Jul 6, 2008

Tired of embarrassing adverts?

"Tired of dry calloused feet tearing your pantyhose? Embarrassed by how your feet look and feel? Sick of the mess scraping and files leave behind?...."
Maybe I'm used to English adverts, with downily euphemistic imagery — sandy beaches to suggest the freedom a certain sanitary towel will give you and so on — but I am consistently taken aback by the X-rate explicitness of American adverts. Acne adverts show teenagers with raw, angry spots; potency pills that warn you to "call your doctor if you experience an erection lasting more than four hours..." Then there's a vaginal itch cream called Vagisil ("When I have an itch down there it's embarrassing!"), although you wonder why they went to all the bother of euphemisms like "down there" when they called their cream Vagisil.

My favorite at the moment is the advert for something called the Ped-Egg, which is a small cheese-grater type contraption with which you shave off unwanted thick skin from the soles of your feet. I'm not sure what the British advert for this would show — a silken sheet sliding off a nicely-polished pebble? — but the advert on TV at the moment shows actual people actually using it to shave their feet and then empty the dead skin, in a finely-granulated cascade, into a trash can. My fiancee has to leave the room every time it comes on, but I sit there utterly transfixed.

Apparently the actors featured in the advert have recently sued the advertisers for showing their faces: their contracts only mentioned feet. So someone's embarrassed by all of this. Just not the advertisers, whose
instinct for instilling the very fear and loathing they are supposed to be helping you with is positively Rovian: don't want to be ashamed? Tired of feeling embarrassed? Worried what people think? Well, no, actually. Not until I started watching your horrible advert.

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