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.