Yeah? Well, they can’t buy happiness… Oh, who are we kidding. Of course they can

Advertising is a tricky game. You have to encapsulate your message into an easy-to-digest phrase that’ll make an instant impact on people, but at the same time it has to be completely unambiguous so as not to send the wrong message.

For example, here’s a poster advertising the bookstore Libro.

The large print up top reads: “People who earn 8,000,000 yen (US$76,000) a year read about twice as many books as people who earn 4,000,000 yen ($38,000) a year.” Below a boy looks up from his smartphone and says, “Eh?”

Now, I’m guessing what the ad is trying to say is that those who read more get more lucrative jobs and thus make more money in the end. But given the way the the numbers so evenly correlate, at first glance it looks like they’re just stating the obvious: that people with twice as much money can buy twice as many books.

In the same way you can interpret the boy’s “Eh?” as either a surprised “Really?!” or a bemused “What the f%$k, Libro?!”

Many online echoed that second sentiment after having their noses rubbed in their lack of book-purchasing power.

“Fascinating. So dare I assume that someone earning 12 million yen reads three times as many books?”
“How much money did they spend on that research?”
“I wonder what the annual income of a Libro manager is.”
“I guess their staff who only get 2,000,000 a year don’t read anything.”
“Most of those rich idiots just buy the books to line their shelves so they look smart.”
“I guarantee I read way more volumes of erotic manga than them.”

Initial confusion aside, it’s still a bit of an unpalatable message akin to: “Hey dumdum, not happy with your lot in life? Maybe you ought to pick up a book once in a while!”

Also, as the last comment saucily pointed out, there is no mention of what kind of books would suddenly kick-start your high-paying career either, which is why the logic of “more money = more books” would make more immediate sense for some.

On top of all that, all this talk of money and books can’t help but remind people that there are institutionalized buildings in every neighborhood that loan out books for free, which is probably not a good place for potential bookstore customers’ minds to wander.

And of course there are always fine online resources to freely read and broaden your minds such as our very own SoraNews24, what with our career-boosting* coverage of Tokyo Hooters and really big versions of normal food.

*coverage only shown to boost careers of professional website readers…if such a career exists.

Source: Twitter/@itachisyuko, Kinisoku
Featured image:  Twitter/@itachisyuko