of a perplexing sameness in the corporations and their ad agencies’ response to the crisis. As Microsoft Sam rightly comments: “Corporate Covid-19 response videos are eerily similar. […] In reality, many companies have found themselves short on cash, almost overnight. They needed to get a message out – and quick. They asked their teams to throw something together. Since they can’t film a new ad because of social distancing, they compiled old stock b-roll footage and found the most inoffensive royalty-free piano track they could find. This, combined with a decade of marketing trends dictated by focus groups and design-by-committee, released a tsunami of derivative, cliche ads all within a week of one another. It’s not a conspiracy – but perhaps a sign that it’s time for something new.” TH/VP



April 27th, 2020 — Rosa Mercedes / 02