Landscapes of Global Capital
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Introduction
Feed the children
Corporate paternalism
The cure
High tech classroom
Techno-metaphor
Child prodigy
The obnoxious visionary
Unfettered imagination
We care
Harmonious music
Cynicism of legitimation
You can't buy love
Harmony of technology

Comdisco is a technology service company that helps "its customers maximize technology functionality, predictability and availability while freeing them from the complexity of managing their technology." While most technology and technology service ads use filmic devices such as beams of light, chips, airport architecture, speeded-up cinematography, etc. to connote futurism and the velocity of information exchange, Comdisco uses a young active boy to serve as a metaphor for ones technological needs. Shot in sepia tone and slow motion fluid camerawork the Comdisco commercial follows a boy running down cobble stone streets, dancing across a stage, ringing a church bell, and just mugging for the camera. The boy's voice-over is integrated into a simple deliberate piano musical background.

I am new.
And I am much, much more than just a handful.
I demand constant attention.
I am growing faster than you can imagine.
I am technology.

Comdisco suggests that a deliberate constant approach is the way to ensure that the technological needs of its customers are met reliably. The cobble stone streets, the large church bell, the music, the fluid camera, the slow motion, and the sepia-toned photography create an ethereal spiritual texture. At times the ad looks European and traditional. While the child metaphor suggests the unruliness of technological change, the rhythm and look of the ad guarantees control and certainty. Need help with your unruly child you can count on Comdisco.

Novell, a network service company, also uses children as a metaphor for the chaotic nature of networks. To the background of David Bowie's "Changes" children randomly chase fireflies in the night. By the end of the commercial one child has a large jar full of them that give off such a bright light that it lights up his tree house. Below the house the other children dance in celebration as a burst of light turns the screen white providing a background for Novell's tagline the power to chaNge. The capitalized N in chaNge refers back to Novell.

Today companies are struggling with the complexities of the net
Trying to make intranets extranets, the internet, and multiple software platforms work together simply and securely as one net.
Well now they can with net services software from Novell

Both Comdisco and Novell recreate a common theme in this genre of advertising-information technology is complex and often not well integrated. In an information economy constructing a functioning network in which technology and information flows are efficient, reliable, and integrated is a daunting task. Using children as a metaphor ameliorates the anxiety associated with the uncertainty of deal with an increasingly complex business environment.


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Robert Goldman, Stephen Papson, Noah Kersey