Saturday, August 02, 2008

Ordinary People

Here it is Saturday and I’m wondering if business-to-business advertising is the last refuge of normal human beings? Unless you’re looking at a trade magazine, you’re seeing handsome, cool, good-looking people flacking products and services these days.

‘Course, this has been going on for years and years: Mary Pickford, one of the most famous movie stars of her day (which would be about 90 years ago) appeared for Everywoman’s World in 1919.

Celebrities both are and are not what they used to be. You can see one of the world’s largest advertisements for Maxxim featuring Eva Longoria here. Form-wise, this is a substantial mental distance from the famous Ms. Pickford; functionally, it is the same.

Reshaping spokes-celebrities continues among the brand icons, too.

Writing in Funny Times several months back, Lenore Skenazy bemoaned the glamorization of our advertising icons: “In Mr. Whipple’s day, there was no shame in being paunchy or plain or punching in at the kind of job you get straight out of high school.”

Another example: The old Dunkin’ Donuts guy is gone. But the younger, cuter, phenomenally richer Rachael Ray is gone as well – she was removed from the Dunkin' Donuts website some months back; her endorsement TV spots are off the air. For why? It seems she didn’t like the famous Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and wasn't shy about saying it out loud.

Fortunately, there’s Oil & Gas Journal or Offshore – just to name a couple of “regular” magazines. There’s nothing overtly glamorous about seeing a West Texas tool-pusher in these pages, an Asian pipeline engineer or a Scandinavian ChEng. None of them are too likely to let their star turns go to their heads, either. Still, I live in hope: “I’m ready for my close-up now, Mr. deMille.”

The classic Chevvy-Mary Pickford ad is from with thanks.

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