Success in the Palm of your Hand

A very effective way in which many companies advertise their products is through the portrayal of a person who is succeeding in business. This is something that touches many people’s hearts in that the "American dream" is to become a wealthy and powerful person. People see the wealthy businessperson as the image of their dream. This ad for UPS and 3com preys on this ideal since so many people strive towards the "American dream." This ad plays on the ideal of the successful businessperson by showing the power that the businessperson has over all that is around him, by contrasting his profession with the others in the ad, specifically how they deal with their hands compared to their minds, and by showing some of his wealthy lifestyle. These are all aspects which we are lead to believe we should strive for so that we can enjoy life and be what we want to be.

The power that this businessman has is portrayed through the information that he is able to hold in the palm of his hand, and through his control of the direction that the cab should go. He is able to control all that goes around about him because he is the successful businessman with information. When you look at the information that this man is reading, it can be seen that this man holds power over others in the office. The package was delivered to Skinner, who is merely a lowlife to this businessman. He is the person with no power that is forced to work in the lowest rungs of the company, the mailroom. Even his name is a reference to manual labor. "Skinner" originally comes from the old trappers and skinners of animals. The name draws a comparison between this man, Skinner, and the manual labor of skinning dead animals. This is shown to be an undesirable profession. The ad draws the idea that this businessman is much better than Skinner, because he now has more power and controls everything through the information in his hand. The power aspect is shown again in the words describing what this businessman is doing. "Give cabbie directions" is listed on his list of things to do twice to show that he has the direct control over what is going on around him. The cabbie is just the tool he is using to get where he wants to go. The cabbie has no real control over the direction that the cab will be taking. The businessman tells him where to go and what to do, all the while running his business. All the power portrayed in this picture belongs to the successful businessman who is using the Palm VII. It is all an attempt to make you feel that he is the one we should emulate, and that the first step would be to get the Palm VII.

The power that the businessman holds is shown even stronger through the comparison of the uses of the hands in the three different professions illustrated in the ad. The businessman’s hand is featured prominently in the center, which clearly commands your attention. It is seen in the picture that the businessman uses his hands to get information. He merely holds the Palm VII and can get all the information he needs. His hands are just a supplement to his mind. When you compare that idea with the ideas portrayed by the other people in the ad, you get a sharp contrast. The other two people featured in the ad, the cabbie and Skinner, both have jobs that require almost exclusive use of the hands. Instead of the hands being the supplement to the mind, as is the case with the businessman using the Palm VII, both the cabbie and Skinner use their mind to supplement their hands. The basis of the cabbie’s work is to use his hands and steer the vehicle wherever the businessman tells him to. He is depicted as just the mindless person who just turns the steering wheel and listens to every little whim from the businessman. He is the one taking directions. He is the low-class worker that people should strive to not be like. Skinner is also a manual laborer. He is forced to sit in the mailroom and sort through all the mail that comes in for these businesspeople. He is not successful and is just there to serve the purpose of the more powerful people above him. He too is forced to use his little knowledge to do work with his hands, and therefore is viewed as less of a person. Again, his name relates him to the manual labor that he does. The relation to a skinner of animals furthers this idea that he is doomed to work with his hands in the undesirable job that we should attempt to avoid. We are shown that we should be in search of knowledge, like the businessman, and strive to get all the info we need in the palm of our hand.

The businessman uses this knowledge he now has to lead a wealthy and fast paced life. This is evident through the different images that are visible in the ad. The picture of the businessman’s arm is one such clear example. The coat appears to be of a very high quality material, and you can see that he is dressed in a very fashionable manner. The mere appearance of his arm gives you the impression of his personality as the good-looking, well-dressed, and smooth-talking businessman. The other very noticeable thing in this ad that shows this guy’s lifestyle is the background scenery. When you look at it, you quickly notice that it is very unclear. Everything outside of the cab is blurry as if it is all whizzing by, and it seems to have no importance to the man. The guy has all he needs with him. He is zooming past all the other things around him in his life of success and control. He is on the fast track to the top with his wealthy, fast-paced lifestyle that is caused through his ability to get information quickly from both UPS and the 3com Palm VII.

Thus, the ad is trying to convince us that UPS shipping and the 3com Palm VII will help us become this successful businessperson depicted in the picture. If we can use these products, we should supposedly get power over our lives and those around us, jobs that better serve our own interest, and a more enriched lifestyle. We are led to believe that we can obtain all these things through the simple purchase of the Palm VII and the use of UPS shipping.