Mavericks’ advertising: makes advertising sense.

So, there’s this advertising campaign. Mavericks to be exact (a Gentlemen’s club aka strip club). I picked up a copy of 48 Hours and saw a leg of their print campaign on the cover. A seductive picture accompanied by the copy “I was working late” was the advertising for Mavericks’ new fragrance Alibis.

I initially totally rejected this campaign: its concept, delivery and insinuation. I considered the scenario where the wife’s pulling her hair out convinced her husband is cheating every time he says that universally infamous line: I was working late.

While I’ll never have a husband to accuse of cheating, I felt offended by the audacity of Mavericks: to take advantage of the cliché of distracted, dishonest partners who find themselves end up at Mavericks after a long day.

After the surge of emotion had calmed down, I considered the position of Mavericks as a business. (I won’t go into trying to determine if Mavericks provides a service or product).

I considered the position of this business in today’s time: its competing with the same product provided online. What about a strip club is different to what you can see online? I’m not going to pretend to understand what draws a man to a strip club (said man and I may have the same interests, but we differ in enjoying the presentation) – but what I will consider is the bold business move of the establishment.

Mavericks have not ruffled, but have set fire to the feathers of every feminist, wife, girlfriend and maybe even some of the husbands. But in this daring move, they have revived and reinvented their brand: ‘Mavericks is daring; we push the limits, the boundaries. Come and see for yourself.’ In essence, Mavericks have redesigned their invite to the public. They haven’t imported super-stripping-women from Stripping Heaven – they are the same women as last week. But now they are Mavericks’ women: new and improved through simple but effective advertising.

I am still offended by the campaign. It’s offside. It is disabling to the spouse trying to understand their counterpart’s distance or absence. It robs said spouse of completely believing the working late excuse and promotes cracking the foundation of the (albeit fractured) world we live in.

But – as offensive as I find the campaign; as much as I reject its sentiment, insinuation, existence (and incredibly poor art direction), I cannot deny its advertising intelligence. Mavericks pulled the age-old advertising stunt: any publicity is good publicity. They stepped on some toes and crept under some skin: which is what their mere existence as an establishment does by default anyway.

Perhaps Mavericks just reminded Cape Town that they’re still around. And through this advertising campaign, sent them street directions to come and check it out for themselves.

Controversial Advertising: is there any other kind?

Since I’ve paused my tour of Cape Town’s art scene (not that excited to pause it, but I must prioritise), I have been looking into some of the advertising campaigns in the world. I’m never one to sit still. It’s annoying sometimes (for me, and I’m sure the people around me). But I am where I love to be, and it’s grand. 😉

Nonetheless, after some basic scoping on the online scene, I found some interestingly controversial adverts. Mainly in the print media (as bandwidth for videos will be the end of me), there are some exceptionally edgy marketing strategies out there. This made me consider the personality behind advertising. Perhaps this links to a recent paper I wrote on the artist, Damien Hirst, and how he emerged as a modern artist: does he function as an artist or is he merely the product of a great marketing plan by Charles Saatchi? This discussion then lent itself to the positioning of art as a concept…etc etc etc etc etc.

With no discrimination to time, location or brand, these three adverts have caught my attention (I personally like the first one and the last one. Without controversy, how are advertisers supposed to catch AND KEEP our attention?)

1. 2006 Nike campaign

>>Rooney fractured the base of his 4th metatarsal before the 2006 World Cup finals, but he made a full recovery in time to play at the World Cup. Therefore, some notable British journalists claimed that Nike cynically portrayed Rooney part Woden, the Anglo-Saxon god of war, part the suffering but triumphant Christ. According to them, “Nike has exploited him almost as blatantly as it is alleged to exploit its laborers in the Third World who make its costly footwear.”<<

2. United Colors of Benetton – Angel and Demon

>>The Italian master of shockvertising created in 1991 unprecedented controversy with the “Angel and Devil” campaign. The ad portrays a moral conflict, symbolized by an angel – a white girl with blonde curly hair, blue eyes –  and the devil – an Afro American girl whose hair looks similar to devilish horns. The gap in the middle of the front teeth is a sign of wisdom, beauty, happiness and fertility in many parts of the world. It is called les dents du bonheur, teeth of happiness. This makes the white girl look even more innocent and angelic.<<

3.  Corporate Chhattisgarh – Martyr

>>Ogilvy’s advertising campaign was sponsored by Corporate Chhattisgarh, a monthly corporate magazine. The shocking ad questions the faith-based terrorism and the role played by religion in rewarding and justifying it.

If faith can truly move mountains, doesn’t using RDX to massacre mere humans denote a certain lack of faith?” and “Just what if after the successful completion of your suicide bombing mission you discover God doesn’t exist?” are the messages of the other two ads of the campaign developed by Ogilvy & Mather India.  Touching, powerful copy and brilliant art direction!<<

description of adverts (text) and images sourced: