Friday, January 19, 2007

Ad Review: Turning on the Dimmers

If you travel the Stanford overpass heading east, you’ve probably seen this billboard for Zara’s Collision Center: “We’ve replaced more headlights than Pamela Anderson.” Let’s review.

First off, Ms. Anderson-Lee-Rock didn’t replace those headlights* herself; she enlisted the services of a plastic surgeon. So what they mean to say is “We’ve replaced more headlights than Pamela Anderson’s surgeon has replaced on Pamela Anderson.” Not nearly as catchy, but it more clearly communicates what they are trying to say.

I’d be willing to accept the slightly misleading statement for the sake of a punchy headline, but only if it were actually saying something that would make me want to go to Zara’s for my next headlight replacement. Claiming that they’ve replaced more headlights than Pamela doesn’t really speak well to Zara’s experience because what they’re saying is that they’ve replaced more than two (or four, if you count her breast reduction surgery as another set of replacements.) So in their quest to be clever, they’ve unintentionally sent out the erroneous message that they may be novices.

My third quibble is this, and it’s a big one. Actually, it’s two big ones.

The only reason to include Pamela Anderson in an advertising campaign is because she can be expected to show up at the photo shoot with her, well, her headlights. She isn’t prized as an endorser because she is a savvy consumer or a trusted public figure. PETA doesn’t use her in ads because is able to effectively articulate that the cruelties being inflicted upon animals is a pox on our humanity. No, they hire her in hopes that people who are drawn to gaze at her breasts will divert their eyes just long enough to read whatever words are floating around beside them. Passing on the photo shoot and merely printing her name on a billboard doesn’t produce the same effect.

Having said all that, I’m sure there is no shortage of people who will get a chuckle out of the billboards. For some, that chuckle will erupt into a guffaw and perhaps they will crash into the car in front of them. And who would a person like that call to have their headlights and bumper replaced? Probably a plastic surgeon.

*I'm assuming that they are using this as a euphemism for breasts. If they're not, no need to read any further.


Anonymous said...

I had no idea that the former Mrs. Rock was a paid endorser of Zara's Collision Service.

Or are they using her name and/or likeness without her knowledge?

Dave said...

I have the same question as AP: How are they getting away with using Plastic Pammy's name?

Anonymous said...

What if they use a non-living celebrity? Like an old photo of Mae West and a caption saying, "Is that a dent in your fender or are you just happy to see me?"