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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

How sexy advertisers get their Jols

adver_tisingWhere is the First Year Marketing textbook that says 'sex sells'? Because I'd like to get every copy of it, put it on a great big bonfire, and dance around it. Naked. No, not naked, dammit! Fully clothed, in a wholesome way.

Is anyone else sick of lazy advertising wherein a product is marketed by thrusting (pardon the pun) a sexuality onto it that it didn't previously possess?

Take yoghurt, for example. If it's not low fat or organic, it seems advertisers run out of things to say. Clearly "It comes from cows and it tastes like fruit" didn't cut it in the board meeting, so some bright spark said "Let's just picture a woman eating it, and pretend she's having an orgasm."

They obviously just sampled the latest Fruche flavour.

What RIDICULOUS idea is this? Firstly - it's YOGHURT for god's sake. It's not even chocolate. Sorry, but yoghurt just ISN'T sexy. Especially when you pronounce it 'yoggurt'. Shudder.

Secondly - has anyone EVER eaten a yoghurt and made that face that all women make in yoghurt ads? You know the one - closed eyes, hunched shoulders and a dreamy, smiley face. I don't know what they're putting in THEIR goddamn yoghurt (ecstasy?) or who's doing WHAT to them out of shot, but that certainly doesn't happen to me when I eat yoghurt. Unless it's that stuff from that shop in the Central Market, in which case I like to eat it alone, in a darkened room, with Marvin Gaye on the stereo.


It's not just yoghurt that gets the treatment. It's any old crap that advertising agencies clearly can't be bothered thinking up new, RELEVANT campaigns for.
Jols sweets are another one. It's a fucking LOLLY. It's a hard little sugary pellet that tastes vaguely like fruit. You would think such a product would hardly be orgasm-inducing. But there's the advert again, from Chapter One of Obvious Marketing Ploys Vol. 1 - one woman begging another for a Jols because it's "making her look like she's with the most luscious guy on the planet". Excuse me, but WHERE HAS SHE STUCK THIS PELLET AND WHAT IS IT DOING TO HER? Perhaps some Jila-like experimentation is in order.

Another question worth raising is: why is it always women? Why don't we ever see any men moaning and groaning over their Four 'n Twenty or Pale Ale? (As a side note, it's interesting that men are always complaining that women require too much foreplay, take too long, are too much hard work blah blah blah. Clearly they should just give them a Yoplait - women in their adverts are orgasming all over the place on only a teaspoon of Forest Fruits.)

I've seen advertisers pull this kind of crap on almost everything: chewing gum, breath mints, dental floss, toilet paper... Ok, so I made the last two up, but I wouldn't put it past them.

Chocolate, ice cream, Baileys - sure, I can understand the need to involve a bit of slap and tickle in the marketing of those. They're pretty sexy products. Especially if you use them all at the same time in a darkened room with Marvin Gaye on the stereo.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Throw another doll on the Barbie

misc_rantsI have to admit, I have never been a doll fan. I have never owned a Barbie and as a child, the slightest interest shown in owning one was greeted with utter contempt by the rest of my family. I did later have a Cabbage Patch doll, but only because everyone did, and anyway mine had curly orange hair and I called it Leonie so you really couldn’t be more of an abusive parent than that.

I just don’t like dolls. I don’t like the way their plastic, beady, soulless eyes stare out into space from the shelf without the benefit of nice fluffy fur (a la a teddy bear) to make them cute or cuddly. But most importantly, I don’t like what dolls can do to people.

I’m not talking about Chucky style psychopathic supernatural serial killing. I mean the obsession that can grip people who are driven to collect them. For me, doll people are like cat people – both drippy sets of fuckers who won’t leave you alone about their obsession. “This is Socks/Leonie, isn’t she cute how she shits on your car/sits on the shelf and stares blankly into your soul?”

The worst types of doll people are the ones who buy special display cabinets for their collection and shop on the internet for the latest designs. Or, on the TV Shopping Network.

