Sunday, September 26, 2010

AXE Twist :: Do Women Get Bored Too Easily To "Get" Your Ads?

Peekaboo! You could be a chauvinist.

AXE is the Dennis Leary of the advertising world when it comes to sensitivity in their portrayal of women.

Making women man-chasers is their staple; I'm just not sure how stupid you can make women in a commercial before someone objects.

AXE has the 'ultra masculine', preteen-trying-to-be-cool-&-mask-the-smell-of-pubescent-odors image down pat. Their branding has a corner of the market where the desired client isn't 'old' (or on a horse) enough to be using Old Spice or just wants to smell relevant. I think they make a good product whose clientele are loyal. Their commercials usually work off of humor where the guy 'wins' a gorgeous girl for using their product; who doesn't want to make their buyers a winner?

AXE's 'Wash Your Balls' infomercial-style commercials were mildly amusing for what was a straight-laced looking parody in my opinion. Some are out for just being able to show all of the sexy women you will get by wearing AXE; we all know it's not true, but product selling is mostly about hypothesizing.

What I'm torn about is whether or not to accept their new Twist campaign on face value as another for-guys commercial or if it's just outright chauvinistic.

Guy are the go-to stupid character in advertising as well as in television. Beer commercials are notorious for jocularity, but it's almost always the kind that makes fun of men so men can laugh at other men not being them.

Beer commercials on the whole will make fun of any possible situation men can get themselves in to, and it's usually good fun for anyone watching. (Case in point, Bud Lime's 'Get It In The Can')

There's a way to do double entendres that I'm not sure AXE has mastered.

I'm no stranger to the fact that the majority of American sitcoms leave the average male character as nothing but a fumbling oaf who is constantly trying to hide his transgressions from his overbearing wife. He's typically over weight with a below-average IQ. I'm almost certain this is true in many a household, but it's a brutal generalization which has made intelligent men in a sitcom an oddity.

How well can women take a joke, is there a "joke" in this ad, and is it alright to portray women as easily amused or distracted when men are constantly portrayed as easily amused or distracted?

There is a thin line in advertising between tongue-in-cheek and offensive.

My initial thoughts on AXE Twist was that it was:
A) Well produced
B) Tongue-in-cheek
C) "That guy has a great pomp. Wonder what they used to keep his hair up..."

It's a very, very thin line between being facetious towards women & actually portraying women as stupid and flighty. It's easy to see that we have made a mockery of the common man in advertising and that it's OK because of centuries of unequal rights towards women.

What I'm struggling with is whether it is ever 'OK' to make "Women get bored easily" your tag line.

It's fine when men are stupid, but how far can you go when calling women out for the same thing?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

iPad Timing

As part of the Advertising major in Creative Communications, our fearless leader, Kenton Larsen, wrestled us up some iPads to be used with a partner for a week at a time.

I wasn't initially sold on the idea; I understand the ability to immediately access every social networking website (via App or the net), but I had been under the impression that the iPad served a very limited purpose and couldn't be anything more than a way to play games under the auspice of doing work.

We quickly learned about the huge range of free Applications for the iPad, including Evernote for taking and organizing notes proving extremely useful for school or creative writing. (And we all know how amazingly all-consuming the feathery passion of becoming addicted to Angry Birds can be... Why so angry, birds? Just lay new eggs...)

Bizarrely enough, after being sold on the concept that the iPad is not merely a phone-less iPhone and that it had it's own merits, be they steeped in fun or function, my turn to take the iPad (lovingly named Jimmy) from fellow advertising student Jen Hanson came about and I found absolutely no time to use it during the week.

Disappointingly, my router at home is having a heyday laughing at me that am I unable to connect to my WiFi in my own house. I have to devote some time to figuring the mess out, but I haven't brought the iPad to school because every spare scrap of time has been devoted to editing a short montage and other homework during an exceptionally busy week.

From what I have experienced, the iPad can be the first all touchscreen personal computer of the future (not the mention, my own personal Star Trek dream) but the transition to using it for almost all daily Internet and writing activity would have to be all or nothing.

Hopefully I will have more bonding time my communal iPad next week, and I'm looking forward to spending more time using it for everything it can possibly do.

Better luck next week, Jimmy.