Jun 28, 2011
Readers, many volumes have been written about advertising and its role as lubricant in our (rapidly rusting) consumer culture. But after reading the many excellent comments to yesterday's post about models, I wanted to talk more about it.
Reader Some Girl made a great point, that the message behind much of today's fashion advertising is "People who are this perfect wear our brand" as opposed to, by wearing such-and-such a brand (or label) you will look more whatever -- beautiful, alluring, sophisticated, etc.
I mean, how sophisticated can anybody look in their underwear?
The celebrity ad seems to operate in both realms. We want to buy Lux soap flakes (up top) because Jane Wyman uses them, and because by using them we'll end up looking more like Jane Wyman. (Wait -- am I the only one who still wants to look more like Jane Wyman?)
Consider this contemporary Louis Vuitton ad campaign, which I'm guessing most of you are familiar with.
That's Mikhail Gorbachev, the last head of state of the former USSR, and -- ahem -- not exactly a fashion plate. Why on earth would anyone care what kind of luggage he uses? Well, apparently whoever designed the ad campaign believes someone in their target market does care.
Here's another in the series. Obviously, women without shoes are serious women, who have more important things to worry about. Which is not to take anything away from Angelina Jolie -- a UN Goodwill Ambassador after all -- and what should she be carrying, a recycled burlap tote?
In the highly competitive luxury goods market, who knows what works and what won't? When I was growing up, this Blackglama mink ad campaign was in full swing and I loved following them to see which old-time star would show up next.
I wonder how many coats Joan Crawford really moved...but I digress.
Readers, are you seduced by celebrities in ads? Are you able to see beyond the movie star and focus on what is being advertised?
On a somewhat related note, do ads featuring scantily clad, dissipated teenagers make you want to head off to the mall to buy jeans, gulp down a few Excedrin -- or both?
As in so many areas of life today, we seem to be throwing everything at the wall in hope that something will stick. Nobody seems to know what works.
I had a sort of epiphany yesterday while tut-tutting over that Banana Republic "Inspired by Mad Men" photo: It doesn't matter what I think. Those clothes are not supposed to work for me.
Their target market is likely decades younger, someone with no living memory of the styles, to whom this stuff looks fresh and edgy, not stale and derivative.
As so many have mentioned, the Sixties revisited the Twenties, the Seventies the Forties, and so on. A lot of those styles were lifted piecemeal, without much reinterpretation. Remember these record albums?
So what's wrong with a little early Sixties in the -- what are we in again, the teens?
Friends, I could talk about advertising all day, but I really must get a move on.
If you were advertising something like, say, Louis Vuitton luggage how would you sell it?
Is associating a bag with a former head of state a cynical ploy, a brilliant strategy, or both?
Why do we still fall for this stuff? (Note to self: shower, change underwear, smile.)