Before I moved out into the bachelorette pad, I lived with my mum who, bless her, had Foxtel. Many a hungover Sunday afternoon was spent watching TVSN, wondering who in the hell would buy an electrical appliance to fry an egg. Honestly, a fucking plug-in egg fryer. I wish people who bought this crap would just stick a fork in their toaster. If it didn’t kill them at least it would be one less electrical appliance for them to worry about.

At any rate, one of the best shows was the Dolls and Collectables Hour, where some drippy bloke would present the latest in the world of beady-eyed soulless plastic freaks at ludicrous prices. Like these:


Is anyone else thinking Donnie Darko here?

"Oliver has the weight and proportions of a real baby so when you pick him up he feels like the real thing - including wrinkles around his ankles, hands and face."

Aww, isn't he sweet? NO, HE'S NOT! It's a baby that will never open his goddamn eyes! Doesn't anyone else find that disturbing? I mean, at least it saves you the strain of having to deal with the beady, soulless thing, but I think maybe this is worse.

You can own Oliver for just $269 (hey, it WAS $469, so quit complaining, it's a fucking bargain).

Harry Handmade:

If your doll needs are more specific, say, a semi-retarded black kid with an invisible friend, then look no further than Harry Handmade.

"Duh, you're my bethst friend, Mr Invithible."

What the hell is this? It's $69.50 worth of confusion and weirdness, that's what it is. Presumably you're supposed to dress Harry in that soccer outfit every now and again, but frankly I don't want to go anywhere near any of it. Moving on.


Before you die, you see the ring...

OH SWEET MOTHER OF JESUS WHAT IS THIS? It's Gunhild, the Limited Edition Vinyl Doll. And it's only $99.50 now, on sale. Gee, I wonder why they haven't been able to sell this one? Could it be those SATANIC EYES LIKE INKY POOLS OF DEATH SUNK INTO HER HEAD?

"Gunhild carries with her a box of present that is wrapped in silver coloured paper." A box of present? That chick better come armed with more than a present if she's coming anywhere near me. Fuuuuck.

Queen Ann Estelle:

Perhaps you were the geeky girl at school. You know, the nerdy one with bad hair and coke-bottle glasses that never got any boy action? Well TVSN has thought about you guys (hell, you probably make up most of their audience, sitting at home alone, your big fat bottoms permanently indenting the couch as the hundreds of eyes from your creepy doll collections watch you stuff another tim tam into your faces...ahem).

Well in the cheapest, most lowbrow attempt to boost your shattered self esteem, comes Queen Ann Estelle, the geeky Queen.

There once was an ugly duckling...

But she's still got a crown, doesn't she? DOESN'T SHE?!

Not geeky enough, you say? Cop this then.

Parasol Party:

Me love you long time, Mister

She doesn’t even have a NAME. She’s just called “Parasol Party”. She’s a whole party, all in one. And doesn’t she just look it.

Reminds me of a cheap Thai strip club where the girls are all just a little bit sub-par with glasses and bad props. Little party girl here would do an act with a parasol while all the fat American tourists watch in confusion screaming "DO THE PING PONG BALL THING, THE PING PONG BALL!"

And finally, I know this is supposed to be strictly about dolls, but I had to step outside the rules to bring you this piece de resistance.

The Brain:

E=mc fuck that's overpriced

Cute isn't he? But there's more than just fluff and sawdust behind this little cutie:

"The Brain was designed by Hermann Green in Germany, to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the publication of Einstein's Theory of Relativity."

Now, you'd think that the demographic of people actually wanting to celebrate this occasion would be fairly exclusive. I'm thinking physicists and nerds and that's about it. But apparently he's one of TVSN's most popular items, and at just $349 I'm not surprised. Actually that's a lie. I'm bewildered.

Nevertheless, I'm sure Albert would be thrilled to know that a lifetime's work was being commemorated by a stuffed bear.

And thank goodness - "Einstein has black safety eyes". That's to protect all the geniuses out there who try to eat his face.