Tag Archives: Advertizing

Hardees, Carls Jr, like you mean it


TRUTH IN ADVERTISING DEPT.– Critics of the latest Hardees & Carls Jr ad campaign don’t think the supermodel actually means to eat that egg & bacon cheeseburger, sandwiched between buns of mortarboard. Obviously she’s neither eating that burger, nor blowing it. But don’t underestimate her acting skill, or the porn food purveyor’s poisonous intent. This is truth in advertising, and that’s the money shot because Hardees knows their customer.

Facebook advertisers can repost “likes” in your name so you don’t have to

Users of Facebook are accustomed to seeing friends listed in right-column ads, mentioned liking such-and-such a brand, or two or three. It’s understood that those friends at some point visited the brand’s page and clicked “like”, permitting that company, Amazon for example, to pay Facebook to advertise the “like” as frequently as it wishes. It’s also understood that when one “likes” a page, a post is simultaneously shared to herald the act and appears on the user’s wall unless that feature is turned off. What you may not know is that your initial timeline post can be reposted, in the center-thread, at the advertiser’s whim, perhaps limited to when you’re online, perhaps triggered when you log on, but not logged on your wall and thus unseen by you. Does it also boost the number of people pretended to be “talking about” that brand? Are 372,523 talking about Starbucks? That could include “you”, repeating yourself ad-maybe-nauseum.

Or maybe, for a premium, your original “like” is not shared simultaneously, but doled out as each of your friends comes online to guarantee one hundred percent reach. Who knows. As personalized as we know the ads can be, no doubt the algorithm is not calculated for clarity.

Do you remember which pages you’ve liked or not? Perhaps you clicked like to be able to comment on the page, or to monitor a monopolistic miscreant, or perhaps it was before Wells Fargo, Bank of America, or British Petroleum became persons and not-so-grata. Maybe now you’d rather not be said to like Chevron, Monsanto, or killer Coke. You can review your “likes” under INFO, then INTERESTS. Or you can check the list below. On each page, see if beside the LIKE button, you have the option to unlike, for example, Facebook.

Here’s a quick list of corporate brands which have fallen from fashion among those with fashion sense. You can click on each to check whether you are counted among their unpaid repeated endorsers.

Nike
Gap
Fox News
CNN
AT&T
Caterpillar
Disney
Walmart
Target
K-mart
Toys-r-us
Lowes
Ikea
Home Depot

And the fat merchants:
McDonalds
Burger King
Hardees
Carl’s Jr
Wendy’s
Taco Bell
KFC
Pizza Hut
Sonic
Chick-fil-A
Jimmy Johns
Subway
Outback
Dairy Queen
Dunkin Donuts
Krispy Kreme

Any surprise that China, McDonalds and ad world would be averse to sunshine?


Advertizing creatives Doug Nichol and John Benet made a wonderful behind-the-scenes “making-of” as they filmed two commercial spots for McDonalds China, and neither their client nor their employers are pleased. The title SUNSHINE works on several levels and hopefully this will be the social engineering industry bridge-burner to jailbreak their every[ad]man inner artist.

Betty White’s muffin on the boob tube

Which came first: the Snickers ad, the Facebook group, or SNL’s crowdsourced mandate to fete American sitcom icon Betty White? American as Apple Pie
To me this blonde’s netroots smack of a publicist’s hand, and White’s performance Saturday night all but validated SNL’s reluctance until now to spotlight the octogenarian’s one note routine. The SNL tribute could laud only her age, raising the specter that a proverbial domestic bread might have been named for her.

Betty White was a broadcast fixture, not a luminary. On the plus side, she hasn’t stooped to pitching life insurance on infomercials, although I suspect her screen persona lacked the gravitas. It does look like the Snickers “Divas” campaign wants to boost White’s brand recognition up to the visibility of its other stage and screen legends.

Of course Betty’s first name predates namesake archetypes of American comedy, but it’s no indication of her contribution. When a McGruber sketch had the title comic break character to wend an impassioned I Love You to grandmother White, I was horrified to predict that the actress’s persona had no stretch to stray from her signature negativity.

White may have begun her career in the age of the Honeymooners, but her caricatures belong squarely to the American sitcom as it devolved into cynicism. The high notes of Mary Tyler Moore and Golden Girls were achieved in spite of muddy cutouts like Betty White. The social relevance of every sitcom that followed was twilighted in my opinion by Oliver Stone’s brilliant parody of American television in Natural Born Killers.

