An ad man’s dream

As I walk around the city I tend to absorb advertising- on the metro, at bus-stops, on the sides of buildings, soaking in the images and slogans as if by a process of osmosis. Some of it slips down easily : ‘Sol embotellado de Andalucia’ -(Andalucian sunshine in a bottle). Some of it grates: for example, the constant airbrushed images of 14 year olds’ backsides in chemists’ windows advertising anti-cellulite treatments. It’s always the same camera angle: right up the gusset, as if the photographer is crouching on the floor and she is stepping over him- all the better to showcase the roundness, highness, pertness and sheer impossible flawlessness of her cellulite-free buttocks and thighs. Normally her knickers are wedged uncomfortably between her cheeks as well, hoiked right up the crack, just the way we girls like to wear ’em.

Then there is a series of metro ads that stun me with their lack of oomph. I mean, how difficult can it be, after all, to advertise a new shopping centre? Surely they can do better than this:

‘Look like a shop dummy only not made of plastic.’

or this:

‘I follow fashions. Especially when the fashion is to buy everything in sight.’ which makes you sound like a total fuckwit sheep, which on reflection, is what capitalism would love you to be.

There was the recent grammatically incorrect slogan advertising bilingual schools in the region (oh, the sweet irony) that had English teachers spitting feathers all over the city.

‘Yes, we want.’ which is a literal translation of the Spanish ‘Si, queremos,’ whereas in proper English the verb ‘to want’ is transitive, i.e needs an object or a verb.’Yes, we want… what? (object) or yes, we want….. to what? (verb). But not just ‘Yes, we want.’ Several million euros were thrown into smug advertising lunches to offer us that particular gem.

But there’s probably nothing more inappropriate than the 2 most recent slogans in the nationwide government campaign to halt domestic violence. Good intentions, yes, crappy, ill-thought-out campaign though. One of them featured celebrity endorsements, footballers, pop stars and so on, with the slogan

‘Don’t hit her, look after her.’ as if there are only 2 options, suggesting men only fall into the category of abuser or paternal protector, and women can only be victims or vulnerable dependents. How about ‘Don’t hit us. Oh, and by the way, we can look after ourselves’. For example. How about that new-fangled concept that we are all… er…. equal?

But the latest slogan takes the biscuit. The logo is a raised hand presenting a card, in red and black colours with a kind of trippy/70’s Queen video freeze-frame of the card being raised, to imply motion or action replay. The slogan encourages you to,

‘Saca tarjeta roja al maltratador’ (Show abusers the red card) – implying that wife-beating is a national sport. Or a game.

Well done whoever came up with that beauty. Go and treat yourself to a nice long lunch.


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