Monday, May 4, 2009

Is that a cast-iron tub...or are you just happy to see me?

Advertising can be really annoying, and sometimes stupid, too. It's not bad enough that we have to be constantly reminded of unfortunate medical disorders of a personal kind (not that there's anything wrong with that) but the use of symbolism in advertising sometimes just falls off a cliff. 

Case in point: Cialis advertising. Now why are there two middle-aged people, one of whom has a misfunctioning part, sitting in cast-iron bathtubs, overlooking the Pacific? What should we be seeing here? What should we be remembering that might spark our desire to purchase Cialis at some point in the future when things aren't working as they should?

Are they in separate tubs because of the malfunction, or the cure? Is the sturdy symbolism of cast-iron meant to inspire some virile connection in our minds? Is this some ritualistic act practiced only in California? 

To make matters worse, the folks who brought you Cialis, have now decided that this is such an enduring image that it should be used as the symbolic representation of their product. They have turned it into their product identity. Two old people in tubs. (Hopefully for less than four hours because we know that can be dangerous.) Or are these two very short people with very wide bottoms?

What would you tell your grandchildren if they asked why you and grandma spend so much time in the tubs outside? Are these folks who couldn't afford the requisite California redwood hot tub? Is this a lesson that we should be saving more and investing more conservatively?

Now we know that advertising icons can become corporate symbols—the AFLAC duck being the most recent example that comes to mind. But in that case at least there is SOME logic to "quack" and the acronym AFLAC, that might have triggered some weary creative type to say "lets use a duck". But what level of creative desperation led some poor advertising type to exclaim "I know, lets have them sitting in old cast iron bath tubs!" If there is some logic I've missed, or some deep psychological symbolism that makes sense, please let me know. 


crustypiman said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Excellent analysis of one of the most annoying aspects of advertising. I was surprised, and pleased to be surprised, by this new direction you're taking with your blog. Social commentary via advertising is an excellent topic that fits your experience and gives you an opportunity to vent. So vent on, Dennis. You obviously have significant verbal skills to match your incredible graphic skills. Can I get some of your DNA? What? I already have some? I guess I'll have to try to use mine as well as you use yours. Good job all around, and funny too!

DarkSock said...

The logo looks like two midgets waddling into a blast furnace; defiantly showing their love in the face of the Big Pharma vs. wee folk holocaust.

Great going, Cialis...or should I say...HITLER?
I peed in a horse once.