While I am less than sympathetic with the men’s advocacy fellow whom Dan recently wrote of, and his complaint about the Pizza Hut ad (among others) that makes Dad look like a dope, I am recently finding myself taking umbrage at the way men are portrayed in every jewelry ad I’ve seen in this year’s holiday onslaught. But then again, the ladies don't come out looking so good either. Jewerly ads strike me as misanthropic and as incredibly patronizing, created wise-ass ad agency “creatives” with little or no respect for their audience. Here are a few of the ads and or/types I’ve seen lately:
1. The DeBeers style. Romantic music, a snowy drive, a diamond bracelet slipped into her hand, onto her pillow. The message is that you, the 56-year-old, Lexus-driving, salt-and-pepper-domed, Viagra huffin’ successful man (target audience) can’t possibly thank her enough for all she’s done for you and lets you do to her. But she’s a woman, and she’d never understand if you actually tried to speak or write some words to her about her or your relationship, so give her something expensive and sparkly, that she can appreciate, and you can manage not to fuck up. Buy her all over again, this time for so much more!
1a. (the comedic version of #1). Dood gives chick jewelry and a hushed buzz goes around the room that he went to Bob’s House of Stones that are Ridiculously Overpriced. Even the kitchen staff murmurs it. Bob’s showed our hero what women want, Bob’s will make her happy because our guy’s too much a dope to figure it out himself. Cut to beaming chick. In another one, Dood gives chick bracelet in box and then puts his head down and mumbles nervously on and on and on about how he never knows what to give her but then he went to Bob’s and he hopes it’s okay and . . . meanwhile she’s jumping up and down and running from room to room ecstatic at her bauble.
2. For some reason this one really gets to me. Scene: woman kicking back on the couch, watching the tube, as her young-architect/artist skinny, t-shirted, sandy-haired studmuffin puts the finishing touches on her pedicure, blowing gently on her toes.
He: How’s it look, sweetie?
She: It looks great!
He: I dunno, I think maybe they could use one more coat.
Cut to smarmy announcer: because you’re not that guy, go buy jewelry at Bob’s.
You're not that guy, you're not caring, you're not patient, you're not creative, you're not gentle, y ou're not even good looking (to your woman). It makes me want to scream BE THAT GUY, MEN, once in a while, just be that guy. Stop buying the most overpriced, overvalued, falsely inflated, harvested-by-near-slave-labor stones in the history of humankind and DO something for your woman, talk to your woman, listen to your woman, pamper your woman as you’d like her to pamper her man. Don’t buy her, do the damn labor! (and then maybe buy her something nice afterwards, sure. And ladies, it's your turn, buy your man some bling, show him you own him! Yes, I have a double standard, yes yes yes I do! I wanna be owned!)
Jewelry ads, then, in brief, work based on the assumption that men are lazy, have no aesthetic sense, don’t know their partners, don’t really care about knowing them or what they’d like as a gift, and want to spend money as they have to on whatever a clerk tells them their women will want. And women, well, they like nice sparkly things more than anything in the world. Diamond=love (NOT blood).