Don’t use that tone of voice with me!

On finishing a delicious Doris and Bertie power lunch from itsu yesterday, I was confronted with this image…

…and this one…

…and this one…

They’re what Naomi Wolf once described as “beauty porn”: pictures of women, aimed at women. And designed to make us all feel rubbish about our wobbly bits.

What made them all the more alarming was that they were accompanied by this nauseating bit of baby speak:

Like the pics, the infantilised tone of voice seems primarily aimed at the body-conscious woman. Whoever wrote it must be the only person on the planet who hasn’t noticed that Innocent-style “wackaging” is deeply annoying and the subject of mainstream ridicule.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on here.

Those photos
Don’t know about you, ladies, but I regularly shower with my girlfriends. And isn’t it every girl’s idea of fun to head to the beach with eight other women for a spot of competitive ab-flaunting, masquerading as female bonding?

Here’s how it happened:

Client: Can we have some nice pics to go on our boxes? Something aspirational, perhaps? Something that conveys healthy living?

Agency: How about we fly our overpaid middle-aged photographer and art director to Brazil* with a group of women half their age? That’ll be £50K.

“Eat Beautiful”
Eat is a verb (a “doing” word). Beautiful is an adjective (a “describing” word). Here, though, “beautiful” is being used as if it were a noun (a “person, place or thing” word).

For most of us, nounifying an adjective makes you sound like a child who hasn’t quite grasped the underlying structure of the language.

But in Ad Land, it allows you to triple your fee because of your creative way with words. That’s why it’s everywhere.

“Once Upon a Time”
Time for your bed time story, little girl! And to make sure you get it, we’re going to use Capital Letters To Underscore The Point.

Here’s how it happened:

Client: Should we fill that white space on the bottom of the sushi box with anything?

Agency: That’s not a white space – that’s an opportunity for storied branding. We’ll engage your customers in your company mythos by identifying your tribe, bringing them to your corporate campfire and aligning them around your narrative touchpoints. That’ll be another thirty grand.

“itsu fit-su pot-su fitsu”
I’ve no idea how this random bit of toddler-talk made it past a first draft. A satirical contribution by the agency’s one female copywriter, perhaps? We’d follow it up with:

itsu fit-su WTFsu?
itsu fit-su I feel sick-su
itsu fit-su, gets on my t…

The bit about Pink Floyd’s “breathtaking” music…
When Pink Floyd were making their “breathtaking” music, every one of those Brazilian beach babes was at least three decades away from being born.

But “the Floyd” (as he no doubt likes to call them) is the favourite band of some middle-aged male involved in the writing process. For how else would this slightly creepy daddy’s voice suddenly intrude into all the toddler-talk?

The bit about itsu not selling cheesy baguettes, cakes, butter, gloopy sauces, mayonnaise and naughty gunks
Here, read: “For all the above, head over to the branch of our sister company Pret a Manger across the road. That’s where you’ll find all the big brawny boys with their big blokey bellies (and some very naughty girls who don’t have time to police their teeny tiny tum tums).”

Healthier & happier solutions
Either they mean the miso soup or “solutions” crept in when the copy was run by someone from corporate.

Big smile, small tummy
Yes, this was lifted almost word for word from one of Harry Enfield’s “Stupidlosophy” range (“infantile cards for the adult idiot”).

*We’ve cropped it, but a Brazilian flag appears in the photo of the showering babes.

10 comments so far . . . come and pitch in!

  1. jestyn says:

    It’s particularly telling that, as you point out, they can’t quite get it right.
    The Floyd reference and the “Solutions” simply remove any authenticity which just might have rescued this drivel.

    This is the point about why the launch of Innocent was so successful – they really meant it…

  2. Mc says:

    Wow, that’s bad. Nice – and well-deserved – takedown.

  3. Lucifer Sam says:

    “But “the Floyd” (as he no doubt likes to call them) is the favourite band of some middle-aged male involved in the writing process.”

    Says you. Nice one for playing up to a middle-aged dad rock stereotype. You assume that the writer is male, to the chagrin of any female and/or non-middle aged Pink Floyd fans.

    “A satirical contribution by the agency’s one female copywriter, perhaps?”

    Do you happen to know who wrote this? If not, why are you assuming that they’ve got only one female copywriter?

    In your attempt to trash the assumptions Itsu’s making here you don’t have serve up a few of your own. Nice try morons.

  4. Lucifer Sam says:

    *half. Whatever. You’re still wrong.

  5. Liat says:

    Triple ick!!!! Great post.

  6. Michael says:

    If you made a biscuit into the shape of the word “beautiful” and then consumed it with your little finger raised, would you be eating beautiful beautifully.
    I think I’ve overdosed on coffee.

  7. Paul Eveleigh says:

    Ho hum. “Tastier, healthier and happier solutions”. “Naughty gunks”. No specifics.

    Worse, no benefits hit you between the eyes. Just bland, boring copy.

    And copy cursed with random capitals. “Eat Beautiful”, “Once Upon a Time”.

    Stupid people paying people to write and produce rubbish. Sad, eh?

  8. Cathy Cleary says:

    Clare, you have hit another one right out of the park as they say in baseball. “itsu fit-su WTFsu?” – indeed! Ha! Ha! Ha!

  9. Can you spot the social responsibility in this copy? No, I couldn’t either. I’m ready for this kind of ignorance to die out.

  10. Robert says:

    My vision is returning, now that the tears have stopped flowing after I read “itsu fit-su WTFsu?”

    Might this all be merely an unfortunate misunderstanding? Might they instead be stewarding another ultra-chic wave of punctuation suppression?

    In this instance, they went just a bit too experimental by omitting the comma between Eat and Beautiful.

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