Filed under: Comment
Many years ago I did some work for a fashion brand that wanted to target pregnant ladies.
OK, so on first glance, I wasn’t exactly the most appropriate person to work on that business … but apart from the fact I had a fantastic planner working on the project with me [Hello, Abby] I was able to offer some objectivity to the proceedings, ensuring we covered both bases of relevance and provocation.
One of the first things I did was put 8 heavily pregnant women in front of a television and get them to watch ‘Runway Mom’s.
Runway Mom’s was a program that followed catwalk models who had become pregnant.
In short, despite having some little parasite living inside them, they were all gorgeous, stick thin [except for a perfectly round bump] and as glam as can be.
No hot flushes.
No arses like a Boeing 747
No dresses that double as Circus tents.
As you would expect, the commentary from the women watching the show – even though I had purposefully introduced the ladies on the program as ‘freaks of genes’ to see if that would help them rationalise how they looked versus how the models looked – were rather eye-opening.
At first it was all good natured … with the odd muttering of phrases like “Lucky cow” ” but what was interesting was after a time, the commentary became more personal, more critical – especially when the women on the show started talking about their health and fitness regimes and routines.
Before long, the women watching the show started questioning whether the Runway Mom’s were giving their unborn children the right nutrition … whether walking up and down runways in heels [even though most of them weren’t] was good – or even safe – for them … some even started saying that because the women on the show were so thin, they were going to experience incredible hard births.
But what I loved the most was that after their verbal attacks, they said stuff like “oh, but they look so radiant” … as if that nullified all the comments they’d said previously.
I’d love to say this all led to something brilliant that we did for the client, but it didn’t – not really, though it did result in us doing some stuff where we targeted the husbands of the pregnant women as well as the women themselves – however what it did do was highlight how inside everyone is a dark side, a side that can be quite easily provoked – and if you can encourage that to come out, you could learn a whole host of things about people … things that not only reflect the counter side of the Disney-esque life that marketing departments seem so keen to present to the World, but it can give you platform to develop an idea that has real infectiousness to it … because as I used to say to my planning colleagues at cynic, anger is energy.
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