Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mexican Marketing

Greetings from Mexico City! The air is yellowish, the weather balmy and the bouganvilleas are in bloom. The bouganvilleas almost deserve their own post, their colors are so vibrant one thinks one is high on toxic fumes.
Also in bloom, alas, are the odious billboard ads that have made this already aesthetically challenged city (for the most part, let's be honest) into a terrible eyesore. Yesterday, as I inched my way from the airport, I observed the ever growing proliferation of hideously designed billboards. Two of them were deeply scary, though decently designed. A cheese company, whose campaign is directed at longsuffering Mexican mothers, has the following headlines urging the women to buy their dairy products:
1. For your 18 year old baby.
2. For your other son: your husband.
Darlings, my jaw dropped so low and so suddenly it was almost run over by the car behind us.
Indeed, if there ever was Mexican culture in a nutshell, this would have to be it.
Unless I'm mistaken, I did not detect the tiniest hint of irony, sarcasm or humor. The ads are meant to be endearing, full of what advertisers like to call the emotional connection.
Me? I wonder whether Mexicans look at these ads and go: that is exactly right! Men are babies, and mothers and wives treat them as such, and this is not only normal but good and desirable for all concerned. Or they look at this and go, yikes, no wonder we are so fucked up in some departments, such as having mature, sexually healthy lives, for instance.
The 18 year old baby, well we can all live with that, I guess. But the one about your husband being your son, the implications and reverberations are so astoundingly perverse, my jaw is still dropping as we speak.
I wonder how much cheese they're selling. I bet tons.

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