Thursday, December 30, 2010

Are women stupid?, or the Tale of the Sad Rich Guy.

I DON'T think women are stupid.

The Lifetime Movie Network might hold this view.

One of my weirder hobbies, not that the internet nurtures this, mind you, is advertising. Advertising changed with the times. Radio ads are different from TV ads, which differ from print ads and...

Men and women get different ads. A football game is shown and while there are certainly no shortage of women football fans, you tend to see ads about shaving cream and trucks. If you look at "The Good Wife" or "The Young and the Restless" here come the lady ads.

Radio ads of old, were by and large, verbal, pretty literal and said the name of the product over and over. Early TV ads tended to be radio ads with cute pictures, as the ad world learned how to use the new medium. By the 1960's the ad world went for more daring concepts, for example the wild ads of Stan Freberg, which sometimes parodied the very idea of advertising, like the Jeno's Ad cigarette ad that seems like a swipe at this Lark's ciggie ad.

By the 1970's while there were certainly some interesting ads, they became more specialized and more targeted to a specific audience. Of late, there are ads that are highly budgeted and/or are extremely funny.

However, the workaday daytime ads for women have not gotten this message. They are still stuck in "this is the product, this is what it does, buy some today" mode.

I am not sure why advertisers consider half the TV population too simple to grasp anything more than an ad that has the subtlety of an '80s heavy metal video. However, as I watch "The Soap Network" (which, I gather, is geared towards women and I watch for the articles, really), I see a NutriSystem ad that is basically a string of home videos of women-just-like-you! who have lost weight. Within the same hour, there was another commercial for eDiets that was a string of testimonials ("What are you waiting for? Call our eDiets hotline and get started, now!" is an actual line from this commercial). Not very subtle, (and by the way, if you're watching this channel you are FAT! FAAAAAAAAAAAT!!!) or the Gerber Life program which was basically a voice and title cards, because PowerPoint presentations SELL, but let's flip over to the Lifetime (which brands itself as "women's entertainment") Movie Network.

I have not watched any of the films I am about to mention but I will give titles and synopses. For me, a title has to grab me or at least be evocative of the contents. It isn't necessary to the success or indicative of the quality of a film, but a good title helps a film along. I might not spend any money to see "The Tale of the Sad Rich Guy" but I do own a DVD of "Citizen Kane". I like the double meaning of "Damages", because we know that lawyer's can sue for damages and we also know that Glenn (or is it Gleen? That is how she is credited on an old "Up With People" album) Close plays a "damaged" character. I might not be as intrigued if it was called "The Evil Attorney". Even the children's book, "Two Bad Ants" has enough titular intrigue to stop me in my tracks. How would an ant misbehave?

LMN is courteous enough to get rid of that subtext thing for all you girls out there! Here is a smattering some of the upcoming movie titles, as of December 30. 2010. All synopses are from the site:

"Fatal Trust" - "After the death of her husband, Kate is looking for solace, so she moves in with her sister in a small rural community. Trying to get back on her feet, she takes a job at a doctor's office. But peace of mind is hard to find when the patients keep turning up dead! After some serious snooping, Kate discovers that the esteemed doctor is actually a complete psychopath who kills his prey with snake venom -- and if she isn't careful, she may be his next victim!"

By the way, men can be sleuths, detectives, muckrakers, etc. Women "snoop".

"Don't Talk To Strangers" - "Jane has divorced her husband (the creepy Terry O'Quinn of "Lost"), taken their son and embarked on a new life with a new man (handsome 007, Pierce Brosnan). Starting fresh is just the thing to help her be happy again, but her scorned ex has other plans -- namely, stalking and terrorizing her! Luckily, her new love, Mr. Tall Dark & Handsome, is determined to protect her, as they try to escape her ex's terror and put him behind bars. Fun!"

Whew. For a second, I was concerned who I was rooting for.

"Engaged to Kill" - "Abby's overjoyed that her 19-year-old daughter has found herself the perfect boyfriend in Nick — or so she thought! Turns out Nick has been counting the days till he could get revenge on Abby because of some mysterious grudge. Will Abby catch on to this madman's scheme before it's too late?"

Revenge and a grudge don't necessarily a madman make. Neither does thirteen soap sculptures of Tom Hanks with the eyes gouged out in my...SOMEONE'S basement mean anything.

The latest film that is being hyped on site is "The Craigslist Killer", which, if the above trend is adhered to is either about people that are lured by a killer using a popular internet site OR it's about people bartering via word of mouth and church bulletin boards.

I think women deserve better. So does Sarah Aswell who wrote reviews of LMN movies.

In Lifetime's defense, there is also the Spike Network...