Monday, May 24, 2010

Creepiest Ads Ever?

I'm certainly not an ad executive, but I do know a fright when I have one.

These ads for the Dorchester Collection of hotels are horrifying, with a capital HORROR.

They were featured in an article in the Media and Advertising section of the New York Times about a year and change ago, but, given that print media is dying and I don't read magazines unless they involve the word "sports" or "guitar" or "art" in the title, you'll have to forgive me.

You see, if you follow the logic of the Times review, there is some genius in these.

First, dead people can't hassle you about logistics or fees, and they certainly can't show up late, with mysterious white powder on their shoes and proceed to vomit all over your faux Louix XIV divan.

Secondly, and you'll have to excuse me while I wish death upon myself here, there is apparently something magical and post-historical-post-modern-post-photography in this that makes all the nostalgia lovers-celebrity worshippers go "schwing!"

Anybody who is about to try to tell me that this is glamorous or exciting needs to go find a date in Disney's Hall of Presidents.

While I'm sure some greybeard of an ad exec is at home, sitting on his endangered species-skin faux Louis XIV divan, stroking his Clio Award like it's a bald cat, I can't help but think this violates two of the cardinal rules of advertising, at least as I would have brought them down from the mountain.

Rule #1: Photoshop is not to be abused. Look close at all of the, ahem, people in these ads. They look like they just got rolled out of the coroner. Maybe this is some post-humor joke. They are dead, after all. But why, dear God, do they look so plasticine? If I was Thandie Newton, I'd be coming right back from the dead to curse the hell out of all of those mouse-weilding yahoos that CS4-ed me into Robert Smith. I spend most of my days surrounded by students who can Photoshop better than this with their eyes closed, hands tied, and a piranha nibbling on their sensitive bits. Seriously, Warhol's the only one that looks half normal, and that's because he tried his whole life to disguise the way he actually looked. The rest of them look like they've spent the night drinking embalming fluid and lacing themselves into medieval torture corsets.

Rule #2: Don't scare the bejesus out of people you want on your side. Ask anyone who can't stand clowns. Why, you ask, don't you like clowns? They're funny and make kids laugh. Yeah, when they're not busy scaring the shiznit out of them. Scared once, scarred for life.

Honestly. People wonder why print ads are going the way of the dodo.