Thursday, March 25, 2010

50 years too late and a dollar short

CBC yesterday reported on public reactions to this Calgary condo campaign:

There was another ad in the series with the headline "A $20,000 down payment is easier than scoring on a four-minute 5 on 3. And way, way easier than scoring with your waitress."

Produceed by Calgary's Watermark Advertising, the ads seem to be the result of a desperate creative team doing an all-night Mad Men marathon on DVD, then nursing their hangovers at the "free businessmen's lunch" of their local gentlemen's club.

I mean, really. I love Mad Men, and I own several vintage ties from the era. But it's just a TV show. And more than that, it's a show about the end of that era. That's the whole point. The sexism, racism, and sense of entitlement of that time are supposed to make you cringe. I don't know if my mother would be able to stand watching that show, as she lived through the time. I know several women of my own generation who can't bear it, as well-made and realistic as it is — as a HISTORICAL drama.

For their part, Watermark apologized following a flurry of criticism in mainstream and social media:

"As creators of the Midtown condo campaign, Watermark Advertising apologizes unreservedly for any offence these washroom ads may have caused," [a statement] read.

"Obviously our idea of fun isn't funny to the audience we are attempting to engage — which immediately makes the communication wrong, so of course just as immediately, they will be removed."

But the developer was less contrite:

"It wasn't our intention to offend anybody. We took it as tongue-in-cheek. We were trying to address a target audience. But obviously we've offended 25-year-olds."

Nice Parthian shot against the perceived social media demographic. The irony here is that I'm pretty sure people over 25 are the ones who are most offended. Especially the ones over 65.

Sorry mom. We're not all like that.

1 comment:

  1. I'm offended. And I love Mad Men ... a concept like this can work, but the irony has to be more obvious, and that requires amazing skill. The Canadian Club ads with the "Damn Right Your Dad Drank It" were a good example of success at playing with potentially offensive social phenomena (Your mom wasn't your dad's first, etc.) They hinted at the prevailing attitude of the time, while mocking the current "feminization" of men, all the while being funny and clever, rather than offensive.