Ad Watch: Grains of Sand Where?

One can almost hear the advertising teams in their brainstorming sessions… how do we make our client’s product seasonally relevant as summer approaches? Let’s think… the sun, the sea, yes, the beach rocks.


Paging through the May 2008 issue of Elle magazine, one hits, in sequence,


(1) a model languorously lollygagging about on the beach in full makeup and pale skin without gleam of sunscreen, leaning on one arm, her hand anchoring her in the sand, wearing an evening gown, elaborate diamond and pearl ring and mega-length strand of pearls as the sun gets close to setting (assuming a West Coast perspective),


immediately followed by


(2) a close-up of a young woman in full makeup with a lavish amount of coarse sand sticking to her arms and hands between and around her stack of stone-studded bangles and tiered ring, the ocean visible in the background.


What’s next – what could be worse – a watch photographed in the sand? I muse. Only a few pages later, there it is:


(3) a photo of a watch superimposed on a shot of a pastel-hued beach. At least the beach is only used as background. To the manufacturer’s credit, no young woman wears the steel and diamond concoction on a sand-encrusted wrist.


This is not magazine editorial. These are advertisements. All these ads appear before one reaches the credit pages of the magazine issue.


It’s time for another reality check. Living near the beach as I do, one gets to know that a grain of sand somewhere it doesn’t belong can be most annoying if not painful or downright destructive. There’s a reason these ads don’t show the models’ feet in chic strappy sandals. Pity the advertisers don’t think their jewelry deserves better care.

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