Seeing Betty White on SNL reminded me of attending a celebration of another show business icon Shirley Jones. Both larger than life, both admirably spry, and both masters of well-honed chops, but we’re talking pork chops, with no more hue than the rosy cheeks of Paula Dean. Luminescent as they come, Jones could emote with a twinkle, but that didn’t make her Lena Horne. I know, apple pie is not an art medium.

Betty White can play the ditz or calculating shrew. Where else was SNL going to go with her but convalescent home vamp? I’m not sure the jokes made at the expense of her muffin weren’t clammier than Alec Baldwin’s Schweddy Balls. Hohoho, the ultimate promise of the boob tube.

Like surviving veterans of the wars quickly receding in our memories, White deserves honors rekindled with every new generation. Like the soldiers’ contributions, I’d say her deeds in particular were forgettable. We don’t ask our aging vets to reenact their killings. Bad jokes are worse than reenacted, they’re swung around afresh.

Leave Betty White to shill for candy bars, she’s part of America’s cultural pantheon and deservedly so. Laugh track optional.

Obesity is office equilibrium state

Solar System TV spot titled SPACED OUT
TRUTH IN ADVERTISING- Jimmy Dean urges its office Solar System to Fight the Morning Fade with fatty pork product. No sign of Pluto, only rotund planetary bodies floating high on chemical flatulence. The spheres are not size-proportional, but their shapes correspond exactly to bodies stuffed with an everyday Breakfast Sandwich. Truth in Advertising? Jimmy Dean isn’t targeting breakfast, their Morning Fade is the Snickers pitch, marketing a non-nutritional fix for the predictable post crap-breakfast crash.

sweet lies of high fructose corn syrup

high-fructose-corn-syrup-processing-plant
I’m sure you’ve seen the Sweet Surprise commercials. There are several to target different consumer groups, but all involve a person #1 expressing hesitation at the offer of a high fructose corn syrup-laden “treat” and a smug HFCS-pusher asking sneeringly, “Oh yeah? Well, what’s so bad about HFCS?”

In the ads, person #1 hems and haws and has trouble articulating a satisfactory reply. HFCS person pats person #1 on the head condescendingly and says, “I thought so. Don’t worry, high fructose corn syrup is just like sugar. In moderation, it’s part of a healthy diet.” Person #1 quietly accepts the offered Frankenfood while DDB Chicago, the creator of the ads, and the Corn Refiners Association, creator of the poison, high five at their clever game, played to the grave detriment of the confused end-consumer.

I’m going to enlist my fledgling filmmaker son to help me produce a commercial of my own. The script will look something like this:

———-

Corporate Shill Cornelia: High fructose corn syrup is just like sugar. In moderation, it’s perfectly peachy for you.

Vigilant Consumer Veronica: Oh, no, Cornelia. Fortunately for you, I have a PhD in molecular biology and can help you understand how terribly you’ve been duped.

When an individual consumes sugar, the pancreas responds by increasing the production of insulin which enables the glucose in the bloodstream to be transported into cells and used as energy. The body also increases the production of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate the appetite and send a satiety signal to the body. This tells us that we’ve had enough to eat, a crucial component in the pursuit of “moderation.”

HFCS, in contrast, doesn’t cause insulin or leptin production nor increased cellular energy. You see, every cell in the body can metabolize glucose, but HFCS is only processed in the liver, like fats and alcohol, where it’s converted into triglycerides. The “energy” locked in HFCS stays largely inaccessible to the body, and most people know that elevated triglycerides — which we commonly refer to as high cholesterol — can lead to a whole host of health problems, including hardened arteries and heart attack. With HFCS, the moderation mechanism is never triggered; we never feel satisfied. Maybe this explains why 30% of American children are obese and sluggish, and why Lipitor, which is used to treat high cholesterol, is the best-selling drug in the country today. With approval by the American Academy of Pediatrics, doctors are now prescribing it to children as young as 8.

Cornelia, I know this is a lot to digest and, believe me, I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. The dangerous way HFCS is made, the genetically-modifed corn and enzymes that are used in its production, the fatty deposits and liver cirrhosis that may result from its over-consumption, the criminal complicity of the FDA, even the tale of interference with free-market mechanisms that led to its prevalence in the food supply, are all feature-length films in themselves.

