The Ad Fool   

Old gray baby

Okay, I admit it. I’ve come really close a couple of times. My ego got the better of me and I nearly gave in but at the very last second I hesitated. Could my inability to accept the status quo signal some disturbingly deep-seated insecurity? I stopped myself cold. What is the heinous event of which I speak? A tummy tuck? A brow lift? Calf implants perhaps? Heaven’s no. What I resisted was the temptation to color my hair.

As things currently stand, I rarely even notice the gray hairs I’m increasingly sprouting. I think this is mainly due to the fact that age has chosen to exponentially dim my eyesight first, allowing me to live in something of a self-created dreamworld where the mirror I look into shows pretty much the same thing I’ve always seen (‘cause now I’m too blind to see otherwise). It’s only when I look closely that I start finding the little gray bastards. Thankfully, my more helpful “friends” are more than eager to point out my graying coif. But like it or not, the silver is coming so what to do? Pull the trigger? Do I give in to my modern male pride and seek salvation from a bottle or a tube? Has the time finally come to join the male hair coloring revolution?

I figured it would be best to do at home first. That way I wouldn’t have to face some stylist judging my grasp at the past with their shaming eyes. I’ll do it in the privacy of my own bathroom and NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW. Unless of course I overdo it and manage to tattoo-stain my chin, chest or left earlobe with brown dye, thus giving the whole world easy opportunity to mock my vainglorious fountain of youth-seeking self. But that Just For Men stuff looks easy to use. And those guys seem to know what they’re doing, right?

Wrong. I was really considering it but after seeing an ad they ran the other day I absolutely cannot trust them in the least – no way. Their TV ad is one of the strangest commercials I’ve ever seen. Now I admit I don’t entirely know what it even means but I do know they need to stop running that horrible thing immediately. It’s wrong on so many levels. Bizarre and creepy, almost beyond belief.

Sigh, the only way to do this is to bowl right on in. The spot opens with a baby – yes, a baby in a hair-coloring ad – speeding along in a sports car and wearing a full goatee beard. The engine roars as the landscape whips past him. The voice over is a tough guy dude saying “You always wanted to have the biggest, baddest beard.” No, I’m not kidding. The car then screeches to a stop in front of a red carpet where baby-man goatee gets out and squires his date - Nanny? Mother? (shudder) Escort? - strutting past the velvet rope of some happening night club in his mini-tuxedo. The voice over continues “Keep living the dream with Just For Men gel.” We actually get a product shot here where the JFM box slides off the bar onto a tray carrying drinks and a.....baby bottle? Whaaa?

It doesn’t stop. Now baby-man is clinking booze glasses to his bottle while four hotties vie for his attention. He rocks out on the dance floor, showing his moves while the ladies scream. Yes, they scream. Then we’re back in the red sports car again for more driving shots as baby-man speaks to camera “That gray beard isn’t you, baby.” And he peels off into the night with his....whatever she is that isn’t somehow sick and twisted. Really, I half expected him to flash a handful of Viagra at some point. It’s so....desperate and weird and twisted seeming.

Look, E-trade did do the whole baby idea. Yes, it was fun and different at first. Oh, look a baby that talks and says things like an adult - how funny and cute. He’s so mature, what a little man. Blah, blah, blah. But it’s really been there, done that. But hair coloring? Baby-man with chicks and bars and sports cars? What the #@*% does this ad even mean? On one hand I don’t get it AND on the other it manages to seriously disturb me. It’s just so wrong. Who are they even selling to here? This piece is even bat-crap crazier than Charlie Sheen in full “Winning” mode.

So here I sit, waffling on the edge of some major appearance-change as I decide whether to color my hair or not. And even as I try to progress from questioning my manhood for even wanting to do this I get a very cheesy thumbs up from a bunch of morons too clueless to know that the ad they’re running is inappropriate to the nineteenth power. Does the guy that loves this ad get his hair colored? Because if he does that sure ain’t me. In fact, if I was so deathly afraid of aging that a CG-baby with a goatee and a self-esteem problem makes sense to me then my problems are wayyyy bigger than a few graying hairs. We’re through the looking glass on this one people and I don’t like where it leads. Maybe I should just forget about it and buy a Corvette.

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About the Author

My qualifications? Who am I to critique commercial advertisement? I have no degree in marketing. I don't work for an ad agency. I'm not an advertising professional. I am barely qualified to judge an Oreo stacking contest. Who do I think I am?

I am a target and I have been shot at by advertisers every single day of my entire life. Sales pitches are a part of living, and as a raging consumer taught to accumulate stuff and needing only a semi-good reason to do so means I'm more than qualified.

When Heinz introduced colored ketchups I bought purple and green. When Coke added vanilla I got a case. Crest puts whitening in the toothpaste and I'm brushing my teeth. Create a new package and I jump up and down. I can't help it. I'm an AdFool.

Jarrod Thalheimer is a freelance writer living in Kelowna who spends far too much time watching television and movies. He can be reached at [email protected]

Visit Jarrod's website at www.adfool.com



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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