Shysters in Skirts, Social Issues, Razor Blades…

One of my sons wanted to enter an advertising industry contest.

He asked me what I thought would be the best product he could choose to show off his creative abilities.

I advised him to go Public Service Announcement.

The point about PSAs is that the normal rules of what is acceptable by way of taste, facts, relevance etc. are suspended because it’s “in a good cause”.

Recent examples include the road safety campaign with young women crooking their little fingers to indicate that young men who drive their cars faster than the posted limit have small penises.

Of course there is nothing to support this assertion and if it were done in the name of selling a consumer item it would be considered gratuitously crass.

Same thing with the anti-litter “don’t be a tosser” campaign.

Because these are noble aims apparently any methods used to achieve those aims are above criticism.

Anyway, my son took my advice and it worked very well for him.

When it comes to razor blades, there’s not really a lot you can say about them.

They’re pretty much in the same category as AA batteries, or car tyres or socks or any one of a number of things which consumers might find necessary but unexciting.

So… how to draw attention to what is a fairly mundane piece of gear?

Well, what about we parasite along on the back of a cause du jour?

Let’s hop on the aren’t men just awful bandwagon to draw attention to our razor blades.

If I were a woman who is concerned about addressing a serious social issue, I would rather it were treated well – seriously – instead of being exploited to sell stuff.

Just because the shyster wears a skirt it doesn’t mean she’s on your side ladies.

It used to be that if an ad produced negative discussion, the boys and girls in the agency would tell the client “It’s value added, mate”.

No doubt some contemporary version of this assurance is doing the rounds of Procter and Gamble to soothe any uneasiness.

In the meantime the usual coven have praised the company and (wrongly) assumed this approach is a winner.

For example, Clementine Ford wrote “If the purpose of advertising is to get people to talk about your product, Gillette have really nailed it with their latest campaign for men’s razors.”

Actually Clementine, the purpose of advertising is to get people to buy your product.

I remember Jeanne Little telling me a while back about how test audiences who’d viewed a commercial she’d done for dog food remembered everything about her but nothing about the product.

The upshot of that was the commercial never went to air, but Jeanne got paid anyway, so she was happy.

Personally, I’ll continue to choose razor blades on price and quality.

Same with my socks, AA batteries and car tyres – and I really don’t care what social or political positions the vendor holds.

In fact, if Clementine Ford goes in to the tyre business and it so happens she sells the kind I want I’ll be happy to buy from her.

Of course I wouldn’t want her to overdo the nut tightening when she puts the wheels back on.

…although a greater risk with Clemmie, given that she wants to kill all men, might be she’d leave them off altogether.



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