Sep 012003
Authors: Shannon Baldwin

They’re everywhere. Particularly in the arena of consumerism, they breed like West Nile mosquitoes in a stagnant pool in the boggy heat of July. At least with nature’s little blood-suckers you can use OFF!, or light a Citronella candle, but short of turning off the television or some fancy thumb work with the remote, watching the new wave of commercials this summer is inevitable.

The Gap commercial featuring rapper Missy Elliot and diva Madonna strutting down a street singing about jeans. Would these two women really associate with each other in real life? Maybe they would, I don’t know. But the ad left me with only one impression – sell out.

Speaking of bad ideas in clothes consumerism, I submit exhibit B: the ad campaign for Old Navy starring Morgan Fairchild in various mock-retro TV shows of the 80s. I can’t stand these ads and if I’m not in control of the remote I end up rocking back and forth in the fetal position, the voices in my head screaming for the insanity to stop. Do people really go for this?

Arby’s Oven Mitt. Enough said.

Was anyone misfortunate enough to catch the brilliance of the Gillette’s Venus razor for women commercial put out this summer? I cannot give many details because then all those months of subsequent therapy would be wasted, but just think lots of pink and women smiling in a Thelma and Louis sort of way. Gillette was not advertising a new razor. They were advertising an old product now in a new and exciting Passion Pink! Oh, sweet mercy. I just could not stand not having a product I already own in a new and female-empowering color!

At the risk of losing my male readership, I have beef with another female product. Tampax has an ad featuring a new product, pearl, showing the ingeniousness of a girl at a party who will resort to any length to rescue her dropped tampon in the bushes a story below. To start off, the girl is wearing all white. I do not care how much the ad wants to reinforce that she can be confident enough during that time of month to wear white to a party, it’s just not right. But worse is that she is shown to be incredibly rude and selfish by using up her hosts supply of feminine protection to make a chain to retrieve her dropped one. Nice, real nice.

Speaking of bad ideas, I read in the Sunday paper that manufacturer Blue Box International is going to release a new action figure in October -just in time for my birthday, thank goodness! What is this exciting new 12-inch plastic doll you ask me with bated breath? Why dear consumer, it is an obvious and shameless attempt at social conditioning, conveniently on the market a year before the next presidential election when ratings for Mr. Bush are down. The action figure is named “Elite Force Aviator: George W. Bush” based on the president’s flight in a fighter jet onto the USS Abraham Lincoln earlier this year to announce the end of major combat in Iraq.

Oh how cute. Turning one brazen publicity stunt into another. The doll will be in full naval aviator flight uniform with helmet and can be purchased for $35. How ironic that it commemorates a moment where, since then, we have lost more soldiers in the months of peace-keeping occupation than in actual combat.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these patriotic presidential memorabilia, and have even informed friends that the doll is all I really want for my birthday.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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