Thursday, August 03, 2006

FBO: 'Failure Growing in Importance'

FAILURE is a growing part of our culture, our life. No where is this more obvious than in the growing trend seen in the past half-decade in TV commercials. About half are 'promoted' by 'misfits' and ironic heroes, such as the patronizing use of pudgy ethnic men (eg Indian) with moustaches and thick glass lenses and the inability to articulate sentences, sometimes standing helplessly before 'product' with the buzz of a fluorescent light bulb in the background. Another recent ad campaign -- of a bald man with glasses -- is holding for some service's telephone customer service -- having to say his password ('big boy') on a train just before he goes under a tunnel and loses the connection.

Advertising and marketing departments are banking that you will LAUGH at these people.

The new Red Stripe campaign is the biggest failure of all. It's a failed attempt at 'failure for irony' ad. In it, unlikely things happen -- a dorky guy oohs over the bare feet a man stretched out on a table. A presumably Jamaican man with a big smile appears in an all-white suit and proclaims 'creepy foot doctor: bad... hooray beer!' while holding a bottle of Red Stripe. It does not work on any level. In another he consoles a man sitting peacefully. 'You are very ugly.' Then hands him a Red Stripe. 'Now you are beautiful.... hooray beer!' It's possibly revolutionary failure, or a bad director who doesn't 'get' the failure aesthetic. The FBO suspects the latter.

For the moment, a definition is needed. There are three types of failure: Failing at earnest desires to do well (as shown by FBO members in their initial incarnations), failing on purpose to create humour ('big boy' commercial), and failing at failing on purpose to create humor (Red Stripe).

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

No comments: