Landing Pages and the Cult of the Average
If you’re anything like me, you’re completely average. You talk volubly about the weather and want to ride an elephant someday, if you haven’t already. And, if you’re truly average, occasionally your averageness will become odious to you; you question what you did to end up so godforsakenly normal, and what, if anything, can be done to remedy the situation.
My dearest average friends, I am here today to tell you that you needn’t change a single thing. Because right now, averageness is trending. That’s right, several years after the emergence of “normcore” — a calculated averageness practiced by the otherwise cool who sought to celebrate people like you and me…I think — averageness has finally made it into the mainstream.
How do we know this? Well, simply navigate to your favorite websites and apps! Airbnb, one of the coolest companies around (or so says Glassdoor, which, if you’re truly average, you take very seriously indeed), features on its landing page, seen by tens of millions around the world, two dudes eating lunch. Another GIF consists entirely of a woman slowing waking up. It’s hard to emphasize what a coup this is. But average people can sometimes overcome difficulty too, so I’ll try:
In the history of branding, advertising and mass culture we’ve never seen such blatant monotony on full display, such a lionization of the ordinary. And even stranger, it all becomes almost entrancing; you want to see if the woman wakes up, if the two dudes finish lunch. It’s Truman Show-level drama unfolding before our culture’s very eyes, a phenomenon most conspicuously manifested in South Korea’s mukbang, wherein Youtube stars are made everyday at the dinner table.
And what’s this? LinkedIn too? Better believe it. The very promotional video LinkedIn uses to get people into writing posts like this one features a woman who could hardly be more average if she tried, and who talks up her averageness and 15 minutes in the spotlight in such a classically modest and vaguely self conscious way (“it doesn’t feel like I’m an exceptional human being”) that it touches your heart, if only in a very average way. And other examples abound, from Tinder toTicketleap to Apple, who just yesterday brought back its “shot on iPhone” billboard campaign, which features in spectacular fashion the iPhone photos of average phone photographers.
Which all then gets you wondering, what exactly does my average identity mean to me? And what does its exploitation by Hip Tech mean? Well, I can’t really answer that for you, owing to what is now maybe only a slightly higher than average authority on this whole subject. But what I can say is that today, in 2016, it feels a little bit better to be a normal, often boring, mostly sedentary white male who gosh darn it enjoys a happy hour on Friday, brunch on Saturday, and maybe brunch again on Sunday. So while it’s still trending let us luxuriate in the ordinary, take pride in our hard-won undistinguishedness. Average is the new different.