Archives For advertising

sex and sensuality

November 14, 2008 — Leave a comment

this was something i wrote 5 years ago, it still holds so true.

sex has become a commodity and seems to be daily losing it`s value.

sex is being used to sell everything, slowly we`re becoming more and more inured. what were once alternative lifestyles have become mainstream. i have no issues with this. i live for the day when my gay/bi/whatever friends can walk the streets without fear of repercussions.

what i resent is them becoming a tool for marketing and advertising companies. i resent being branded or compartmentalised.

let`s take the whole `metrosexual` thing, i`m a man confident in my own sexuality, that takes care of my body, am able to cook a meal of more than one course and i have a sense of style and some hack sat down in a room and thought how can i capture this market. aha, let`s brand them, put them in a nice little niche. i don`t think so.

i am me. i don`t need someone to tell me who i am and what`s sexy. and sadly for that very same reason there is very little that is truly sexy or maybe i`m just too cynical.

i enjoy sensuality, particularly for the reason that it plays on all your senses. the feel of fruit in your hands, the taste of a good meal, the smell of the sea. it`s not  just about breasts and asses and cocks and cunts.

sensuality begins in the mind.

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like a rock

April 11, 2008 — Leave a comment

i used to listen to the ipod on the way to work in the morning but i need to keep track of the traffic so i’ve taken to listening to the radio. this has subjected me to all manner of commercials but the ones that got me thinking are the jewellery stores. and that got me thinking about diamonds.

call me cheap, but i find the thought of paying the equivalent of three months’ salary on a rock more than a little ridiculous. actually the whole concept is kind of ridiculous, especially when you consider that most couples that get caught up in the hype are just starting off their lives together and of all the things they could spend that amount of money on is an over-inflated rock. pause for a moment and ponder on this –  40% of the world’s diamond production is controlled by de beers and approximately 50% of all rough diamonds in the world are processed though dtc ( a de beers subsidiary). so either through production or distribution de beers controls most of the diamonds that make to the retail environment, no matter who you’re buying from.

let’s take a brief look at the history of de beers. the company was founded in 1888 by cecil rhodes and if there was ever a man that turned a profit on the backs of others it was cecil john rhodes. he was an ardent believer in colonialism and before the ayran nation was but a glint in adolf’s eyes purported the superiority of the anglo-saxon race. he made his fortune by controlling south africa’s natural resources through his implementation of african forced labor. currently de beers owns 70% of the diamond mines in africa either outright or with partnerships with various african governments.

a few years ago i was in an airport reading a copy of wired about a company that manufactured synthetic diamonds and how freaked out the industry was by it. the basic premise is that a company in florida can produce what looks like a $10 – $15k yellow diamond for a few hundred dollars that’s good enough to pass muster with a diamond dealer in antwerp. the very concept has the diamond industry in a tizzy, so much so that the dtc has developed a special screen machine. interestingly there is a company called lifegem, that creates high quality diamonds from the carbon of your loved ones. now there’s a thought, when you that family heirloom on her finger it could actually be family. i find that concept a lot less distasteful.

remember items only have value based on demand and availability.

part of the demo

July 21, 2005 — Leave a comment

i have a birthday coming up in about a month, give or take a couple of days and i realised that this is going to put me in the closing end of the `youth` demographic. not that i hold much store in these things but it get me thinking.

vic and i have done our part for the population explosion, me more so that her. we don`t have any pets and every week debate whether after we clear up our debt if we want to buy a house or continue renting.

the boychick is more than likely to go to college in about eight years, that would put us in our early 40s and want to travel. so the constant dilemma is, do we buy a house and where, or do we just squirrel the money away we would have spent on a house for us to travel when and where we feel like.

we like nashvegas, but housing prices here are skyrocketing and unless we get in on the cusp of `the next big thing` neighbourhood, i don`t think we can afford to live here. that begs the question, where do we move too and when do we move and can we get our house rented when we`re ready to travel? how will we pay our mortgage? do the questions never end?

are we slackers? i mean, we don`t own a home and don`t seem desirous of doing so, we`re struggling valiantly to be a one car household and the only vestige of being part of the demographic is the debt which we`re not actually increasing but not necessarily eliminating completely at the moment. should we have more ambition? vic is following her life`s dream and i`m supporting her and i`m content, do we need to be more ambitious?

is their publicity.

