The bleakonomy's first commercial

Last night, during an evening of watching Low Entertainments, I came across a rather startling new advertisement. Several commercials of late make oblique reference to our current economic woes, hawking whatever it is that's being sold as some kind of extraordinary value. This one was a bit more direct.

It was for the new "3conomy" menu at Wendy's, whereby one can purchase three sandwiches for 99 cents each. Lousy food for cheap is nothing new in the fast food world, so this wasn't particularly startling. (Full disclosure -- I haven't actually eaten the sandwiches in question, so if they're deep-fried manna on a bun, my apologies to the good people at Wendy's. Dave Thomas always struck me as a decent sort.) What was notable in the commercial was the set-up.

Three guys are sitting around in what is obviously meant to be some back room in the office where they labor at menial jobs. One guy, wearing a shirt with his name on it in the manner of delivery personnel everywhere, is holding forth on the lessons of the "3conomy" and the value of lousy food for cheap. So far, no surprises. However, at the end of the commercial, one guy asks Mr. Nametag how he knows so much about economics, and he replies "I used to work on Wall Street." (Or something very similar.)

I will leave it to Elizabeth to discuss the academic implications of popular culture, and what they reflect about our national psyche. But it strikes me as a significant comment about the impact of the financial sector's melt-down when "sacked financial worker in low-paying job" is a recognizable-enough figure to work in a national ad campaign. I suspect there is no small degree of schadenfreude at play in the ad, since who doesn't like to see the (presumably) cocky jerks of Wall Street laid low, but we're also meant to relate to this guy on some level. Not to make too much of a fast food commercial, but it felt like a good indicator of the national mood.

[By the way, I intended to imbed the commercial in question in this post, but could find every new "3conomy" ad except that one on Youtube. If anyone finds it, please let me know.]

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