Sunday, May 28, 2006

Truth In Advertising?

You're a filthy, promiscuous whore. Now buy our product.

Oh, sorry. The voiceover in the Kotex 'U' TV ads actually says:

Skanky ho eyeshadow. Blue.
I think I'll shower at home. Green.
You are so dumped. Pink.
Really twisted colours.
That's so U. defines 'skanky" as:

1. A rhythmic dance performed to reggae or ska music, characterized by bending forward, raising the knees, and extending the hands.
2. Disgusting or vulgar matter; filth.
3. One who is digustingly foul or filthy and often considered sexually promiscuous. Used especially of a woman or girl.
and 'ho' as:

Slang. A prostitute. [African American Vernacular English, alteration of whore.]
I first encountered 'skanky ho' as a female term of endearment a few years ago when a university educated workmate in her early 30s opened a phone call to an acquaintance with 'How ya goin', ya skanky ho?'

When she finished the call, I asked her if she realised what she'd just called her friend, as well as vitually yelling throughout the office. She had no idea what it meant beforehand and couldn't care less afterwards. It was what all the trendy gal pals were calling each other.

Only a few years on and what would once have been fighting words even between a pair of King's Cross streetwalkers is tres amusant in the ad copy game and acceptable language in commercials that, extrapolating from the advertiser's own on-line promotional material, are aimed at an audience potentially as young as eight-years-old.

I'm guessing Kotex, which is owned by Kimberly-Clark, isn't referring to ska dancing prostitutes so I'll stick with my original translation.

I'm also guessing Kimberly-Clark and their agency thought they were being so hip, 'now' and relevant with their TVCs promoting tampons in coloured wrappers.

Perhaps that's why after 'showing it like it is' across the three ads - going out dressed like a two-dollar hooker, leaping out of bed in horror at the freak you've just woken up next to ('It seemed like a good idea at the time! Orange.'), realising the place you crashed in is a sleazy pigsty and scrawling a message on the mirror to make sure he realises it was only a one-night stand - Kimberly-Clark includes on their website a caring, informative brochure, amusingly entitled Life Education, that warns girls:

If you've had sex even once in the last month or so, there might be a chance that you're pregnant. See your doctor or family planning clinic as soon as possible.
You might also want to stop modelling your life on Kotex ads and your slut mates and try getting an idea.

-- Nick

You can view the Eye Shadow Blue ad on Kotex's appallingly clunky Flash website.

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