i was having a conversation this weekend with a judge and he asked me what i did and i flippantly replied that i packaged lies for a living and he replied that it was better than being a lawyer. even lawyers are believing their own bad press.

the only reason that advertising is ahead of the legal profession in terms of respectability is that part of advertising is PR, basically they market the industry better.

advertising is about manipulation, nothing is real.

at my first ad agency job in Trinidad we had one of those multinational fast food chains and a photo shoot of the product would take about half a day. and involved product from at least three different outlets, fake fries, fake ice, Styrofoam and toothpicks; basically the fake fries would be surround by a number of hand picked fries, the bottom of the fry packet, would have a block of Styrofoam with toothpicks upon which the real fries were mounted — bigger looking and fuller bags of fries. after the shoot there would be at least another quarter of a day working on the photos taking out blemishes and making stuff look better. same for models.

i`m not a lawyer, i have no idea what goes on in law offices everyday, but i do know advertising, been doing it for 13 years and i`m good at it, but i also don`t believe the hype. i was cynical enough to believe that i was doing the world a favour. i believe George Orwell said it best: \”Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.\”

get by

May 3, 2005 — Leave a comment

when i started in the advertising business, i had the fortune and misfortune to work at a firm that had my last name in the title. people assumed i was related to one of the principals and expected me to coast on my name. that was so far from the truth it`s scary. when i started working i had my mother`s work ethos stuck in my head; give the job 150% because there is someone else that can do your job just as well.

i learned the hard way when you give 150% all employers do is take advantage of you so i revised my work ethos; find a job that you like, do it well and when it ceases to be fun, it`s time to move on. it seems a little fickle, but life is too short. as long as you`re working for someone you`re prostituting yourself; i hold no illusions about that; it`s about how badly you want to be screwed for what you`re getting paid. i enjoy what i do, i work hard, but i`d rather not have sodomy with a barbed wire and sandpaper condom as part of the daily ritual.

so here i am 13 years later, older and somewhat wiser. and these are this i`ve learned; i have realised that even with all that experience; that`s also apparently scaring people off; without a degree people don`t seem willing to give you a second glance or if they do, not pay you anywhere near market value. experience outside the US; where the quality of work, in my humble opinion, is higher; also doesn`t count for squat.

i`m bitter and upset about how things are going with my job. it will pass and if it doesn`t i`ll have to suck it up and do my job because that`s the kind of person i am anyway. at the end of the day, the work i produce is an extension of me and i`d at least like it to be positive.

i am cynic because of the career choice, or did i choose my career because i`m a cynic? either way i`ve been trying to choke back the bile that has been rising since i saw the Anheuser-Busch commercial on Sunday. i have nothing against the soldiers that are serving in Iraq.

what i do have a problem with is a company so morally bankrupt they would commission and run and ad `thanking` them. that ad wasn`t about thanking the soldiers, if you really wanted to thank them you`d take the money spent on producing and running that ad and send it to the people on the front lines in lieu of the missing combat pay. if you really wanted to thank them you`d use your lobbyist to pressure congress into bringing them home now or making sure they`re properly equipped and paid and have benefits when they return home.

and for the millions of people that thought that was the best ad of the Superbowl; that`s your fucking guilt talking. you`re guilty because you believed the lie in the first place and you`re guilty because you didn`t have the guts to say it was wrong and try to put a stop to it and you`re fucking guilty because when they come home like the vets of the last two wars and they`re sick, you don`t want to see them or have to foot the bill for their care.

spare me the fucking greed and guilt. the ad was a trite, nasty attempt by a company and nation to feel better about the morass of ineptitude, underhandedness and moral bankruptcy that the war in Iraq and this administration are prime examples of.

when i grow up

October 27, 2004 — Leave a comment

a little old, but oh still so true.

old school paste up

August 25, 2004

sometimes the random titles are not so random. i worked late for the first time today at my job. that has to be a record of some sort, almost two months before i stayed pass the allotted hour.

it wasn`t completely unwarranted, i took some time during the day today to go to an appointment [more on that at a later juncture] and i stay in to make up the hours which was fortuitous cause i needed to finish up as much of the job i`m working on to send it the client to peruse. i can`t say for approval because so much info is still missing, i`m not sure how likely we are to make our deadline but the immortal words of men in the trenches everywhere “mine is not reason why, mine is just to do or die”.

