I live in a perpetual snow day now
But my ads are keeping me warm
Hello hello! This newsletter is coming you straight from SNOW DAY NUMBER THREE // DAY NUMBER FIVE HOME WITH CHILDREN! *** I’m a New Englander who loves snow and also loves the occasional snow day, butttttttttttt three in a row (with power outages and internet outages) is a bit much. Phrases I’m tired of hearing include: “Stop it!” “_____ hit me!” “It’s MY turn!” Conspiratorial giggles and loud crashes are similarly wreaking havoc on my badly-frayed nerves. I am also sick to death of hearing myself hiss any variety of 80s mom exhortations (“Shhhhh!” “Because I said so!” “Stop fighting!” “Figure it out yourselves!”)
Thank heavens for silly ads though, for their ability to transport me from soggy mittens and infinite complaints from “bored” children while ostensibly trying (and, in the case of the below case study, utterly failing) to sell me shit.
The ads below are my favorite kind of Silly Instagram Ads mostly because of their Holy Grail Claims. Holy Grail Claims might be any of the following:
The only serum you’ll ever need.
The one cleaning product that does it all.
The pair of jeans you’ll never want to take off.
The sweater you won’t be able to live without.
The Mommy and Me dresses destined to be family heirlooms.
The hair elastic that will pay your taxes, walk your dog, and reignite your sex life.
Basically, any product designed to address one very specific need that promises it will also run for president and cure cancer is sure to star in an ad featuring Holy Grail Claims.
Often these claims offer a two-in-one sort of deal, promising to fulfill two distinct needs. In this case, the not-shiny-in-an-appealing-way top will make you look hot “super flattering” while also concealing you “hide my extra weight.” The ad presents these two things as being diametrically opposed when they are in fact achieving one identical goal: to abide by diet culture and adhere to western beauty ideals. “Super flattering” is code for “draws attention to body parts I like and distracts from body parts I dislike.” And if we break it down even further, “body parts I like” are most likely to be body parts that more or less conform to racist, sexist body/beauty ideals, and “body parts I dislike” are body parts that more or less don’t conform to those same racist, sexist, body/beauty ideals. So far, I hate this ad!
Here’s the next slide! Which is just as bad as the first slide but in a different way? It’s the same bizarrely plastic-y top but this time, we can buy the ugly top not only cozily complicit in our own body-shaming and internalized (or not) fat-phobia, but also because we aspire to gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss in the name of a toxic white feminist ideology/fantasy. Cool, cool, cool, cool, cool, cool.
The last slide in this real joy of an Instagram story showcases the shirt in a color that can only be described as “middle school cafeteria linoleum” and the texture is so oddly sheeny I can only assume its actually an animated garment. Anyway, this ad stands out for its shameless consumeristic rabidity. It’s not enough to buy ONE clay-animation shirt, the ideal consumer (who hates her body and also wants to succeed by disempowering and abusing folks on her way to girlboss nirvana) should buy not two, not five versions of a shirt that may or may not be powered by CGI, but ELEVEN VERSIONS OF SAID SHIRT. Bonus points for the totally fake exclusivity and scarcity marketing (“limited edition”).
Lol this is a totally different and completely unrelated ad, but 1) it’s been stalking me despite me having no clue what it’s trying to sell me (I refuse to google because I am trying to retain life’s mysteries), 2) it popped up after the Plastic Shirt ad which for whatever reason made me laugh, and 3) the model’s facial expression perfectly replicates my facial expression after viewing the prior three slides.
More ad content!
*** Tomorrow’s forecast: