I’ve been aware for years now that the line between marketing the culture and the culture of marketing are usually one and the same, but this image stirred up in me humor, wonder and concern.

Humor: The humor in this advertisement (the bottom of the cup is an add for a plastic surgery office) came to me initially as I saw the image and afterward when I gave thought to what I call smart banner adds. Like online stores that tabulate your recent search patterns and create a personal store inventory best suited to you.I laughed at the idea of printable ads in the future being able to adapt to our noses. What if everyone’s coffee cup replicated their noses, hilarious.

Wonder: I thought to myself, now here is something that is a gripping reminder to the person drinking the cup that their nose too could look like this perfect imagined one, and to all who watch this humorous add that if they so desire they can be someone else too. Someone with a perfect nose.

Concern: My concern grew after thinking about this advertisement. Its an advertisement on top of another marketed item – coffee. At one time I was sobered by the thought the cultures around me are actually something created by marketing executives rather than the artistic expressions of local artists and communities alone. Now I am approached with a grimmer reality, culture is a multi-layered marketing phenomena…have we lost ourselves to our desires? Have our aesthetics become so manipulated that personal creativity is loosing its innovative edge?

Which adjectives best describe your culture: disposable, personal, market-driven? or organic, communal, imageo dei-driven?