Truth in advertising lesson # 1: That woman who looks like she is having an orgasm while eating a chip ........... is faking.
Truth in advertising lesson #2: that razor cannot fly. It cannot give you an ‘ab six pack’. That woman gazing "lustfully" at the men shaving in the locker room would in actuality very pissed that they are getting their stubble bits all over her clean counter top and think their self-admiring stares in the mirror look vapid and slightly constipated ...........
Truth in advertising lesson #3: That is a piece of crap. Truly crap like. The only thing that could be more crappy than it, would be actual crap. You don't need it. What though? What is crap, you ask? ....................... if you need to ask how to distinguish shit from shinola ......... then you don't know crap.
Truth in advertising lesson #4: Your hair is actually NOT on fire. There is an advertising saying that goes "like selling glasses of water to someone who's hair is on fire." It implies and very successful ad campaign which creates easy sales, it also begs the question "whose hair is ever really on fire?" Answer: no ones. No ones hair is actually on fire. You don't need it. Creating a sense of need and then selling you the fulfillment is the ultimate goal of people who want to make money off YOUR money ............. because it's like printing money and we're not smart enough to see it.
Truth in advertising lesson #5: The world will never, ever, never ever, run out of people who are willing to make themselves look stupid on TV for money. That woman CAN actually cut a tomato, that man would actually NEVER leave his home with black spray paint crusted into his bald spot, and NONE of those people are that amazed by common household appliances ........ if they were they would have to be institutionalized and wear helmets.
Truth in advertising lesson #6 (although a strong case could be made for it being part b of lesson #5): Sometimes they really miss the mark and we get to see how dumb they really think we are. Now, as much as I enjoy a little face time with Brad Pitt (all softly lit and black and white no less) his 34 second spot for Chanel # 5 is a case in point. In mean, WTF? That was just horrible …… who wrote that? Was he sober? Do they really think anyone will buy their perfume after that? Puh-Leaze. I suggest hitting mute. I also suspect that Brad owes someone a blood debt. Why else would he have lowered himself? (See lesson #5) But they actually rolled that piece of crap out to launch Brad as the new face of Chanel, and paid him 7 million dollars to do it …… that’s a lot of perfume they have to sell. The question is, can we be so easily bought? Because if I’m going to pay $128 for a bottle of stinky water that I can’t wear to a school, library, Drs office, or anywhere really ….. they better have a better pitch. $128 pitch need to be blue and moldy cheesy, NOT orange and plastic wrapped cheesy. That’s just insulting. Pffft.
Truth in advertising lesson #7 (aka: Beg pardon?)
Full disclosure: I love Lady Gaga. I love her kookiness, and her fierce advocacy for all kids’ rights to BE. To be who they are and be accepted for who they are. Love that. Not sure I always love her artistic vision but I’m just one opinion and clearly she’s not hurting for positive reviews so vive la difference.
I just opened my new copy of Chatelaine magazine to see Lady Gaga is selling a Perfume, like every other artist she was wooed into making a fragrance, which in the age of fragrance sensitivity always perplexes me. Plus ‘smell just like _______’ is an odd concept for me to grasp especially when so much money is on the line. And money IS on the line. A quick google search tells me that the World Perfume Industry market is worth almost 30 BILLION dollars a year. Beg Pardon? That seems like a lot of coin for a problem that largely doesn’t exist anymore, namely stink. See, perfume was designed to cover up our own horrific stench when the freshness of our annual bath was wearing off. However in an age when most of the 1st world bathes every day I think our hysterical obsession with our own odour can dial down somewhat. Don’t you?
But I digress.
Much of the value of perfume is imaginary, meaning a bottle that costs $2 to fill can be sold for $150 depending on how well you market it. And no marketing is better than the right celebrity endorsement …….. especially if they claim to have designed it. I am picturing Paris Hilton, Lady Gaga, and David Beckham sweating over beakers and pipetting wildly in lab coats ….. yeah I’m not buying it either. But someone is. Remember 30 BILLION DOLLARS.
Beyond celebrity there is the art. Fragrance is the last bastion of Advertising Art. Every perfume campaign launches with some sort of god complex, like every perfume ad is the commercial equivalent of Fellini. It’s exhausting the one nerve I have left for “high art.” And sometimes it just goes too far. Not too racy (though it often is), or too misogynistic (which very often is), but just too seriously full of itself to possibly be real. Yet real it is.
So back to Lady Gaga and her ad for “Fame.” Supposedly inspired by Gulliver’s Travels, it is the heeled Lady Gaga (not sure if it’s actually her) washed up naked but masked with pristine hair and the entire Lilliputian Greco Roman Wrestling team have discovered her on the way to the naked masked ball, and she is REALLY into it. …… Yeah go look again, the link is at the top.
So here’s my point. The era for drug inspired art is over. It is no longer cool and shouldn’t be revived. It sends the wrong message. I know that sitting around smoking Opium gave us “Alice and Wonderland” and dropping acid gave us “Yellow Submarine” but today is a new day and the only conceivable way that could have seemed like a good marketing idea is if drugs were involved. Not cool. Either that, or they think you’ll just buy ANYTHING. But it’s your money and they owe you more than “it’s Art and you’re not supposed to get it.” I’m tired of that.
Truth in advertising #8: "New look" or even just "New" are placed on everything to create sales. It means NOTHING. It is adver-speak for "we changed the bottle/package ...... and it is now smaller ........ PLUS we are charging you more for it ...... now bend over it will only hurt for a minute." The fact that it is widely considered the most powerful advertising statement of all is a testament to how really stupid we have all become.