06 August 2006

I think I'm getting a headache

Towards the end of May, I posted an item about an article in Slate by Michael Idov. Here's another article in Slate which is worth a detour. It is by Seth Stevenson and he describes at some length his reactions to seeing the TV spot for Head On - a 10 second commercial promoting a perfumed stick for topical application on the forehead.

Here's a flavour:

"When I first saw this ad, I was convinced it was a viral prank. Everything about it—the woman serenely rubbing stuff on her forehead; the lack of explanation as to what this stuff is; and, of course, the mind-numbing repetition of that weird catchphrase—just seemed too bizarre to be an actual commercial for an actual product. When I logged on to HeadOn.com, I expected a jokey Web site that would eventually redirect me to a promotion for Burger King or Axe deodorant or something."

Even if you don't find his humour sufficiently beguiling to encourage you to read the original, there is still a reason to follow the link because he sets out quite clearly what Head On is doing in its TV spots which many advertisers deliberately avoid: repetition, kitsch, mystery and ubiquity.

His final analysis:

"Grade: A+. And I haven't even touched on yet another powerful theory: These ads give viewers headaches, thus spurring demand."

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