Demented p.r. pitches, absurd ad copy

Recently the admirable Margalit Fox has been posting on Facebook a series “Demented P.R. Pitch of the Day” (Margalit seems to read more of her nonsense mail than I do). I’ll give the two most recent examples and then turn to some long-standing advertising themes in my own postings: absurd ad copy for premium men’s underwear and for gay porn. (So, yes, in the second case there will be some incidental sex talk.)

(Note: I refer to Margali Fox by her first name because we’re acquaintances — and both linguists.)

A photo of MF by Ivan Farkas:


A posting of mine of 11/21/14 has a section on her and her work, both the many wonderful obits for the New York Times and her two books on language-related subjects.

But on to the demented p.r. pitches. #2, on 2/14:

Imagine if all of a sudden the spigot of wealthy foreigners and their cash was somehow choked off from the American real estate market? There is no doubt that the country’s real estate market would crumble.

I would love to introduce you to __ , a Manhattan based international real estate attorney, who for over 20 years, represented international high-net worth investors, world leaders and foreign billionaires in private equity, commercial, and residential real estate transactions.

__ [is] more than happy to talk about whether Donald Trump’s foreign policies so far are derailing the American real estate market. …

The first question here is: Why Margalit?

(I realize now that I do get regular e-mail from people asking me to join them in “exciting business opportunities” — but nothing as elaborate, and indirect, as the pitch above.)

Then #3, from 2/17:

Hello Margalit!

I hope you are well and having a great week! I wanted to personally connect with you to see if I can schedule a time for you to interview __ from Shark Tank and product development expert, __ . …

This is timely because they just came out with the book __, which … is filled with step by step instructions to give a winning pitch that may just land you a spot in the Shark Tank.

Become The Person Of Influence
Real Life Behind The Scenes Of Shark Tank
Insider Tips Of How To Get On Shark Tank …
How Not To Blow Your Funding Before You’re On The Market
On my end I will handle the logistics of the interview and ensure we promote to our thousands of followers on social media.
Eager to hear your thoughts! I am open to any suggestions you have for the interview.

To understand this at all, you have to know this:

Shark Tank is an American reality television series that premiered on August 9, 2009, on ABC. The show is a franchise of the international format Dragons’ Den, which originated in Japan in 2001. Shark Tank shows aspiring entrepreneur-contestants as they make business presentations to a panel of “shark” investors, who then choose whether or not to invest. (Wikipedia link)

I’m pretty sure Margalit has never expressed any sort of interest in being on Shark Tank — but then the spam comments on this blog (well over 5 million so far) have recently included a whole bunch advertising erotic massage in Bucharest (yes, Bucharest, Romania). If I wanted erotic massage, I’d hire a guy on the SF Peninsula, and would not be enticed by a young woman in Bucharest.

Again, a striking fact about the pitches that Margalit gets is how elaborate they are — way beyond “I would like to talk with you about a mutual business opportunity” or “I am young Russian girl in your neighborhood and want to know you better”.

In the world of underwear. Specifically, premium men’s underwear companies, which advertise to an upscale international audience, many of whom are gay men, so they’re trying to balance appeals to the comfortable and sensuous feel of the goods (for men in general) and to raw sexiness (for gay men in particular), while covering these with a veneer of high purpose, artistry, scientific design, and snob appeal. That gives us things like the following, from a posting yesterday:

CODE 22 is an expression of defining men’s underwear and sportswear design. It gives meaning to the words balance, confidence and masculinity. CODE 22 is a concept born from the spirit of innovation and created for men who are in need of minimal yet elegant creations.

the p.r. copy for premium men’s underwear tends to be profoundly serious: elevated and sweeping, both grandiose and worshipful in tone. And therefore risible. I mean: funny as hell.

Especially funny since the high-toned copy is paired with images of extremely hot nearly naked men looking conspicuously masculine (and, usually, seductive). So we get a disjuncture between the carnal draw of visible fantasy bodies plus almost-visible dicks and little faux-philosophical treatises on the higher nature of men’s underwear. The point, of course, is to engage men’s identification with or desire for the models in the ads — that sells underwear — while soothing their anxieties over these feelings.

Not all the ads have text as absurd as this one, but a great many do. An evergreen source of entertainment, for me, anyway.

All agog at gay porn. In the case of advertising copy for gay porn, there’s little anxiety to allay — prospective buyers are well-disposed towards the product, are probably always on the lookout for it. The copywriter’s job is to convince them that this particular flick will do the trick for them, to entice them with hot copy, copy that’s crude, thick with sex, and itself arousing, but that also plugs into their previous experiences jacking off to porn: this is just the sort of thing you like, buddy (an appeal to familiarity), but even better than what you’ve had (an appeal to freshness). Your favorite stuff, but new and improved!

This means that unless you can find unbiased reviews, you won’t learn much about a flick from the ads, since they’re always (way) over the top with enthusiastic positives, descriptions of hot bodies, thumbnail accounts of hot man-on-man action, and lots of (often conventional) porn talk. What you can learn from the ads is the special interests a flick caters to: black guys, military men, lots of anal, watersports, t-rooms, bareback, cute twinks, gangbangs, huge cocks, romance, whatever. Beyond that, every ad tells you, shouts at you, that the action is hot hot hot. (In actuality, there’s a huge range of craft in gay porn, so that the copy can easily lead a gay lad astray, suck him into buying a video that’s mostly a stinker, except maybe for one serviceable scene.)

My most recent posting on gay porn, on the 18th, about Stud Finder (great name), quotes a breathless piece of ad copy, with interpolated comments of mine:

Got hung? You need to find some wood and steel, and you need it soon. Hold the tool in your hand and guide it carefully until it hits the spot… [a little forest of phallic vocabulary] or just let TitanMen Trenton Ducati and Hunter Marx be your Stud Finders, leading the charge as a group of utility players get sweatier and hornier by the second. A basement workshop heats up as Hunter Marx and Will Swagger [hard to beat as a porn name] take turns sucking each other before the hairy Hunter plows his bud’s hole. After a passionate suck exchange, buddies Ford Andrews and Jed Athens are soon under the spell of alpha-stud Trenton Ducati, whose energy takes control. Handyman Race Cooper’s ass is too much for co-worker Stany Falcone to resist; watch the duo’s tight abs and muscled bods glisten as they get breathless together. [glisten is a great porn verb]

For the genre, this is relatively restrained. Points worth noting, beyond the ones above: sweatier and hornier, the hairy Hunter, plows, suck exchange, alpha-stud, tight abs, muscled bods, breathless. No one talks like this in eveyday conversation; it’s in a special porn register. And since the porn talk is so thick and dense, it’s absurd, and funny.

Many earlier examples on this blog and AZBlogX. Not a lot of guidance for the discerning shopper, but thoroughly enoyable.

One Response to “Demented p.r. pitches, absurd ad copy”

  1. stavinchain Says:

    Trenton Ducati works both sides of the street. The Ducati brand of motorcycle renders his name memorable.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: