Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bright, happy, and maybe even deadly

LOTS OF ADS ARE SILLY. Those aimed at young women in particular tend to be the silliest. I don't mean funny: I mean dumbed-down and mindless, heavy on manipulation and light on information. Especially with regard to nationally branded drugs and other personal products aimed at young women, the trend is to bathe the senses in bright, happy, sappy, silly fantasy imagery having nothing to do with the products. There's a lot of bright colors, a lot of young pretty women laughing and cavorting, a lot of surreal imagery seemingly intended more to delight and distract than to deliver information.

I'm thinking of that one for YAZ birth control pills. ("Yaz"? They did that song back in '83, "Move Out," right?) A bunch of girls being ebullient and smiley and happy, skipping around, having great times together, while all around them colored balloons are floating up into the sky. Apparently market research says the way to manipulate young women is not to talk sense -- show them smiles and balloons. Over all this, the bouncy rejection anthem "Goodbye to You" plays. It's just a big party! As oval balloons (eggs?) float away into the distance and these girls say goodbye to them, meanwhile some fine print flashes on the screen -- I didn't quite get what it said. Of course, that's what they want. Remember beautiful bouncy girls, smiles, carefree defiance; forget that it's a fricking synthetic hormone that screws with your every physiological process, may increase risk of breast cancer, and can even give you a stroke -- which happened to a friend of mine in her 20s. But that's the price of "liberation," I guess.