Muriel Minnie Mae and an anonymous contributor sent in contrasting examples of cell phone marketing that draws on the idea of nature. The two ad campaigns, side by side, are a great illustration of how we can imagine nature to be either our enemy or our friend.

The campaign for the Motorola Brute portrays nature as aggressive and destructive.  The Brute is designed to beat nature in this battle (anthropomorphized as “mother”) by being able to withstand “extreme temperatures, blowing rain, dust, shock, vibration, pressure and humidity…”  Mother nature is a bitch, indeed!  She does deserve a slap in the face!

In dramatic contrast, this ad for AT&T cellular service portrays nature as the source of grace and beauty.  Cell phones bloom out of flowers and are carried on the wind by dandelion fluff:

The two examples together show us that the nature of nature is socially constructed; humans portray it in multiple ways, using it as a resource to tell stories about ourselves… and cell phones.

Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.