The picture below has been appearing in Reader’s Digest magazine for some months now. It’s a advertisement for Silvikrin hairspray - For Life's Little Surprises
I have no particular feelings, good or ill, about Silvikrin as a product, I’m sure it’s a perfectly good one if you happen to like hairspray. It’s been around for as long as I can remember, so I guess it must be reasonably popular.
If, however, I were basing my hairspray choice solely on this picture, I would never in a million years buy this product.
So what do we have here that is apparently such a turn-off for me?
I’m guessing we’re meant to imagine that this little scene takes place at blonde lady’s (let’s call her Patricia) workplace. Her colleagues have organised a little surprise for her birthday and there she is, with token black lady (I’m going to call her Marcie) and some chap from Accounts (arbitrarily designated by me as Tony), exhibiting excited surprise at their thoughtfulness.
“For me? Wow! Thanks, you guys!” we almost imagine her crying excitedly.
Marcie is so excited herself that she is squealing too. “I know!” she cries, “I know!”
Tony looks on in wry amusement at the ladies’ hysteria. Aaah, those crazy ladies, he thinks. You wouldn’t catch a manly bloke like me carrying on like that.
All harmless enough, of course, but look at the picture some more.
Why has Patricia only got two workmates? Are the others all shyly hiding out of shot? Maybe nobody likes her very much. More importantly, who’s going to eat all that cake?
Why is Tony so creepy-looking? Look at him, peering over the top of the partition, he looks like some kind of horrible office chad (if anybody remembers chads?). Does he secretly have the hots for Patricia – or maybe Marcie? Either way, he looks like a stalker to me.
Look at what Patricia has got pinned to the partition under the Happy Birthday banner…
- A picture of the queen (possibly a calendar)
- A postcard or something with what looks like a crown on it
- A photo, possibly of her and some kids (where’s hubby, I wonder?)
Look also on her desk. There’s a mug and calendar bearing a union jack. Patricia is clearly VERY patriotic. Yes, I do realise that the idea of the ad is that Silvikrin is a British product, but so far all we’re seeing is a middle-aged woman who might for all we know be a member of the British National Party. Does she actually like Marcie or does she secretly wish she would ‘go back to where she came from’ (I’m going to say Marcie was born in Tunbridge Wells, so Patricia is bang out of order here).
And am I the only person in the world who thinks Patricia is slightly over-reacting to the cake and rather small birthday card? Come on Pat! It’s not that great – there aren’t even any presents, for goodness sake! Maybe she’s trying to impress creepy Tony. Now that hubby’s out of the way, she might well be on the prowl, the voracious old Cougar.
The tag-line for the advertisement is Set for the day. All day. Yes, because you clearly do need a superior hair product to keep your unruly locks in check in case you encounter a mildly surprising situation and have to pretend to be so excited you can barely breathe.
So I guess I’m only meant to be buying Silvikrin if I’m a middle-aged racist cougar with hardly any friends who has an orgasm any time somebody presents her with cake.
No thanks, Silvikrin.
I do like cake though.