Please, Cornelia, take my advice. Get educated about HFCS. Read labels. Protect yourself and your family from high fructose corn syrup. It truly is deadly, and there’s no smug satisfaction in that for me.

[hugs weepy Cornelia, hands her a tissue. children run into scene, grab offered apples, run off laughing and playing. pan to crushed box of Fudgsicles on picnic table, melting, chalk outline, puddle of congealed goo, like blood, surrounding] CUT.

Mister Clean Coal

Mister Clean Coal is industry strength white-wash

My favorite of the ads debunking “Clean Coal” features a coal industry executive telling TV viewers that coal is so clean, it even smells clean.

clean-coal-smudge-reality-tv-spotExcept that having held the lump of coal to his nose, the exec has left a large black smudge.

Absolutely brilliant!

I count four literary allusions. The image invokes: Pinocchio’s duplicity undone by his growing nose; a lie as plain as the nose on his face, a thing so obvious as to lie right beneath his nose; and an embarrassing conceit staring at us like a big piece of spinach stuck between his lying teeth.

Except that embarrassment is Clean Coal.

Progressive Insurance clown makeup

Flo the Progressive Insurance checkout cashierMy favorite TV commercial has to be the Dr Pepper candy aisle parade, but next best is Progressive Insurance’s painted lady Flo. The unselfconscious checkout geek is simply a brilliant solution to a daunting PR challenge. Who does not despise their insurance company? We hate their greed and eagerness to invade our privacy, in the person of the operator trying to glean more information than you want to tell, to the adjuster intent on paying out as little as possible. How then does an ad campaign portray an insurance spokesperson who is likeable and still believable?

Make her an object of ridicule, although oblivious to judgment. Flo’s not prettier than anyone, nor smarter, nor certainly fashionable, and as a result she is completely non-threatening. Throw in an indefatigable enthusiasm and she becomes endearing beyond words. She’s an insurance rep you can’t hate because why bother?

Nothing new to the stereotype, Flo is Madge of Palmolive meets Drew Carey’s nemesis Mimi Bobeck. But they obviously threw in sex appeal, which I lack for insight to deconstruct.

Halls: a pep talk in every cough drop

It’s a TV commercial to define our time! The new HALLS ad pictures an obese multiracial menial worker restocking a Wal-mart frozen food aisle. And she’s in ill health, and her only recourse for medical care is a piece of hard candy. But forget soothing medicinal relief, these days the “Halls of Medicine” promises a “pep talk in every drop.” In this TV spot, the encouragement comes from a drill sergeant with the bedside manner of a Post-911 blimp-neck who addresses her as “Shorty.” He yells into his squat patient/plebe’s face, who by her welcome response must also be a military reservist, halls-menthol-lyptus-cough-drops urging, and I’ll paraphrase, to repress her symptoms and put on her “war face.” It may as well be a health insurance company pep talk repartee: suck it up.

Shell Oil’s Green shell game

shell gameShell Oil claims to be Green, Green, Green! Corporate Green is more like it though, yet that did not stop the oil company from running advertisements in recent years that included a picture of an oil refinery, with chimneys producing flowers and a headline that read “Don’t throw anything away — there is no away”.

See Shell Recycling Adverts “Misleading” -Watchdog about that nonsense.

But there is yet more to the Shell Oil Green Shell game it is playing with the public. Let’s visit Nigeria where Shell Oil is a big player in energy production there , shall we? There we find Shell Oil wasting billions upon billions of dollars of the world’s precious and declining energy supplies, all in a way that brings back personal memories of Mobil Exxon for me!

My dad worked for Mobil Oil and living in Texas as a kid, I remember all those gas flares from the refineries and oil fields. Nigeria’s gas profits ‘up in smoke’ Yep! In Nigeria Shell Oil has gas flares going big time, all without seemingly much of a care in the world about it, too. It’s a Hell of a way to be playing ‘Green’ company, is it not?

Shell Oil is almost as Green as the US military is! Hey, the two of them go together even! Shell Oil and the Pentagon both playing a shell game with the public about supposedly being Green! Don’t buy it. Don’t buy any of the corporate wave of pretending to be Green. They just simply or not and never will be either. And neither will the Pentagon ever be Green either…

Red Bull is dangerous

Red Bull gives you angel wingsRED BULL contains: caffeine, ginseng and guarana (all legal stimulants) sugars, artificial sweeteners, taurine (an amino acid said to lower blood pressure).
 
