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Friday, June 1, 2007

Forget Axe, chicks dig Haggar.

Look, they never have, and they never will. Now, let’s talk sexual harrassment. Sweet. This is another in a series of Crispin spots for Haggar with Pete and Red. (Clips are on the right of their site.) After seeing the first one about a father tossing his young punk son through a window, then this, I have to think every single thing they do has to have some kind of kink to it. (Even the restrained Do> campaign.) Haggar needed updating, don’t get me wrong. The casual feel to the site redesign helps. (For the young punks out there, Haggar was this stale, Johnny Carson-like brand only available back then at the bastion of fashion: Sears.)

But there’s polarizing and then there’s wtf. Old Spice got a recent facelift with attitude and it works. Here, it’s like it’s ok to trivialize harassment. I know pretty much every societal taboo has been exploited in either reality show form or thorugh advertising. And, because it’s women doing it in this case, that’s supposed to be ok then. But why reinforce the behavior–no matter what side it comes from. Not trying to be PC, and I may be way overthinking this one, but what was the intent here? That if the issue is brought to light and we joke about it enough, somehow, there will be less of a stigma attached to it?

Yeah. Michael Richards thought t
hat approach worked real well with the N word too.



RFB said...

It would suck to have to sell Haggar, the uncoolest of uncool clothing, to an audience of aging frat boys and pranksters. What can Crispy Pretencious + Bogus do?

I think they are just being honest about the nature of men and women, turning it on its head and making light of it. Fact is, guys would love to be harrassed. These guys are supposed to be your buds who get it, like the friends of Steve Carrell's character in 40 Year Old Virgin, and they're winking at you on the whole sexual harrassment in the workplace thing. It's never happened to you - and it never will. So settle down, be cool, and start wearing some comfortable, albeit fashionably hideous clothes.

Also, this lengthy little piece was on their site. If it's been cut to a :30 and showing on network, that's another story. Like to see that version. I'm sure the ladies' comments have been cut considerably.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, it’s a :30 with the women acting like every male hound in most every office. That’s where I first saw it. I get the background and the appeal as you explained it. It just felt like Crispin will never do tasteful. Not sure why. (And I LOVE the Miller High Life series. That shit was dead-on without resorting to cheap tricks. (And I know CP resigned the biz but apparently where those ‘Take back the High Life’ spots ran, sales were up.)

RFB said...

You've got a point - Crispin is stuck in WTF mode. Can't recall a tasteful thing out of that shop. When you're bandied about in the press as the hip place, I guess you start to believe it and then find yourself stuck in that mode. Time to take off those bracelets - WWCP+BD - and start "thinking outside the box" they built for themselves as they were trying so hard to "think outside the box."

Anonymous said...

Hey all.

Glad a lot of people enjoyed this stuff. Bob C and I had a blast writing these spots/films. And Gorman shot the hell out of them. Red’s character is actually based on my dad… he’s gotten a kick out of it for sure.

I think Jetpacks pretty much nailed the intent of the spot when he wrote “Fact is, guys would love to be harassed.” And yeah, it’s all in good fun—these guys know they’re never *really* going to get this kind of reaction, but we make the point that any man’s going to look good in our suits.

One thing: Bill, I think the comparison to Michael Richards using the N word is unfair. If we showed men harassing women, then I’d agree with you. But we’ve turned the convention of sexual harassment on its head, and it’s pretty hyperbolic. So certainly, there’s a difference.

Just my two cents.

(Also: Glad you dug the High Life stuff. I was the writer on some of that work too. If you’re ever out in Boulder, buzz me and we’ll grab lunch.)

--John Reid from CP+P

Anonymous said...

Hey John, someone from Crispin actually reads this blog? Shit. Now I look like the blogger with foot in mouth.


But, let me clarify the N-word comment. Richards, in his post-fiasco excuse PR blitz, came off as someone trying explain to his repeated use of the word was somehow making it more acceptable, as if saying it that many times somehow made it lose its negative meaning, (beyond the term of affection reserved when used by someone who’s black towards another.)

So in that regard, I sense that same tone present with the women and their behaviour, that somehow, if you make light of it, it will lessen the sting. (I could be off, you wrote the spot and know what you intended, but that's just my impression as an outsider. It’s not that I’m publicly dissing it, it’s just definitely something/an issue I would have brought up with the writer if I was working on the concept/spot with them.) A lot of my bitching on this blog comes off like I hate stuff at times and that I’m being a dick, but it’s just me raising issues/bringing up stuff that I would if I was in the brainstorms and creative meetings.

Jetpacks may be right, it's the double standard for guys, in that we don't mind the attention like that. Just seems like with all the focus brought to bear on that issue these past few years, that making light of it seems like it hurts the cause. (Feels like every dysfunction people have is now in a commercial or reality show, from suicide to anorexia.)

And that your dad got a kick out of the spot, I think mine would too. The spot seems to bring home the type of ‘discipline zeitgeist’ my 'greatest generation' dad would’ve loved, but that these days, would land a parent in jail. Yeah, I know it's an ad where we can pretend, but the feeling seems to go against how me and this generation of younger boomers have raised their kids–or have been allowed to by the PC police.

(Timeouts, no spanking, express your feelings, etc.) That sentiment seems to fight–at least in my whacked mind–the sentiment that spot gives off, and I’m the first to use expressions like “these young punks today....”

Also, I would love to stop by anytime. HR keeps losing my res there for some reason though, maybe it just got buried on their desk?


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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