Sunday, September 30, 2018

Weekend Diversion: Unexpected ads

I share a lot of ads, for all sorts of reasons, but what today’s ads have in common is that they surprised me. I don’t know whether any ad could/would be broadcast in my native USA, but they're on the air here. Of course.

The ad above for Wrigley’s Extra gum features young people, er, um, being friendly when her father knocks on the door. Gum saves the day. The ad on our TV ends when the father breaks into a slight smile, and we don’t see the handshake or woman’s reaction.

What surprised me about the ad was that the couple is interrupted just short of being in flagrante delicto, and they play on that. To be sure, I’m not the least offended or scandalised by the ad, nor am I prude—it merely surprised me. I’m also fascinated by how the ad pushes the envelope on what is okay to broadcast, though I realise that if the couple had been same-gender it wouldn’t have been made.

The second ad is for Berlei bras Australia:

The ad surprised me the first time I saw it on TV, maybe a week ago, give or take. Our TV ads and programmes don’t usually show boobs, so even kind of cartoonish representations are unexpected. I have no idea—obviously!—whether the ad is true/accurate or not, but I have to tip my hat to them for their originality. The surreal visual of seeing boobs bouncing is strangely effective, in my opinion as a member of a non-target market.

Finally, the current ad from Kiwibank:

This ad is, in some ways, nothing special: Lots of banks run similar sorts of ads. What surprised me was the casual inclusion of same-gender couples (one of the shorter versions of the ad has a different same gender couple). It’s not that unusual for a bank in New Zealand to include same-gender couples, and I shared other bank ads like that last month. Also, it’s appropriate for businesses to include matter of fact depictions of same-gender couples because their presence means inclusion as part of everyday life and the fabric of New Zealand.

Obviously, such depictions in bank ads (or other LGBT-friendly ad imagery) shouldn’t surprise me at all—they should be commonplace. But I come from a time when gay people were very careful who we shared our authentic selves with, out of concern for our safety, and the idea of seeing ourselves included in advertising imagery the same as anyone else would have been unimaginable. I hope some day it stops surprising me so much.

New ads pop up on our TV all the time. Obviously, some I love, some I don’t (and I recently blogged about ads in both categories), and others, like the ones in this post, surprise me for one reason or another. Your mileage may vary. But chances are good I’ll share more examples in the future.

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