Sauvage: A Sighting in City Centre Mall

I’ve been thinking a lot about advertising lately. I’ve known from the beginning of its dangers, of its societal push. Still, there are successful adverts out there!

Which is why, in an age purported to be so connected, so conscious, I have to ask:

What the hell?

Well, it wasn’t exactly this ad, but an iteration of the same (where Johnny has clothes, and the fragrance is beside the wolf) had me cringing the other day. Witnessed outside The Bay at City Centre Mall, just staring down at me with those eyes all out of focus (maybe).

Listen, I’m following the news, minimally at best. Total headline browser; only the important stuff. I’m a certain novice in the advertising world, too, and might be way out to lunch here, but my question remains:

What was the marketing intention here?

Knowing, as most do, that Johnny has been questionable at best in committing some “sauvagery” of his own–was he picked for this shoot because the brand wanted to emphasize this primitive nature in his form? The untameable, uncontrollable Man?

Well, congratulations. I certainly felt a deep fear looking at this pairing. Especially in consideration of even a cursory search on this brand name’s etymology. And for Dior’s first cologne in ten years? Offensive.

I want to give whoever gave this the final say, the final go-ahead, the benefit of the doubt.

Still, I want to give whoever gave this the final say, the final go-ahead, the benefit of the doubt. I want to say: Aha! A smart advert! The pairing, it can be said, is harsh and fearsome. Perhaps it is casting Johnny in this light. Maybe it is criticizing, but just doing its day job. Maybe there are just too many hands–maybe it was impossible to catch.

So, again, I want to ask, is that what happened? Is that what you meant (if you’re reading, ad creator(s))? To cast a negative light on the subject while still selling a product? Ease my mind.

Because for now I continue to feel fear, at this carnal portrayal of someone who – though extremely talented and well-received by many audiences – continues to represent something else now. He’s caught up in the change.

You know the one.

Anyway. In a more personal style:

I’m sickened by this! I had just come from seeing Incredibles 2, which made me feel amazing and things, and then there was this nasty ass AD staring at me, pairing a carnal animal roaring with some gross old guy who’s rumoured (whatever you want to “believe” I think the answer is CLEAR) to have hurt many of the people around him, and physically.

“Honestly it just makes me laugh!” says Emily Storvold giggling, “This is just trying way too hard, and [the two forms] aren’t similar at ALL.”

Blatantly, this ad is unsuccessful. Of course, I’m a young, white female. This ad is obviously targeting some other demographic entirely. But damn, be a little conscious and help your brands portray this new age we’re entering, where we do not give light to those who aren’t at the very least models for others.

You need more proof?

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 12.38.52 PM.png

I don’t even have to explain this one. The use of the word “pioneering”? The fact that not even the creator of the dress is listed? The pairing of the “refugee” emergency blanket and inauthentic print patterns? To me, this is just another example of a marketing campaign being blatantly dissociated from their audience, and from the context of their content.

In any effort, don’t we want to be whole? Shining through this portrait I see desperation. Throwing things together without thinking, hoping something sticks. I see “having fun with some fabrics”. Sure, the image is beautiful. But in a new generation, knowing what I know, I am disgusted by the distance, the alienation, and I want more!

I want conscientiousness. We’re all trying to catch up, and I understand that, but there are items too blatantly backward to be of service. In one sense, these images are throwing into high relief how far we have left to go. But I also suppose that in challenging me, in forcing me to remember this, that these images find a saving grace.

So yes, I challenge you to look closer at the adverts you’re consuming or creating. Keep them conscious. Don’t partake in the proliferation of a culture that consumes our histories as easily as our ideologies. Use that brain, baby!

Think I’m wrong? Have I forgotten something? Shout it out below!


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