The universal advertising clichés

Miners2It’s nice to know that people in other parts of the world often see their country’s advertising as riddled with clichés and otherwise generally annoying. For the BBC, U.K. writer John Camm came up with a list of clichés that seem to drive ad efforts across the pond. Many parallels to U.S. ads are evident. Camm’s first rule: Guys are obsessed with sex but will forego it to watch football or drink beer. Clearly true stateside as well (although here they make up for it in the off-season, stocking up on Viagra after being exposed to a gazillion commercials for it while the games are on). Camm also notes that anyone with a scientific career in an ad will have a bad haircut and dreadful clothes. Hey, isn’t that why they make pocket protectors and short-sleeve madras plaid shirts? Also, women in ads tend to have jobs they never do in real life while looking drop-dead gorgeous doing them. Why does a recent print campaign come to mind with beautiful models dressed in coveralls, wielding jackhammers and with just enough moisture applied to the cleavage and soot-colored rouge to the cheeks to make them look hot, sweaty and sexy? And then there are the moms, or mums, as the Brits call them: always harried, but calm under pressure. Well, there was that one pain-reliever commercial a few decades back, I think it was for Excedrin, where a housewife and her mom are in the kitchen and the mom is sort of getting in the way. “Mother, please, I’d rather do it myself!” the woman bellows. But even when she lost it, she was so polite. Of course, the fact that that image is still rattling around in my brain after all these years is a little disconcerting. It’s so easy when you use Lestoil. Oh God, there’s another one. Where the heck was the remote when I really needed it?

—Posted by Steve McClellan