January 2012

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laugh And now a few Words From our Sponsor By Laura J. Gallagher A few months ago I wrote about yogurt and—if advertisers are to be believed—its fundamental necessity to human existence. Well, ladies' existence anyway. Because if we ain't eating yogurt, we'd darn well better be at yoga or rolling our eyes as our menfolk try to do the laundry. I can't help but revisit that topic, because have you seen the latest iteration? A commercial where a woman changes her mind mid- order and instead of ordering coffee, she orders yogurt instead? Of course, they frame it as a calorie-laden coffee drink vs. low-cal yo- gurt, but seriously, in addition to replacing every solid edible with yogurt, we're now supposed to grab it instead of a liquid? What next? "Hey Dave, hand me that pen. No, wait, make it a yogurt." Now, within advertising there has always been a genre of ads that present a problem and—bam—the solution to that problem. Toilet clogged? Use Toilet Not Be Clogged. These days, however, there is a subgenre of that genre: a strange world where things that aren't re- ally problems are presented not only as problems, but serious prob- lems that need correcting. With their product, of course. Case in point: The woman with the already blindingly white teeth who panics at the thought of leaving for Vegas in two hours, because that might not be enough time to bleach her teeth more. Are you not allowed into Vegas if your teeth aren't the color of copier paper or bright enough to guide ships to shore with your smile? Will her teeth not being as retina-searing as they could be somehow limit her enjoyment of dollar slots and cheap buffets? Has anyone, in the history of teeth—or Las Vegas—ever really had this "problem?" " " Are you not allowed into Vegas if your teeth aren't the color of copier paper or bright enough to guide ships to shore with your smile? We women also have to make sure that along with not sweating (ever), our underarm skin is soft and supple. I don't know, unless you're a trapeze artist or constantly doing "the wave" in sleeveless shirts, how often is this really a concern? (And if you are a trapeze artist, put this down before you fall!) And while we're waving our hands in the air like we don't care and causing car accidents with the glare off our teeth, we're prob- ably doing it in painful high heels. Why not stick rubber insoles that look, and eventually smell, like dead fish into them instead of TAKING THEM OFF AND WEARING SOMETHING SENSIBLE? The worst, though, are the ads that treat what is at best a minor irritation like a medical problem. Yep, along with the heartbreak of psoriasis (bad) and migraines (bad) comes the nightmare that is… sparse eyelashes! I'm not talking about people who lose all their eyelashes and eye- brows to cancer treatments or an illness. But look, if you're in your 40s, you don't have as many eyelashes as you used to (who even notices this?). The side-effects to some of these "treatments" usu- ally sound worse than whatever they're purportedly curing. The eyelash stuff can cause "brown pigmentation in the colored parts of your eye." Now I understand: You're going to need a lot of eye- lashes to cover the fact that your iris looks like a quail's egg. Since, obviously, this advertising genre is very important to our lives, I've been trying to come up with a "cure" for a "disease" that will make me a lot of "money." So far I've got: •"Bacscratcharin," for those middle-of-the-back itches when there's no one around to scratch it for you. •"Noshredimax" for when you eat Captain Crunch and the roof of your mouth gets torn to bits. •"Bangsaskewporol" for the cowlick that just won't behave. •And "Minestronose," for those of you, like me, whose noses run when they eat soup. Discontinue use if you experience shortness of breath, dizziness, get "Walk Like An Egyptian" stuck in your head all day, or your eyeballs suddenly get way smaller. ••• Laura J. Gallagher is a long-time communications professional. When not teasing her husband, Triple M's Pat Gallagher, she is preparing a thesis on nutty advertising trends. Find her on Face- book at the Laura J. Gallagher page! 80 BRAVA Magazine January 2012

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