Monday, September 8, 2008
Back off, Levi's.
Sometimes I get really sad that I work in advertising. Especially when I see stuff as seedy as the new Levi's ads. Have you seen these? I'm referring to the "Live Unbuttoned" campaign, a campaign whose slogan is even inappropriately bold enough to suggest that you live a life with your privates exposed to the world.
First off, there's an ad that opens with a super young couple (15? 16? 18 maybe) who we see in extreme close up. Mostly, we see their prepubescent crotches as they slowly unbutton their jeans to accommodate the tag line. Then the girl asks "Is this your first time?" and they both look nervous. The conversation continues with loaded dialog like that, insinuating the obvious. Just when you think that these kids are about to do the premarital, the camera pulls back to reveal...Hey! Just kidding, folks! These preteens are only stripping down to their underwear to jump off a dangerous pier together into the cold water below.
So, I assume our reaction at that point is supposed to be: whew! I thought they were trying to show my kids how cool it is to lose their virginity, but it was actually an elaborate set up to show my kids how cool it is to go swimming with their boyfriends almost naked! I guess then we're to chuckle mildly with relief. Then just to keep us parents on edge, they end the ad with an underwater crotch shot of both of the kids' half naked bottom halves as a reminder to us that they're probably going to do it later, off screen.
I know ever since the mini skirt replaced the poodle skirt that older generations have complained about worrisome trends in teen fashion, but I have to say if there is a hidden agenda going on in teen fashion, it's gotten way less hidden lately. Or maybe I'm an old man. But I don't know if I want to live in a era where people are OK that a jeans commercial for teens can have such a jaded, sexually experienced point of view.
I should stop here, at just Slightly Old-Fashioned Curmudgeon level, but I have to continue. Because there's another spot just as bad.
In this one, a guy wakes up in bed with a girl, and then slides out of bed without waking her. He grabs his guitar (read: he's cool, so it's okay), puts his jeans on and mentally and shirtless-ly debates whether he should sneak out or not. An old blues guy in the room narrates the guy's thoughts, obviously. "What, are you going to tell her you love her? Don't be crazy, just keep walkin'" he says, full of wisdom and that kind of crap, so the kid takes his advice and packs his stuff up, looking thoughtfully over his shoulder as he leaves the girl to struggle alone with sexual guilt after this meaningless one night stand.
I'm pretty sure that's how it was all worded in the script.
While the first spot seems to be encouraging casual sex for preteen virgins, this one seems to focus it's energy on encouraging guys that commitment is lame and that it's better to have one night stands than seek a monogamous relationship. Especially if you like the blues, which I would suggest is warning sign in general for anyone you meet in life, ladies, so take note.
I don't think this is all the former youth minister in me talking, but who knows. If you see these inappropriate commercials on TV let me know what you think. I'm pretty sure I even saw the first one on N!, which is a channel meant for preteens. I don't blame Moose A. Moose, though, he seems like an alright guy to me, and he's off work once Noggin shifts to N! and the Degrassi High School of Deviants comes on, anyway.