Ad Watch: Come on – customers know better, or they need to!

I’m a huge fan of Michael Kors’ designs and of the designer himself, who adds immeasurably to the enjoyment and educational value of Bravo TV’s “Project Runway” each season.


But a recent Michael by Michael Kors ad had me scratching my head. It’s one thing to see a woman in sky-high shoes ascending the steps onto a private plane, but wearing those shoes on a private yacht is another thing entirely. I checked the item description on the brand’s official web site. Yes, the style of shoes worn by the model is a slingback with a 1 ½” platform and 4 ¾” wooden heels. Yikes! I can almost imagine the yacht owner wincing as those heels meet the polished wood of the deck. Not to mention wondering if a sudden lurch of his rocking boat is going to result in a personal injury lawsuit. 


Incidentally, the two men in the photo, helping the woman with her pristine white bags, are both in flat shoes, one in appropriate sneakers, the other in white loafers. I’m not convinced that the soles of the latter are appropriate for the yacht either, but at least he’s not tottering almost five inches above the deck. 



The model has lovely long legs, which would be equally lovely in some appropriate rubber-soled flat shoes. Or she could be barefoot, dangling her slingbacks from a perfectly manicured hand. We could still see and appreciate the design of her Michael Kors watch, sunglasses, sportswear and handbag without wondering if she is about to pitch over the railing. But as is, you have to wonder if anyone in the scene as staged has a brain.


Will the next photo in the ad series will have the model taking a dip in a pool or the ocean, wearing her Michael Kors jewelry with her Michael Kors chain bikini? I wonder how long the necklace of high-polish goldtone metal over brass or lacquered aluminum chain (or even the goldtone chains holding up that bikini top) will look good after being immersed in chlorine or salt water? Or after being worn on sunscreen-slathered skin?


Posing a model in a swimsuit wearing jewelry seems to be a time-honored approach of jewelers (and their marketers and the media) who are focusing on fantasy. I commented on an Elle magazine spread using that approach back in January. But consider this as you plan your next ad campaign: No woman with half a brain would be out in the sun without sunscreen. And doesn’t the metal get hot to the touch?



Sometimes the fantasy just doesn’t work, and it does nothing for the brand.









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