Friday, September 25, 2009

Falsie Advertising

I have an enormous pet peeve I'd like to rant about today. It involves all (I mean ALL) mascara commercials. The one I saw today featured the timelessly beautiful Eva Longoria. She is just a gorgeous human being isn't she? Perfect hair, face and skin. When I look at a picture of Eva, I'm at a complete loss to find anything I'd try to improve about her. So, why is it that Loreal had her wearing FALSE EYELASHES to promote their "lash-thickening, super volume" mascara? Loreal would like us to believe that their mascara, not the FALSIES glued to Eva's eyelids, is what makes her lashes so full and lush. Is it just me? This is ridiculously deceptive, right? Why doesn't someone put a stop to this false advertising? It's not just poor Eva, either. I've seen the exact same mascara commercials featuring Vanessa Williams, Drew Barrymore, Jessica Alba, even Queen Latifah. Ladies....why?

Here's another enormous product lie. It's been recently revealed that many of those "miracle diet pill" manufacturers pay buff, six-packed models to eat and gain a ton of weight. When they've reached the appropriate "tubby" status, they take a picture and label it "Before." Then, they use one of the same model's earlier buff shots and mark it "After." Clever, no?

This will really make your blood boil. I have a male actor friend who's done several commercial shoots. If you saw him, you'd know why. The man is gorgeous. He looks like JFK, Jr. with his perfect white teeth and thick, dark curly hair. HANDSOME, ladies!! Recently he was paid a truck-load of money to lounge on a sailboat flanked by two gorgeous, bikini-clad blondes and talk to the camera about this great new hair replacement product. Now mind you, my friend never mentions that he himself has actually USED said product (he hasn't!). But all indications are, if you use this hair miracle product, you too will look like my friend, own an enormous yacht, and date multiple scantily-clad blonde women.

Can you handle one more? My girlfriend was recently chosen to be the hair model for an informercial selling a new shampoo. It claimed to make your hair shinier after just ONE use. Before they took my friend's "Before" picture, they doused her (gorgeous) hair with powder, making it appear dry, dull and frizzy. Guess what happened when they applied the new "miracle" shampoo? You got it...MAGIC!!!

I guess I'm a huge hypocrite when it comes to commercials, however, because there are many that I love so much that I press "rewind" on the DVR to watch them over and over. I'm especially a sucker for anything with animals in it. We actually got our dog Trixie as a result of an RCA commercial. Remember the ones that have the dog peering into the old victrola? I took one look at that tiny black and white puppy and exclaimed, "I must have that adorable dog!" I actually called the RCA home office to inquire what exact breed that dog was. They told me she was a Jack Russell Terrier.

The Jack Russell was a popular breed in show business at the time. In addition to "Chipper" the RCA puppy, there was Max from the movie "The Mask," Wishbone from the PBS kid series of the same name, and, of course, Eddie from "Frasier." The breed is a great fit for show biz because they're smart, energetic, and pick up tricks very quickly. Trixie was no exception. She could sit, lay down, roll-over, shake, high-five, play dead, and shake her head "no" on command before she was even house-broken.

So, you can imagine my delight when the popular dog food, "Kibbles 'n Bits" hosted a huge "Put Your Dog In Our Commercial" audition at the local fairground. Each dog would have two minutes in front of a panel of auditioners to show their stuff! To say I became "Crazy Stage Mother From Hell" would've been putting it very nicely, but I was SURE America would soon love my dog as much as I did. We rehearsed our audition for hours. I would ask Trixie:

"Would you rather go without your Kibbles 'n Bits, or be dead?"
(she plays dead)
"Really, Trixie? That's crazy! Are you stupid?"
(she shakes her head "no")
"OK, I guess we'll just say good-bye to your old dog food!"
(she waves bye-bye)

Our big finish was to be when I would tap my chest and she would jump into my arms in one leap, then we'd wave to the audience's thunderous applause. I was sure our trip to Hollywood was in the BAG!

The big day arrived and Alan drove a freshly coiffed Trixie and I to the fairgrounds. It was chaos: dogs barking, pooping and yelping EVERYWHERE!! Trixie remained stoic and unaffected by the pandemonium. While in line for our turn onstage, we went over our act once more. She performed it flawlessly. We watched our competition take the stage. I laughed condescendingly as dog after dog caved-in to the pressure, nervously peed and ran off. Then it was our turn.

I brought Trixie onstage and place her on the "X" in front of the camera. She sat up tall and confident. I began loudly, facing the audience and smiling broadly, "Trixie, would you rather go without your Kibbles and Bits, or be dead?" Now, here's what I believe went on in my brilliant Jack Russell Terrier's head at that instant: Trixie knew that if she succeeded at this, there was never going to be another moment of peace in her lifetime. Her crazy mommy would be forever dragging her to every dog food, pet store and RCA commercial on the planet. This was going to seriously cut-into her toilet flushing/pool swimming/ball chasing agenda. The whole thing needed to be nipped in the bud.

So my dog let me ask that beginning question, then proceeded to calmly ICE me! She did absolutely NOTHING! I repeated the question, more loudly this time. She actually turned and looked at the audience, as if to say, "Do you have ANY idea what she's talking about?" I began yelling her cue, "Dead Trixie, DEAD, DEAD, DEAD!!!" She didn't even flinch! We left the stage, defeated. The emcee grabbed the microphone and said, "Well, at least Trixie's OWNER showed a lot of energy!" I didn't speak to Trixie for several hours after that. But later that day she brought me her ball and let me throw it for her 500 times. All was forgiven.

Here's the clincher: We had to buy a bag of Kibbles 'n Bits to get the audition entry form, so Trixie actually HAD a full bag of it. It's TERRIBLE!!! It's like the McDonald's of all dog food, full of preservatives and loaded with fat. Trixie actually gained weight after just one bag. But I'll tell you this in all sincerity, if she had actually booked that commercial, I'd have gone on camera and SWORN it was The Best Dog Food...EVER!!!

So, what's the moral of this rant? I guess it's that we should never believe everything we see in commercial or print ads. We're never going to look as gorgeous as Eva Longoria, no matter how much mascara we use, false eyelashes or not. Also, more importantly, never force your dog to do something she doesn't want to, particularly if that dog is way, way smarter than YOU!!

Thanks for reading!!


Unknown said...

I'm always so full of smiles or tears or .....some kind of daggum emotion when I finish reading your stuff. Thanks Joan. It's awesome to read what you write.

Erin said...

Oh my gosh. I totally agree with you on the mascara thing! It bugs the crap out of me. NO mascara can do that!
I also have a friend who was cast as the "after" picture but they remove her head and superimpose the before girl on HER hot body.


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