Dec 27, 2007

Who Says Long Copy Is Dead?

Who says long body copy is dead? A long delay recently left me with nothing more to read than the SkyMall magazine that sits in the front pocket of every seat of every major US airline. There I discovered something called the “Gravity Defyer Shoe” from a man who goes by the moniker “Alexander Innovation Wizard.” Alexander (which it turns out, is his first name) has a double page spread in the magazine, filled with copy whose tone will instantly transport you back to the 1930s and 40s.

Here’s a sample:
Ease Joint Pain And Pressure On Your Spine
It’s almost as if Aelous, the Greek god of wind, himself has taken his powerful wind out of his bottles and put it into each pair of Gravity Defyer Shoes. Your entire body will receive an energy burst when you slip on the Gravity Defyer Shoes because your joints and spine will no longer feel the full impact of your high impact life. The basic findings by the scientists of the Impact Research Technology Lab were that the combination of lightweight rubber and lightweight, durable springs will reduce the impact and force of gravity on your entire body much the same way that a suspension system helps reduce the impact on an automobile and airplane.

Jump Higher and Walk Faster
These ethereal shoes will transport you through life with such vigor that your friends and family will hardly be able to recognize you. The Gravity Defyer Shoes will power your step, making your steps longer and your jumps higher. You might find that you are walking faster and you may even find yourself showing up to those important meetings at work early! You might even find yourself joining a local basketball league.

Look Like A Million Dollars
We all have them, an expensive pair of dress shoes for those “special occasions.” The shoes that world famous secret agents wear to the black tie party where they end up doing some reconnaissance before they are chased around a European city by evil henchmen. The kind of dress shoes that show class, style, and sophistication but are so uncomfortable you can’t wait to take them off. Designed by the best shoes designers from three continents, the Gravity Defyer Shoes provide you will all the sophistication and comfort needed to keep up with the best of the world famous secret agents.
While it’s easy to poke fun at everything from the name of the product to the “Research Technology Lab” to the “expensive” shoes that hurt, what’s telling here is that there’s clearly a market that’s still taken in by this sort of hyperbole, a market affluent enough to fly and to buy $120 dress shoes. As we allow ourselves to focus on The Real Digital Revolution and the end of advertising, it’s wise to remember that there are still plenty of Americans who don’t share our skepticism to being sold.


Anonymous said...

wow. not only is it long but it blows as well. maybe long copy like that should die? but i guess with a name like that, it should have been obvious what you were getting into when you started reading... didn't you have a laptop, i-touch, i pod video, comic book, anything with you?

Anonymous said...

oh and about the audience for that sort of tripe? you were on an airplane and it was printed by the airline industry and shoved in the back of the seat in front of you ... i would think twice before praising the merits of that soap-opera shtick "expensive shoes secret agents wear that hurt their feet as they are chased all over europe" ...

as bugs bunny said: "what a maroon..."


Alan Wolk said...

@LD: Ha! I think you missed the point, my friend. I wasn't praising the ad or the copy.
Just marveling about something that sounds like it was transported from the year 1936. That was my point-- the whole tonality of the piece, the "you might even join a basketball team/secret agents" hyperbole is something we've relegated to a bygone era, yet here it is, in 2007, in a catalog that, while it may be "printed by the airline industry" is reaching a fairly wide and somewhat affluent audience.

And given the cost of a double page truck in a catalog like that, it seems that like those emails from Nigerian princes, someone is falling for it.

BTW- a quick google of the shoes reveals they're sold on Amazon and other places- and that they sell for between $100 and $150. So whoever's buying them has some scratch.

Anonymous said...

yeah but that's like praising a spread for a new ford truck in the ford newsletter... any numbers at all to support this? they post a ton of stuff on amazon, but does it sell?

i'm not sure that the "fairly wide and affluent audience" give a toss as to what's in the trade rag shoved into the seat in front of them. there's also half pages exclaiming the virtues of time shares in st. bart. not sure they're lining up for those either.

the price of said spread is why we get smokehouse almonds and dasani instead of food on most flights...

lol, : [

Alan Wolk said...

@LD: You're in a grumpy mood these days. Who is "praising" anything?

While you and I may not send money to Nigerian princes, buy time shares in St. Barts, partake in "European Style Matchmaking" (another staple of airline magazines) - clearly someone is, otherwise the people who provide these services wouldn't keep paying to run the ads (or, in the case of the Nigerians, send the emails.)

You've managed to take a post where I'm marveling at the goofy antiquity of some language I found in an ad and turn it into something to quarrel over. Just enjoy lines like "has taken his powerful wind out of his bottles" and be done with it.