Sunday, August 15, 2010

Why isn't blue advertising bluer?

Has anyone else noticed the irony that the plethora (and, yes, I do know the meaning of that word, El Jefe) of EDS drug commercials are all, without exception, eye-glazingly dull? Here is a product associated with something that should be considered one of the most fun activities any lifeform could engage in, sex, made to seem about as exciting as denture cement. It's like having your mom or dad counsel you about the facts of life just before you get married. (I have to tread carefully here because my daughter reads this blog.)

These ads actually sabotage themselves by making you not want to have sex at all, especially with the prim, wholesome women they usually cast to play the supposed beneficiaries of these miracle molecules. You watch these commercials and think, "Well, there's his problem right there! Just look at her! She's a saint!" You imagine her litany of constructive little criticisms, "Do you really need to watch another basketball game?" "Do we really need any more DVDs?" "Don't you already have enough power tools?" "Were you talking to your ex-wife just now?" and "When are you going to stop playing Halo and come to bed?" And why are these paragons of mature feminine dignity always dressed in loose sweaters?

In short, to the average healthy male watching these commercials, there doesn't seem to be any need for the little blue pill at all.

In every one of these, too--in order, I imagine, to demonstrate the ability to have "spontaneous" nookie--the woman approaches the man "playfully" and whispers something in his ear, usually while he's busy doing something else, like looking for a job online because their retirement savings have been decimated. These little mimes reduce the fun of sex to something in the same order as personal hygiene: Okay, time to go save the marriage again. "Be right there, dear!"

When I used to teach advertising, my students had a grand old time thinking up creative ways to promote things that, at the time, rarely got advertised--you  know, like condoms, aphrodisiacs, erotic bakeries, or marital aid stores; imaginary clients for whom my class could really show off their creative libidos in a safe, academic environment. It was fun to think of ads for things that would never get on the air or in print.

Now, years later, with that same generation of former students given the opportunity to create real ads for these formerly blue products, all we get are commercials showing people in loose sweaters consulting with their doctors (the ubiquitous stethoscope draped over the show he's a doctor), or, at their most frisky, holding hands on a beach in twin bathtubs--sweaters off, of course. Whoa, to this last porno image! I may need to take a cold shower (more irony here, and sarcasm, in case you missed it).

And this always bothers me, too: What are bathtubs doing on the beach? Why is that supposed to be erotic? Or even romantic? Where's the plumbing? Who fills them up? And why are these people each in their own tub? And after they get out of the tubs to do the thing he took the little blue pill to do, won't their feet just get all encrusted with sand?  People just don't think these things through.

That's my real point.

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