Here’s an advertising trend that comes up every now and then: putting glamorous apparel on models made to look sad/greasy/hostile. I’m stumped by this. Why would it help sell an outfit to show that outfit on a person who looks miserable? There must be a method to this madness, or so many designers wouldn’t be doing it. But what? What’s the thinking?
To get my head around the idea, I tried to envision how each of these ads came to be, by imagining a conversation among these characters:
Ad Exec: Mike
Models: Zelda, Daphne, Marcia, Lisette, Brenda, Chloe and Babs
(* None of these are the real people’s names, obviously. They’re just people I’m making up in my head.)
* * *
Mike: So Zelda, what we’re going for here is warmth of coat, coldness of heart, OK?
Steve: That’s right. Zelda, give us a look that says, “I fucking hate this navy scarf and my ex-husband who gave it to me.”
Zelda: Got it. Can you guys get the lighting a little more harsh? Let’s see if we can create the effect of bags under my eyes, symbolizing the baggage we all carry through life.
Mike: Zelda, you are a genius.
* * *
Steve: Mike, I don’t feel like this is going to work. The client wants “anemic, angry, and disheveled,” but Daphne here is just too damned attractive and perky.
Mike: You’re right, Steve. Here, let’s comb some salad dressing through her hair.
Daphne: What the SHIT, you guys?
Steve: YES. Get MAD, Daphne. THAT’S the look we want!
* * *
Mike: Zip it, Marcia. We have a strategy here.
Marcia: Zip it? There’s no zipper.
Steve: He means “zip it” like shut up.
Marcia: You guys are mean.
Mike: Get in the pool, Marcia.
Mike: GET IN THE POOL, MARCIA.
* * *
Mike: So, Steve, what the company wants here is to reach the audience of women who bite their nails, cut their own hair with yard shears, and perform home perms on themselves.
Steve: Because those are the women most likely to wear red pantsuits?
Steve: Lisette, can you cover up all that exquisite bone structure with your bangs, maybe put your hands up in front of your face, too?
Lisette: I think so. How’s this?
Steve: Slap my grandmother, that’s perfect.
* * *
Steve: Mike, I can’t work with Brenda. She’s too human.
Brenda: I don’t have to be human. I could be an inanimate object.
Mike: A day late and a dollar short, Brenda. Get out.
Brenda: Fuck you guys. [leaves the room]
Mike: Well, Steve – what are we going to do now?
Steve: I’m going to bring in this freaky life-size marionette instead. See?
Mike: I love it! This works out great, Steve, because as you know, this brand is really looking to target women who identify with giant-faced, creepy-eyed, disjointed wooden puppets.
* * *
Steve: Wow, Chloe and Babs, you two are beautiful.
Chloe: Yeah, we get that a lot.
Babs: Honestly, it’s kind of a curse.
Steve: Well, let’s see what we can do about that. Both of you, close your eyes, take these scissors, and cut your hair. Make sure you leave about 5 inches in the back. Great. Now, rub this Vaseline on your heads. Perfect. OK, Chloe, give me a look that says, “My dad ran over my puppy.”
Chloe: Like this?
Steve: Perfect. Now, Babs, I want you to give me your best open-mouthed, double-chinned, borderline mentally disturbed look.
Babs: Like this?
Steve: No, more.
Babs: Lahk dis?
Mike: We’re all going to be billionaires, people. This is cash money on the table, right here.
So remember this fashion lesson, folks: You’re never fully dressed without a simmering glower.
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In other news…
I recently found out that The Random Penguins will be among the work of 30 artists (or, as the case may be, 29 artists plus me, an imposter who makes crude penguin drawings) featured in a special holiday collection at Saks Fifth Avenue in Atlanta, thanks to an organization called Spotlight on Art. This will probably mean a few new packages of stationery/notecards in the works. I’ll keep you posted. Yay!
I’m crazy-grateful for the support, friends. Thank you very much.
Thank you so much to BlogHer for selecting this post in naming me a Voice of the Year for humor for the second year in a row. Wow! I really appreciate it.
And big thanks to WordPress.com for featuring this post on Freshly Pressed!