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Stepford Consumer

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"They mean well, poor souls, and they dress neatly and keep a cheery smile, but they must have been shortchanged in the smarts department because all they care about in this life is how white their whites get."
Roger Ebert, review of $1,000,000 Duck

In advertising, customers are routinely shown to be extremely and conspicuously ecstatic about the product, no matter how mundane — or in fact boring — it is. This works in all formats: visual forms of advertisement may show people grinning inanely, laughing and jumping for joy, radio spots may have people cheering and going woo-hoo in the background because they saved pennies on a bubblegum purchase, got a free sandwich with their car or are just generally pleased with the overall product because, you know, it's just so good.

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The trademark stupid grin fits well in the psychological profile of someone who is Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket and in touch with The Power of Cheese. When taken Up to Eleven, it can give off Happiness Is Mandatory vibes or alternatively sexual overtones when the ficticious customers seem really turned on by something that's usually considered unerotic in Real Life, unless you're into that kind of thing.

Often happily married to Magically Delicious.

See also Stepford Smiler.

As this is an Omnipresent Trope in advertising, there's no need to list straight examples here. Feel free to list this trope on the pages of works where it occurs.


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Examples of parodies, aversions, subversions, instances where this is played with, etc.

Advertising
  • Exaggerated in the Enzyte commercials, where Bob (and eventually, everyone else) is a persistent Stepford Smiler, even though the main effects of the product are never shown.
  • Exaggerated in an ad for a loan broker: "How do I do it? I'm in debt up to my eyeballs."

Literature

  • Paul Kane's short story "Life-O-Matic" takes place in a world where everybody is like this — until the protagonist, Jeff, wakes up and realizes how creepy it is.
    And yes, as June kept telling him, they had dozens of cleaning implements that could reach even into the smallest of nooks or crannies, but Jeff never actually saw her using any of them, only on small sections of the carpet which she would spill wine on deliberately just to show him how easy it was to "foam-away"!
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Live-Action TV

  • Supernatural: Averted for laughs when the main characters are trapped by a Reality Warping Trickster and forced to live out an advertisement for herpes medication.
    Sam: [Glaring at the fourth wall] I am doing all I can to slightly lessen the spread of... of... genital herpes. [Forces a pained smile] And that's a good thing.

Music

Western Animation


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