The world of advertising is slick and misleading anyway, but there are a few products and services whose ad campaigns really creep me out.
Abercrombie and Fitch: This one’s a no-brainer. The company’s been cited in the past for their inappropriate picture advertisements, almost all of which border on child porn. And they’re not just selling clothes to “aspirational men and women” (quoting the abercrombie.com site here)—they’re selling to children (see abercrombiekids.com). What are they selling? Clothes? Then why, on either site, are the clothes barely visible or entirely missing? Does that make sense? This is the image being impressed upon our kids: a precocious, seductive sexiness that is entirely inappropriate for the age being targeted. Frankly, it’s inappropriate for any public campaign. This company makes a lot of others who used to be questionable suddenly look tasteful.
Every prescription drug company that has ever advertised on TV or in a full-page magazine ad: I’ve already hit on this topic on an earlier post, so I won’t flog the dead horse here. Just remember how much money these companies make the next time your doctor starts touting the benefits of the newest version of something to save your life. How interested is this drug company in your health? Are they perhaps more interested in your pocketbook, or (gold mine!) your insurance company?
Botox injections: How many of you have witnessed this same toothy dame on television, repeatedly flashing pearly whites at the camera while “Express Yourself” plays in the background? Did anyone else notice her fruitless attempts to wrinkle her brow? Does any other viewer feel slightly ill when viewing her ageless but plastic face? What are we encouraging here?
Aestique Medical Centers, a local plastic surgery company: Okay, this is a more local ad blast. But I see the billboard on my way home all the time and it just irks me beyond belief. A woman— obviously no longer dewy, but redone, redistributed, and stretched in such a way so as to disguise this—is dancing with what appears to be a much older gent in a rather lurid fashion. And the caption? “Waste it again.” Youth, of course. Nice message.
Bebe: I don’t know much about this company, which appears to sell revealing women’s clothing, but the impression I’ve received from their splashy ads in bus kiosks is “Tramps R Us.”
I could go on and on. I won’t. Perhaps you have a few that stick in your craw? Do tell.