Code-X (14)
By: Joshua Glenn | Categories: Codebreaking, Semiotics, Utopia

Sentry Investments ad: stock ticker symbols UP for “Big Picture” and “Windex,” DOWN for “Rose-Coloured Glasses.”

Call this financial services category code: Boomer Visionquest.

Definition: Throughout their lives, Boomers have sought inspiration in visionary “eureka” moments. This generational tendency is exploited via investment and other financial services advertising.

blackrock

Notes on this code: Metaphors of vision, liminality and transformation (bridges, windows), rational yet utopian plan for change (rainbow made of bar graphs is a nice touch). Tricky balance between scare tactics — your financial situation is insecure! — and appeal to Boomer faith that nothing truly bad will ever befall their generation.

prudential

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Joshua Glenn is a cultural and brand semiotician, and co-principal of the agency SEMIOVOX LLC. He is editor and publisher of HILOBROW and the Radium Age sci-fi paperback imprint HILOBOOKS. He is author of (with Mark Kingwell and the cartoonist Seth) THE IDLER'S GLOSSARY (2008) and THE WAGE SLAVE'S GLOSSARY (2011), and editor of the object-oriented story collections TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY (2007) and (with Rob Walker) SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS (2012). With Elizabeth Foy Larsen and Tony Leone, Josh produced the popular family activities guides UNBORED (2012), UNBORED GAMES (2014), and UNBORED ADVENTURE (2015), not to mention two UNBORED activity kits from MindWare. In the ’00s, Josh was an editor and columnist for the BOSTON GLOBE's IDEAS section; in the ’90s, he published the high-lowbrow zine/journal HERMENAUT. He was born and raised in Boston, where he lives with his wife and sons.