Today my lovely bride and I went to the mall to get me some new clothes. I’ve lost 26 pounds in the last 60 days, which made my slacks a bit saggy, so she insisted. On our way back to the car, we walked past Victoria’s Secret (which, in case you didn’t know, is a place where women go to purchase frilly covers for their naughty bits).
Victoria’s Secret is in the habit of plastering their storefront with skyscraper sized posters of happy-go-lucky underwear models, photographically frozen in various poses specifically staged to not look staged. Whenever we pass this store, I make it a point to look the other way, while my wife makes a point of making sure I look the other way. But today, one poster in particular annoyed her more than usual. Once we were safely in the car, she asked me:
“Did you see the model eating cake?”
“Um… no. I was looking at a girl holding a puppy.” (puppies are safe – right?)
“She was eating cake – in her underwear. Who eats cake in their underwear!?!?”
I didn’t bother to tell my wife that I’ve eaten cake in my underwear, but that was when I was 26 pounds heavier, and she was in the other room.
Then a thought crossed my mind. The question is not, “Who eats cake in their underwear?” The question is, “What 46 and a half-pound, six foot-four inch underwear model eats cake at all???”
The answer is marketing.
Work with me here. The answer is marketing.
The goal of marketing is to get people to buy a product. To do that, you want to make that product look as attractive as possible – which is why Victoria’s Secret took a picture of a 46 and a half-pound, six foot-four inch model eating cake in her underwear, instead of – well, me – eating cake in mine.
The improbability of a scrawny model eating cake at all, much less eating it while laughing lightheartedly and wearing only her unmentionables makes no difference to the advertising geniuses who dreamed up the shot.
What matters to them is the message they’re sending to potential customers:
Buy our products, and not only will you look like her – but you’ll get cake, too!
Ever see a Budweiser commercial?
Ever see anybody in a Budweiser commercial with more than 2% body fat?
Ever see anybody in a Budweiser commercial who was not having the best time of their life, while dancing in the street with all their 2% body fat friends, and drinking arguably one of the nastiest tasting mass-produced beers on the planet?
I didn’t think so.
There again, the answer is marketing.
Drink our skunky beer, and you too can have 2% body fat and join our endless street party!
Don’t believe me?
Try this exercise, then. Imagine any Victoria’s Secret or Budweiser commercial you like, but replace the skinny models with Jabba the Hut, or the happy partiers with a tattooed crowd of overweight, drunken rugby fans.
Sometimes a product won’t sell in the real world. When that happens, marketing has the answer.
Let them eat cake! In their underwear!