This ad scores where most fail: it draws our attention. But do the ad’s creators, the local firm Becker and Calliott, rely a little too heavily on sex appeal?
Ad Report Card:
This is the first installment of a monthly series where we critique local ads.
The spot, seen below, is for Monument Square, a development of $500,000 townhouses and condos on the corner of Monument Avenue and Willow Lawn. The ad features a coquettish woman perhaps in her mid 40s bathing and sipping chardonnay. She doesn’t have that Mom haircut most women tend to sport by this age. The copy suggests that this vixen is a new breed of fox lurking in Richmond.
This ad scores where most fail: it draws our attention. That’s apparent by the fact that I cut it out. But do the ad’s creators, the local firm Becker and Calliott, rely a little too heavily on sex appeal? The come-hither look on this vixen’s mug, and the absence of a wedding ring, suggests she has been around the Square a few times – and that might not be the right message for “empty nesters.” Maybe she just watched “The Graduate.”
Let’s look at some of the details.
Why is she sipping wine in the bathtub? Do women really do this outside of the movies? (Side note: drinking wine in bathtub = classy; making wine in a bathtub = redneck) More likely, she should be walking home from the nearby Chipotle with a tasty burrito.
But while the photo is attention-grabbing, the copy to the left of her elegant appendage spoils the mood.
Savvy and sophisticated: What does that mean? Savvy means shrewd. What does that have to do with buying a condo? Did she haggle down on the price because of the current liquidity crunch? That’s what a savvy buyer would be doing right now. Sophisticated – perhaps she splurged for granite counter tops?
Lives on the Avenue: Since when do people call Monument Avenue “The Avenue”? That neighborhood is squarely middle class. I’ll start calling it the Avenue when VCU starts calling itself “The University.”
Loves life and architecture: Sounds like something George Castanza would say.
Won’t touch yard work: So she’s elitist, too.
Her natural habitat: Again with the animalistic theme. Does she belong to a recently discovered species or genus?
Grade: B. The layout is appealing and the concept sound. Even if most folks looking to move into a condo have white hair and kids in college, this is how empty nesting moms wish they looked. But the naked bather might be risky for a housing development, and this ad slathers the “new breed” metaphor rather thick.