Fashion TV ‘Designed to Disturb’

West & Vaughan’s Valentines Are Not Sweet for Uniquities Stores
ATLANTA–They want to steal men’s hearts, then put them in jars.
That’s the jist of the new regional “Clothes for heartbreakers” Valentine’s Day television campaign for Uniquities women’s fashion stores. The self-described retailer of “slinky . . . sizes 6 and below” outfits from Michael Star, Diesel, Versace and other designers is located throughout North Carolina.
Three new TV commercials from West & Vaughan use rough, grainy, overexposed film of unsettling images, combined with scratchy, flickering text that appears a single word at a time.
“It’s the David Fincher thing. It’s sick,” admitted Robert Shaw West, the Durham, N.C., agency’s creative director. “It’s designed to disturb. The client said they wanted to get press, they wanted to get complaints . . . More and more, I think the ad industry is becoming a PR industry. Sometimes the press is the best advertising you can get, even if the press hates you.”
In one spot, the camera pans through a refrigerator full of jars of human entrails. The copy eventually states, “Once you steal his heart, what do you do with the rest of him?”
Another ad, set in a deserted grocery store, cuts to signs for sausage and raw meat. “Men. It’s what’s for dinner” is the copy.
The third ad shows men behind bars. The camera pulls back to reveal they are in small cages. One man has a bowl of dog food before him. “When he wants his space, give it to him,” the text reads.
“This is the place where women who know they have ‘it’ shop,” West said. “They all know, if you ain’t got it happening, you ain’t shopping at Inequities. Men know, if you want to gawk at women, you stand outside Inequities.”
Three print ads, with stills pulled from the TV effort, are also part of the campaign.
The spots, which break this week, are the work of copywriter Anne-Marie Norris and art director Shawn Brown, both of whom have left the agency to join Ground Zero in Santa Monica, Calif.