Swedish Girl In London

London Life: Bright Lights, Big City. Now what's on TV?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Hard Sell

Given that this is the season of unbridled consumerism, my thoughts have been turning to advertising, that glossy aromatherapy oil of the whole retail machinery. It must be those marketing campaign projects I did at Uni that are coming back to haunt me… I remember wild-eyed, caffeine-fuelled brainstorming sessions at three in the morning, which always seemed to end with someone saying: “Let’s just go to bed”, and everybody else echoing: “Because we’re worth it!”

One project involved me getting kitted out in safari gear and pretending to shave my legs in the desert, but let’s not dwell too much on that. It’s definitely not worth it.

My favourite commercial at the moment, just for the sake that it makes absolutely no sense at all is Baz Luhrmans clip for Chanel No 5, starring Nicole Kidman as an international film star (method acting required). The dialogue is totally bonkers, like the director is a sub-talented five-year old hammering at pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that quite obviously don't fit.

The camera swoops in on Nicole exiting a limousine, while a man’s stubble-rash voice whispers: “I was the only one who didn’t know who she was…” Damn unprofessional, too, considering that he turns out to be a paparazzi taking snaps of her. However, he is determined to solve this mystery and the next line is: “Who are you?”, when the real question should be: “Why have we suddenly been beamed away to a rooftop?”

Now, Nicole should have retorted: “I’m an international movie star who smells good, you useless pap”, but just rips off her dress in reply and bellows: “I love to dance!”

Eh? She is clearly off her trolley, but instead of gently escorting her to a padded room, the pap clutches her to his chest in a dramatic tango-pose. And then it’s back to the limo, with the stubble-voice whispering something about her perfume.

Gobbledegook, all of it.

Another favourite is the ad using Babybird’s old hit “You are Gorgeous” to soundtrack pictures of soaring toddlers. I’m not sure why the ad agency thought a song about sexual degradation in a car park would be a good tune for a nappy ad, but let’s not even go there.


At 6:31 PM, Blogger Zen Wizard said...

American ads always have the babys talking in adult voices, preferably with a "funny" voice like a New Jersey accent. And not just for baby stuff, but for stuff like submarine sandwiches.

I didn't even think this was funny 10 years ago, when "Baby Boom" came out, but THEY certainly think it is.

Or, at the very least, that a talking baby will SELL STUFF.

If it's a pet supply ad, of course, substitute talking dog or cat for the baby.

For some reason, a "role reversal"--i.e., an ADULT either barking or pooping her diapers is not funny and does not sell stuff--even Tourette's Syndrome therapy or nursing homes, which you would think it would, in the respective cases.

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Irene Done said...

Maybe fragrance commercials are to advertising what the groomed standard poodle is to dog shows -- flashy, over-the-top and completely impractical. That's the only explanation I can offer.

At 1:36 PM, Blogger Mel said...

That Chanel commercial baffled me as well. Do you remember the one with Vanessa Paradis in the early 90's where she was on the swing in a birdcage? Their commercials run like some kind of bad dream or acid trip. I guess they get people talking...hope so, b/c they probably cost a fortune to make and run.


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