Call me dense, but I don't really understand why there are journalists that cover advertisements. Perhaps it's because with the advent of TiVo and DVR, we can fast-forward through commercials. Perhaps it's because now that we text while walking or watch our iPod Videos on the way to work, we're too inundated with visuals to absorb gigantic billboards anymore, so we need reporters to tell us what they say as we pretend to read the newspaper to look important while we're really just skimming the fluff articles. Or perhaps it's because the general public doesn't get to read press releases by ad reps, and we need reporters mediate for us and explain what is behind an ad campaign in case we missed the point.I'm pretty sure this is what The New York Times decided in their business section today, with this story on the new Gillette Venus Embrace razor.... in which the company oh-so-cleverly plays on Venus as the Goddess of Love and invents images of women as "modern-day goddesses." (Such as a woman running through the park with a stroller as "Goddess of Trailblazing" or a woman on her cell phone as "Goddess of Communication." Guess what, Gillette? That woman is running because she's worried about baby weight, and that other woman? She's texting a friend to bitch about her boss.)
But this ad campaign did get me thinking about New York power women, those hacking it in finance, law, the media and beyond, glossing over the craziness of their lives with a good mascara and making it all look so EASY. I began to think up ways how Gillette could put a hokey spin on their existence, glorifying their achievements with antiquated notions of femininity that they might just to really empower their faltering self-confidence:Goddess of Sunrise: She's not getting up before sunrise because she enjoys that time of days--she's getting up because the six alarms that she set so she couldn't ignore them are telling her to go to work. Portrayed by a woman blearily peering out from under her sleep mask with one eye in disbelief at the time.
Goddess of Concealment: She knows all the latest products on the shelf for concealing stress lines and undereye circles. When L'Oreal came out with their collagen eye cream for fine lines, she was one of the first to buy it, tired of investing in all those high-end lotions and potions for hundreds of dollars that don't actually work. Even though her exhaustion shows in the morning, by the time she steps out the door, not a soul could guess that she's running on two hours of sleep. Should be shown applying world's best undereye concealer.
Goddess of Stimulation: From the board room to the lunch room, what keeps this woman fueled is her constant intake of caffeine. She knows every Starbucks in a 10-block radius, and frequents them all once a day--but since we wouldn't want a different product placement in this ad, we'll go with generic coffee instead of designer label.
Goddess of Motion: Sure, she might be stopping traffic because that flattering cut of her suit makes her look GORGEOUS, but really that cab stopped because she gave the driver the "Don't you dare hit me while I'm at the crosswalk or I will sue your ass" look. You know the one. Gets them every time.
Goddess of Balance: No, I'm not talking yoga or meditation or feng shui. She's balancing work and social life and family time, running errands, going to doctor's appointments, and trying to squeeze in spinning class so her instructor stops getting pissed off at her. She's got a busy schedule, and the datebook to prove it--in fact, it's practically vomiting post-it notes that have everything she doesn't have time to write in.
So I ask you, New Yorkers....who would your inner goddess be if you could define her?