i also had my first fun paste up experience this evening. i loathe paste up, i can do it, because when i started in this business that was the way; but i hate the spray adhesive on my fingers, the trimming, the foolish mistakes i tend to make when i`m doing it, forcing me to do it over but in an office this small, you do your own paste up. i managed to avoid the spray adhesive and staple it together, but i think when all is said and done next week i`m going to have to do it anyway to send a dummy to the printer.

i work in advertising, i have for over 12 years now, that means i have been privy to some of the most stupid ideas in the history of creation. 

if you think you`ve heard idiotic utterances you haven`t heard anything until you`ve sat in a creative briefing session. i think there is a special sort of vacuum created in these meetings by the combined efforts of the spreading of copious amounts of bullshit and the simultaneous effort of trying not to swallow any of anyone else bullshit. 

at any give time in one of these meetings there at least three simultaneous levels of bullshit going on, there is the BS that is fed to the general public; which the crux of advertising and marketing; there is BS that ad agency, pr firm whatever feeds to the client; they know what they`re doing, they have a clue and they`re really thrilled to be doing this and finally there is the creative bullshit which is the copy writer, graphic designer or whatever creative representative who know we`re going to get screwed on the short deadline and our design and copy is going to get fucked with, but we still put on the shiny happy face because we want to pretend; at least for a moment; that we enjoy our job; when in fact what we do enjoy is the regular paycheque and not starving to death. 

every once in a while the creative team exacts it`s revenge and this generally falls into the `what were they thinking` category. for a brief, shining moment, the facetiousness or flippancy of a comment is lost and everyone higher up on the food chain buys it, wholesale. this is not a reflection on my current job, this is just an observation made over the years and the relevance of which will present itself now. 

this morning i was assailed for an ad for the Ben-Gay patch. the first thought that popped into my mind was, people have Ben-Gay addictions? i got the sense that the creative team had been stumped at every turn, or at least i`d really like to hope so, but that holds no candle to the following gem 

i have been privy to what i hope was an advertising in joke that somehow managed to slip past everyone and escape unfettered into the wilds of the consuming public; i was at vic`s nephew`s graduation when the valedictorian mentioned the name of the high school anti-drug programme; drug enforcement and teen health.

i deliberately typed without the initial caps to let it sink in for a moment, now with the caps; Drug Enforcement And Teen Health. that`s right the anti-drug programme is called DEATH. i know you want to discourage them from drugs but that might be a little excessive. plus how do you send your children off to DEATH camp for a weekend without a second thought?

i`ve been listening to the radio and looking through the newspapers, actually i`m just familiarising myself with my industry, so when i do get a job, i have some idea how things are done to some extent.

every country i`ve worked in, has different rules about advertising. in trinidad you can`t name your competitor directly and that work because the whole industry is a good old boys club and clients aren`t necessarily gleaned through skill but who you know and play golf with on a weekend.

the first time i heard an agency say `no` to a client i was in florida at a meeting. this was our biggest client and my boss told the client no, my jaw was on the ground. never in my entire career, that`s when i realised that i was in a whole new playing field.

but that`s not the point of this post.

do you ever notice that you start writing something and one of the ancillary thoughts just decides it wants to take over the whole and you`re heading down a whole different path?

that`s the not the point either, just a thought?

the point finally…

i`ve noticed, everything has fine print and disclaimers. from some conditions apply to may cause internal haemorrhaging. i know advertising is pretty much the business of selling lies but this getting ridiculous.

all these disclaimers and fine print mean that it`s no longer about blurring the lines or bending the truth, we`re misleading people outright and only because these are such litigious times, that the truth has to be mention in some small way.

next time one of these ads for prescription drugs that airs on tv all the time comes on, ignore the happy go lucky people depicted in the ads, and listen to the disclaimers and read the fine print at the bottom of the screen, it`s down right frightening.

let`s take enzyte, the natural pill for male enhancement, here`s one:

\”Individuals shown are paid models, and not necessarily Enzyte customers.\”

and if that isn`t enough:

\”These statements have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration, and individual results may vary. Enzyte should be taken as part of a healthy lifestyle and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.\”

but this is the nail in the coffin, from the enzyte website:

\”Enzyte may help create firmer, fuller-feeling erections, but it cannot alter natural physical size.\”

doesn`t this negate the whole advertising campaign? no wonder they`re giving it away.

i could go on, but what is the point. pretty soon, i`ll be joining the masses telling you to buy this, wear that, use the other, else you wont be as cool, productive, smart as everyone else.

remember the snaffleburger corporation says: CONSUME! CONFORM! OBEY!