Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Smell the Blurred Lines

Over at Ricochet last week I had a post on the prevalence of opposite branding in the advertising world, that is, selling a product with a potentially fatal flaw by brazenly advertising it as the exact opposite of that flaw.

That was the lead in for an analysis of the controversial video for Robin Thicke’s song, “Blurred Lines".  Of note was this comment from the video's star, supermodel Emily Ratajkowski.  She totally would have had a problem in having her body exploited for commercial purposes in this video.  Expect that’s not what was happening here at all, in fact it was the opposite:

Initially, on paper, the video looked pretty crazy and I wasn’t inclined to do it. After I met with Diane Martel, the director, who is a very sophisticated, savvy lady, she explained the concept a little more. They were looking for a confident, kind of sarcastic woman with a little attitude, so I was more inclined to do the video.
 the video is making fun of itself, and that’s what’s very crucial about it. You have naked women dancing around in the video. It sounds pretty bad, right? But when you look more into the attitudes of the women and how we’re making direct eye-contact [with the camera]—we’re ignoring these guys, we’re having fun. You can see that [the females are] in the power position.
That wisdom struck a chord with me this evening while watching Spinal Tap, and this quote from the boys about why the cover of their controversial album “Smell the Glove” wasn’t really exploitative at all, in fact, it was the opposite:

Nigel:  It's a matter of compromise, we made a joke, and it was a long time ago, they're making it like a big deal. 
David:  That's true.  You know, if we were serious and we said "yes she should be forced to sniff...smell the glove" then you'd have a point you know but it's all a joke, isn't it, we're making fun of that sort of thing.
Nigel:  It is and it isn't, she should be made to smell it, but...

David:  But not you know over and over again.

Rock and roll may not survive, but rock and roll rationalizations will never die.

The Elder Appends: I spotted another "Spinal Tap" connection when I read Saint Paul's post at Ricochet last week and referenced it in a tweet.

Ian: That's alright, if the singer's the victim, it's different. It's not sexist.

Nigel: He did a twist on it. A twist and it s-

Derek: He did, he did. He turned it around.

Ian: We shoulda thought of that....

David: We were so close....

Ian: I mean if we had all you guys tied up, that probably woulda been fine.

All: Ah....

Ian: But it's...it's still a stupid cover.

David: It's such a fine line between stupid an'...

Derek: ...and clever.

David: Yeah, and clever.

Nigel: Just that little turnabout....