RED BULL promises: increased energy, better concentration, sharper cognitive performance, greater endurance, higher metabolism, faster reaction time.
 
RED BULL delivers: increased heart rate, heightened blood pressure, anxiety, jitters, hyperactivity, insomnia, hypoglycemia, dehydration.

A single can of Red Bull or any other “energy drink” increases your risk of heart attack or stroke. The caffeine-jacked soda pop causes blood to become sticky which is a pre-cursor to cardiovascular problems. One hour after drinking Red Bull, the blood system becomes abnormal, functioning as it would in a patient with heart disease. This effect is seen even in young people.

Take a look at Red Bull‘s website. The company has aligned itself — through high-dollar sponsorships, which are nothing more than manipulative ad campaigns — with the sporting crowd. It started with rodeo; the Red Bull logo is tailor-made for a swaggering cowboy. The company’s tentacles have reached into the racing circuit, BMX cycling, extreme skiing, even soapbox derby. You’ll find athlete superstars wearing the Red Bull logo in arenas and venues across the globe.

It would be one thing if Red Bull was marketing its product to coke heads and junkies, providing them with a legal daytime buzz. But to suggest that athletes will benefit from the “energy” Red Bull offers is wildly irresponsible and evil. Unlike the electrolyte-balanced rehydration found in Gatorade, Red Bull is chock full of stimulants which cause rapid DE-hydration, making energy drinks exceptionally dangerous when used in rigorous physical activity. Loss of consciousness, kidney failure, and death are a few of the more troubling outcomes of serious dehydration. Even mild dehydration makes you feel like crap — foggy, sluggish, headachy — which doesn’t enhance physical or mental performance in anyone.

Threatening the health and well-being of rednecks and jocks the world over wasn’t quite enough for these bastards. Red Bull expanded its reach into the late night crowd. Barfare like “Vodka Bulls” and “Jaeger Bombs” combine Red Bull‘s powerful stimulants with a heavy depressant which can lead to heart failure and other health crises. Norway, France, Denmark, and even Uruguay have banned sales of Red Bull completely.

Red BullHistory has shown us that we can’t expect responsible behavior from corporations. They have an apparent duty to shareholders to make money, unfettered by ethical considerations. That’s why the Food and Drug Administration has been appointed our trusty watchdog. As soon as they’ve finished banning every natural supplement found in any organic health food store, I know they’ll muster the energy to take on Red Bull.

That day can’t come soon enough. Many of us are tired of running on empty promises.

The Barack Plan to re-brand and re-market US occupation of Iraq

toys-r-usObama Doesn’t Plan to End the Iraq Occupation There in the title to his commentary, Jeremy Scahill puts it quite simple for people to understand. Of course, there are plenty of people who simply do not want to understand The Barack Plan at all, because those people invested a lot of themselves in justifying their vote for Barack Obama. They prefer to be pretend ‘counsellors’ for the President instead of actually admitting what his true plan for Iraq actually is, a re-marketing of the occupation of that country to the American people.

This re-branding and re-marketing of the war has already been done time and time again. It is the Republican agenda, too. Barack Obama and his Democratic Party war machine hope that with this rebranding of war for the more liberal minded out there in the American community, that the war and occupation of Iraq PLUS all the other warmaking of the Pentagon can simply continue on track.

Bigger gun nuts taking aim at Obama

NRA adJust what is the NRA hoping to convey with this ad? Does this depict a typical gun enthusiast? It sure resembles a Cracker out of Deliverance, armed to the teeth, looking to hunt someone down.
 
I read: PWT with HPR on ATV waiting for MLK.

(Does he have binoculars? A blind? He’s not even hiding behind a roadside billboard as he watches for what passes by.) This mounted guard’s vigilant pose projects deterrence. If the photo caught him in motion, we wouldn’t know. He looks out, like a southern highway trooper perhaps, toward a northerner who might wander where he doesn’t belong.

American white racists have been threatening black leaders since how long? Why pay attention to the threat now? I heard it conjectured that making hay about the white supremacy lunatics is a message of deterrence to Obama voters. I think it’s a message to Obama.

Southern white shooters haven’t just targeted black activists, they’ve shut down progressive voices. Kennedy comes to mind, an example maybe of a president who wasn’t dancing with them that brought him.

Obama talks a militaristic game, he dutifully passes the dough to Wall Street, he doesn’t preach single payer health care, or reform of big pharma, chem-agra, or big oil. But we know he’s bright, and perhaps a good many of us hope he has something up his sleeve. And every so often, the powers that be have to let their hit-men dogs out, to remind anyone with big ideas to toe the line, that change will not be tolerated.

