Sunday, March 25, 2012
If it's Just for Men, what is that Baby doing there????
A scene re-enacted in every ad agency, all over the country: A group of idea-deficient writers huddle at a conference table to discuss the latest project, to produce a commercial which will fill 31 seconds of air time and convince Americans to buy whatever is being offered.
The first item brainstormed by the brilliant ad team: "Ok, how do we get a baby into this spot?"
Seriously, what the hell is going on here? Is it impossible to make a commercial which does not attempt to use babies or toddlers to sell products these days? It used to be that if you saw a baby in an advertisement, you knew immediately that the product must be....you know....somehow related to babies. Diapers. Body powder. Car seats. Creamed carrots in jars. Umm....
I guess that's about it. Babies don't need anything else, right?
Nowadays, we have babies selling us stock management services, Italian cars, insurance for those cars, and chemicals to remove gray from men's hair. And this one makes even less sense than most. Every other Just for Men commercial features the guy getting the girl (or the job) because he's successfully hidden the fact that he's ewww old by tinting his gray hair. Babies don't need to get the girl or the job- and they don't have gray hair to tint- so what the hell is this commercial all about? Ah, of course- it's all about digitally imposing a baby's head on an adult's body and making it do "funny" things that, with any luck, will distract you from noticing how nonsensical this all is.
It actually would be pretty funny- even clever- if I thought for a moment that this commercial was a piece of clever snark directed at the other companies which exploit parents eager to exploit their offspring by putting them into stupid situations for the benefit of eTrade, Fiat, Geico, etc. But I don't believe that. This looks more like piling on- "look, as long as babies don't have to actually relate to the product being offered, we can use them too, so here you are- a baby with a beard taking a hot woman out on the town, driving a sportscar. Now look, we can make him dance too! Sure it's creepy and weird and makes no sense, but who cares! It's a baby! Buy this!"
(BTW, is the concept of a hot woman attracted to a baby sporting a beard really any weirder than the concept of a hot woman attracted to Jim Belushi, Rob Schneider, or any of the Doofus Idiot Fat Guys Married To Beautiful, Smart Women sitcoms which pollute prime time television? Just a thought.)
Let's return to our opening scene. The first idea brainstormed is "Ok, how can we get a baby into this spot?" I want one of three things to happen next:
A) The head of the ad agency, listening in, responds "we can't. This is a product targeted toward men with graying hair. It's clear to me that you have no ideas, but just want to poach off of a current, intensely stupid, trend. You are fired."
B) The other ad men respond "you want to use a baby in this ad? Jeeesh, that is SO forty-two seconds ago! Let's think up something new, people!"
C) A comet crashes into the room, killing everyone in it. And somehow killing the guy who came up with the baby "idea" twice. The rest of the advertising world takes this as a sign, and swears off putting babies in non-baby related commercials forever.
The next day, the word is out on the street: "it's back to chimpanzees, people!"