Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Incongruity part 1

At the risk of making Terry O'Reilly something of a personal hero, (OK... I think the man is brilliant, but that's beside the point), I see something here that may well be a deliberate attempt to create a controversy.

It's an advertisement for ice cream... but until you get past the picture, a rather metro-sexual depiction of a priest hoisting the bare leg of a woman portraying a nun across his naked abdomen, you probably don't care what product the ad is trying to sell. Your interest is in the picture and its unsubtle incongruities.

Priest, nun, sex.... perhaps shock, but to most of us, humour.

Terry O'Reilly would have a blast with this one, because if this plays out the way I think it's going to, the marketing agency that put it together has just taken this lesson, this one and this one, and pulled together either a horrible mistake or, something I suspect, a brilliant maneouvre to get people to focus on their brand.

What actually attracted my attention was the title of JJ's post. There has already been a complaint about the ad and at least one magazine refuses to run it (controversy building), and we all wait with bated breath to see if that screechy right-wing defender of rapist Catholic priests, Bill Donohue, reacts with his usual outrage at someone mocking the trappings of his sometimes religion (full-time political action "charity").

And, the marketer has caught Donohue, (and all those like him), in a trap.

If Donohue ignores the ad on the basis that the marketer is just trying to draw him in for the benefit of an advertising spectacle, he fails in his mission to defend the sanctity of Catholic church icons and symbols. (Portraying sex between a man of the cloth and a virginal nun? Face to face? Wearing their now askew churchy stuff? Blasphemy! When priests have sex it's done differently!!)

If he reacts with his usual hyperbolic eruption he'll have played right into the hands of the advertiser. Antonio Federici, a name one might associate with the fashion industry, will be spotlighted exactly the way the marketer wanted it to be.

You don't have to take my word for it. You simply have to read what the company itself has to say. (When you get there, click on "News".) Antonio Federici ice cream, recently introduced to Britain needs to get the word out:
It will be supported by what is described as a "guerilla opera" campaign, provocative advertising and sampling activity.
What better way to get the word out than have a bunch of howling religious wingnuts do it for them?

So far, it seems to be working. Ice cream anyone?

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