The market's hand isn't invisible, it's a great big dirty paw. As soon as it sees anything it could possibly use to make money, it reaches out and mucks it up.
At Easter the Shoc Choc ads featured back views of naked bums with red X's on each buttock. Hot Cross Buns, geddit?
In the Dominion Post for 26 April a much bigger firm, appliance retailers Bond & Bond, outdid them with its gobsmacking take on Anzac Day.
The central feature of their ad was a big billboard proclaiming "3 years interest free". It was tastefully decorated with an Anzac poppy in one corner and what looked at first glance like turds, but I think were meant to be Anzac biscuits, in two more corners.
The heading above read:
"Rally the troops for Anzac Deals - good bikkies, men can wear flowers - Anzac weekend has it all."
It's fascinating to see previously exempt icons such as Anzac Day getting the kind of treatment meted out to women - or rather women's bodies - ever since advertising images became the norm.
Back in the seventies (yes, I know, children, that's so long ago you can barely imagine anyone being, like, alive back then) we used to collect the worst ones for Broadsheet magazine's Hogwash page. One featured a black profile of a young woman with earrings, curly hair and a big grin, alongside the words: "Hot, black and easy to lay!" It was an ad for asphalt.
We all know selling anything is supposed to be easier if you link it with sex. The Shoc Choc ad can be seen as progress of a sort - now men's bodies, too, get used in a nudge-nudge way to sell stuff occasionally.
But the vast majority of sexual sells still centre on women as come-ons for heterosexual men. In the last few years, every ad agency and their dog has got in on the act with renewed enthusiasm.
For someone of my vintage it's deja vu all over again, except that this time round they have the added advantage of posing as knowing, post-feminist, tongue-in-cheek cleverdicks. Objecting can be dismissed as hopelessly outdated, pre-post-whatever. Because of course they're not serious! And they love women!
I guess they love war and soldiers, too. Maybe next year some clever cookie will combine the two and come up with an ad featuring nubile nurses fending off neatly bandaged blokes, with a headline reading, "Get your hands on some real Anzac Day specials".
March 10, 2014 The Nigel Cox Unity Books Award was awarded to writer Anne Kennedy (left) at a surprise announcement at the end of her session at the Wel...
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