Category Archives: This is not an advert

Anorexia advert – thin on substance


The ‘no anorexia’ advert being bandied around Milan during fashion week is a hit for fashion brand Nolito. Nolito, who are they? Ever heard of them? Now my fashion nous could easily be trumped by a precocious eleven year old ‘Cosmo Girl’, but I haven’t heard of them either.

Obscure no longer, their advert has them glowing in the world spotlight of international controversy. And if the desired effect is achieved, they’ll be merrily dancing to the rising ching-ching of their cash machine.

I’m not being unkind. If this fashion label’s intent was truly altruistic, why mix a community message with an opportunity to boost their profile? Surely there is ample (sorry) chance to take some truly positive action against anorexia behind the scenes? But ah, in fashion it’s all about the limelight.

A company spokesperson declared that it was their intent “to use the naked body to show everyone the reality of this illness, caused in most cases by the stereotypes imposed by the world of fashion”. Ah ha. I personally don’t find the images that shocking. Which is shocking in itself. Perhaps my conditioning to relate the skinny female form as normal, desirable, has been a resounding success? Or is it because Isabelle Caro’s fashion pose, courtesy of photographer Oliviero Toscani, isn’t distinguishable enough from typical fashion imagery? Think heroin chic. The image is meant to subvert. But I find it a little too similar to be subversive.

And who are they targeting? People with illness often fail to recognise their problem. Many anorexia sufferers would not identify themselves with Ms Caro. Some may even aspire to be like her.


Cocktail Umbrella

If ever there was an example of a complete waste of resources, energy and money, then this would have to be it:
Cocktail Umbrella

A perfectly functionless device. A mere decorative item. Constructed of paper, cardboard and toothpicks. For extra cuteness, it actually opens and closes.

No one knows who we can blame for this. It came into circulation in the 1930s and 40s courtesy of Don the Beachcomber restaurants, but we don’t know where Donn bought them from.

There was a brief flirtation with the possibility of the cocktail umbrella being elevated beyond its humble function as a garnish when some bright spark came up with the idea of the Umbrella Spoon.

It may or may not be a Chinese-American invention.

Xenical (alli) – a shitty way to lose weight

Grown adults, embarrassing toilet mishaps of early childhood long behind them, are now so desperate to lose weight they are prepared to pay $2 a day for something that could make them shit in their pants.

Yep. The OTC drug alli (a lower dose version of Xenical) gives those wishing to lose weight the unique experience of excreting 25% of the fat they eat. While other weight loss pills suppress appetite, alli’s novel feature is that it prevents the body from absorbing fat in the first instance.

What does it do? If you eat 3000 calories a day, alli’s fat blocking action will remove approximately 225 of those calories. It may also give you loose stools or bowel movements that are hard to control. So effective is the mechanism of this drug, consumers are advised to “to wear dark pants, and bring a change of clothes with you to work”.

What else involves the consumption of unwanted calories and the swift expulsion of said calories? While I doubt you’ll see bulimia commercially promoted as a weight loss method, big pharma have no qualms about spending $150million annually on marketing encouraging us to take a diet pill that may give us fecal incontinence.

But then why not just shove your fingers down your throat? Chucking up may not be very attractive, but neither is crapping your pants, and you won’t have to pay anybody for the privilege.

And what of the economical implications? On top of the money spent on food consumption, consumers are spending an additional $60 per month to not consume the food they consumed. Got it? So go ahead, buy those small fries from McDonalds. It’ll cost you $1, but for another $2 you’ll be relieved of the burden of the 210 calories it carries. For a neat total of $3 you would have received a zero calorie snack. You would have eaten nothing.

For GlaxoSmithKline though, the economics are less funky. Their projected revenue for the first year? A ravenous $1.5billion.

They may not be the only ones to gain from peoples obsession to be thin, to hell with the consequences. The market in personal care products for adult incontinence could also receive an unexpected boost. Perhaps GlaxoSmithKline already have an adult nappy they can sell us?

Disconcertingly alli’s rather unpleasant (and antisocial) side effects has not deterred dieters. It quickly sold out in many shops when introduced last month. In a world of over consumption and vanity, a little bit of anal leakage is a small price to pay for having your (cheese)cake.

Original stinker: DNA fragrance

For the small price of giving up your DNA to someone (plus approx US$159.98) you can now have an original perfume designed exclusively around your biological marker. Hmm …

How exactly does one create a bespoke fragrance based on information in my genetic information? Does DNA smell? Does it provide clues to how I smell? Or what smells I like? According to the company producing it each individual’s DNA is the key to the formulation process’.

The company has not elaborated of the precise magic they use to accomplish this.

I understand the science around DNA skin care. The blurb goes something like this: individual beauty products are developed with key ingredients based on a persons skin sensitivity as revealed by variations in five genes. But I’m not buying it. And I’m buying this even less.

What about privacy? You hand over your DNA information to the company via a cheek swab. What happens to this information, if the company goes bankrupt, or sells to someone else? Do you really want a private company holding such personal information?

I can smell something alright …