“Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman,” sang Tammy Wynette, the woman who won the prize for Having A Name Which Sounds Most Like A Sanitary Product® in ’82 and ’84.
(Last years winner was Flo Rida, pictured at the award ceremony below)
I’m off point. So Tammy thinks it’s hard to be a woman does she? She’s not fucking wrong. But what she failed to mention is that sometimes it’s hard to be anything. Sometimes it’s hard to be a badger. Sometimes it’s hard to be an atom. Because the key word there is sometimes. It’s so vague it’s almost ethereal. Like a mist. Like an insubstantial ghost. Like a fart trapped in a trouser leg. Sometimes.
I’m not a fan of advertising, and not just because Bill Hicks tells me it’s alright to hate ‘em. I’m not a fan because the snooker playing Hoffmeister Bear from the eighties used to freak me out to such a degree that I’d have to blow into a brown paper bag for the duration of the ad breaks. Thanks a lot, advertising. One thing I’ve noticed though, is their use of very vague, non-specific words which appear to tell you something scientifically proven which has been discovered in tests and polls which might offer you answers but in actual fact reveals very little that is tangible. Much like that last sentence.
Take any advert for any beauty product ever. BUY THIS, WOMEN!! YOU AREN’T YET GOOD ENOUGH!! BE YOUNGER!! SORT OUT YOUR HAIR!!! YOU CALL THAT A COMPLEXION? YOU LOOK LIKE GANDALF’S CROTCH!!! YOU’RE SHIT!!! WOMEN!!!!
It’s hocus pocus snake oil salesmen nonsense, and the advertising industry is stinking rich because of it. Of course it is. I buy crap all the time. I buy things I’m lulled into thinking I need because somebody is an eel-like contortionist when it comes to language and YES I’LL TAKE TEN OF THEM. I used to buy anything which was ‘scientifically proven’ because it’s SCIENCE, and SCIENCE is never wrong, right kids? And Proven is such a solid, grounded word. Essentially what ‘scientifically proven’ reads like – at least to a lab rat like me is – ‘This Really, Really Works And Science Has Proved It’ when in fact it may as well be endorsed by Beaker from the Muppets. It means nothing.
Those brand taglines? Mean nothing. ‘I’m Loving It?’ Nothing. ‘Just Do It’. Nothing. ‘Washing machines live longer with Calgon’. Uh-huh. Nothing. It’s sick how much we buy into this – so much so that an entire industry thrives on it and prominent advertising spaces sell for mega bucks. A thirty second advert in the first half of the Superbowl costs nearly Four Million Dollars. If any eccentric millionaires are reading this and want to film themselves doing something absolutely FILTHY for the fill thirty seconds in unflinching eye watering detail with über surround sound then please, please, please…
…Just Do It.