Personification

Tonight we happened to see one of those not-especially-appealing Swiffer commercials with the lovelorn dusters/mops/etc. “I hate those commercials,” said S. I don’t care for them either. They remind me of the Febreze commercials with the middle-Americans huffing rooms and furniture and shoes after they’ve been saturated with pleasant-smelling chemicals. Come to think of it, the Glad freezer bag ads with the white mom-lady mugging to music suggestive of the Shaft theme are just about as annoying.

Household products: a marketer’s giant, unsexy bummer.

I already ripped on the Glad ForceFlex campaign, which was taking a slightly different tack. But all these campaigns rely upon situational humor, which one is either disposed to find funny or inclined to be profoundly un-amused by. Guess which camp I fall into.

But I started this entry thinking about personification in advertising (not that you’d know it if you’ve read this far). Often personification is just incredibly off-putting, like those Mucinex mucus creatures, which are, again, not even remotely funny, in addition to being gross. Similarly, there was a campaign a few years ago for some kind of anti-fungal featuring demonic animated creatures that would open toenails like trapdoors and disappear inside. I’d actively avoid those commercials by closing my eyes.

However. Personification can be really fun when done right. I really like the current Weight Watchers campaign, with Hungry personified as a silly, furry orange Domo-esque monster. For the person who wants to lose weight, Hungry can feel like a physical presence, leaping out from behind corners with cookies. These commercials create a visual that looks like it could be overcome. They’re genuinely amusing in part because it’s a soft-sell kind of humor and good-natured in feel.

I see, however, that someone’s produced a plushie Hungry, which is available for purchase. My reaction goes something like this.

Anyhoo, bravo, Weight Watchers, on the ad. Meh on the plushie.

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One response to “Personification

  1. Pingback: Well-shod « Girl of the Golden West

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