St. Pauli Girl and I were actually watching tv the other night when a rather bothersome commercial came on. I believe it was for some sort of shaving product, but it’s hard to tell by the visuals. It showed a guy getting hit by a bamboo stick before it turns into a splash of water, a woman throwing her top at a guy before it turns into a splash of water, followed by another guy getting hit in the face by a hockey puck which turns into a splash of water.
It got me thinking about how the development meeting for this commercial must have gone:
New Ad Guy: So we show an animated close-up of the blades slicing off individual whiskers. That’s followed by a clean shaven, shirtless guy, getting his face licked by the family dog. Then maybe a voiceover of the dog thinking out loud, “I wish my face was this smooth.”
Shaving Company Exec: (after a long silence) It’s different. Not sure I’m ready to run out and buy the product.
Old Ad Guy: Check it out. Girl rips off her top, throws it at the guy’s clean shaven face, but as it hits his face, it turns into a blast of water. Message: if you use this product, women will get naked for you.
Shaving Company Exec: Bingo! That’s exactly what our product does. Now if the commercial’s on cable, we can show nudity right?
Old Ad Guy: Great idea! We’ll do two versions, one will be rated R and the other PG-13.
New Ad Guy: Actually, I don’t think you can do that. Besides, we’re getting away from the product a bit.
Shaving Company Exec: Naked women is the product!
New Ad Guy: We’re getting into sexist territory…
Shaving Company Exec: You mean sexy.
Old Ad Guy: Maybe Skippy here is right. We can soften it up a bit. Add some manliness to it. How about some kung fu fighting? A guy gets nailed by a bamboo pole on the back of the head, but it turns into a splash of water as well.
Shaving Company Exec: Yes, violence and sex! Perfect.
Old Ad Guy: And for the grand finale, guy takes a hockey puck to the chops. But no, it’s just a splash of water!
Shaving Company Exec: Yeah, and then maybe the goon from the other team takes a whack with a hockey stick as well.
New Ad Guy: That’s not nearly as bad as the bamboo stick since he’s wearing a goalie mask.
Old Ad Guy: Who says he’s wearing a mask?
New Ad Guy: That’s ludicrous! Who plays hockey goalie without a mask? Are stupid people your target audience?
Old Ad Guy: The violence is beside the point. It’s just going to be way cool when something painful turns into a splash of water.
New Ad Guy: But the commercial is insinuating if you use this product, it has the power to stop blunt instruments and hockey pucks to the face. Let’s take it all the way and show it stopping bullets, knives and steel beams.
Old Ad Guy: That’s just crazy. Plus you’re asking for a lawsuit at that point. I mean SWAT teams will be using the product instead of bulletproof vests.
New Ad Guy: But you don’t think someone will be dumb enough to use the product and then allow himself to be smacked in the face by a 2 by 4?
Shaving Company Exec: What 2 by 4? It’s a bamboo pole. Panda bears eat bamboo. That makes it soft and cute.
Old Ad Guy: Plus we can put some Asians in the commercial.
New Ad Guy: I just don’t think implying that this product makes you indestructible is the right message to send.
Shaving Company Exec: That’s irrelevant. There’s a topless woman!
Old Ad Guy: Remember the ad you did for that 900 telephone number with that blond chick with the smokin’ hot body who says she’s at home on Saturday night waiting for cool guys like you to call?
New Ad Guy: Yeah, she never returned my calls.
Old Ad Guy: Anyway, all ads are just a twist of that message. You buy this product and hot, smokin’ girls/guys are waiting to talk to you or throw their clothes at you.
Shaving Company Exec: Yeah kid, you obviously haven’t been in the business very long. And you look a little scraggly. Here’s a sample of our new shaving kit. I bet that blond girl calls you back after you get a good close, clean shave like a blast of cold water.
New Ad Guy: Wow, thanks! You really think she’ll call me back?
Shaving Company Exec: For $49.99, can you afford not to take the risk?