Regulation, testing, law, and deception

shysterIn America we are seeing a convergence of the meltdown of all capitalist for-profit driven systems breaking down all at once, whether it be the Financial System, the Health System, the Legal System, or the Educational System. At the heart of the problem is that regulations, testing, and law have been turned into their total opposites by the American Business Community, as they search out profits with an unparalleled, in the history of Humankind, greed and avarice.

In Education, we see Big Business mandated testing being used to dis-educate youth. In Finance, we see the regulatory agencies acting to allow fiscal business anarchy. In law, we see the legal code twisting and turning itself around to codify and legalize torture. In the Health System the regulations are being used by the corporate world to protect their abuse of the elderly and sick, rather than to keep that from happening. In short, American capitalism has become most adept at hijacking regulatory systems under their control, and then using them to produce chaos and dysfunction.

NCLB Testing Said to Give ‘Illusions of Progress’ Doesn’t what this article talks about in education seem quite related to the economic meltdown? Pity the youth for the inheritance America is giving them.

Thank you Mr. President for all you do

Beijing beach volleyball bikinisIsn’t it vaguely jarring when someone is asked publicly what would be their fondest wish, and they don’t say “world peace?” I feel that way about athletes and celebrities in these times of great conflict. They could say Impeach Bush, Stop Torture, the Media Is Lying, or at the very least, the Emperor Has No Clothes! Instead they feed the media narrative fretting about their quest for a medal, about which we know already.

Not to say the reporters aren’t eager to run with whatever revelation they get. When Usain Bolt revealed that he fuels his running by eating “nuggets,” the press was quick to announce the Fastest Man on Earth eats McDonalds. It’s an easy conclusion. Where else are nuggets on a menu but the Mc variety? A convenient conclusion too, as McDonalds is a chief sponsor of the Olympics. They’re running adds featuring ex-athletes, in athletic settings, pitching McPhood. Although no Olympic athlete could jeopard his/her health to a McDonalds meal depth-charge. Sports reporters know that too. Shame on them for perpetrating the McNuggets disinfo until Bolt’s father could be reached for an explanation. Usain’s “nuggets” are a concoction of yams, and no doubt something Jamaican that will soon be ruled out as doping.

Reporters did interview an Olympic competitor who’s eating plenty at the Beijing McD’s. He’s an archer, who has no need to move around. Probably his weight stabilizes his aim. Probably too he’s got no aspirations for the Pentathlon. The convenient unofficial unsolicited McEndorser weighs 215 pounds.

I’ve heard Olympic athletes are oblivious to real world concerns. Perhaps I can forgive them for not making political statements, even though they have the forum. They’re forbidden, but as attention hounds, you’d think they’d notice that the athletes now most honored for the 1968 Mexico City Games were the ones who raised their fists.

Instead the 2008 Beijing Olympics has this: heralded to be the best Beach Volleyball duo of all time (The TV announcer kept asking “Can I say it? Can I say this is the best beach volleyball team of all time?!” -even though this sport/spectacle pandering to the NASCAR fans has been part of the Olympics only THREE TIMES BEFORE), the winners had this statement to make, after clearing it with their interviewer.

Said Kerri Walsh: “Can I say something? Thank you Mr. President, for your support. And thank you for all that you do!”

An obsession with the boyish figure

Fashion designers share an obsession with Catholic priestsWas this magazine ad for Calvin Klein’s OBSESSION FOR MEN controversial because it featured an underage Kate Moss disrobed, or because it winked at the greater fashion culture fixation masquerading as the androgynous waif look: the sexualized, pure, although suggestively available, almost shapeless, pretty, prepubescent boy?

Mental detox

Mental detox week
The idea is simple: take your TV, your DVD player, your video iPod, your Wii, your laptop, your PSP, and say goodbye to them all for seven days. Simple, but not at all easy. Like millions of others before you, you’ll be shocked at just how difficult — yet also how life-changing — a week spent unplugged can really be.

 
This post is a clear violation, I know.

The Decembrists & The Bagman’s Gambit

Salvador DaliI ran across an atrocious attempt to do Godard, post-Weekend. It was a David Spade infomercial for the pitiful AXE campaign, parading as an indie contest to make The Dirtiest Film in the World. Spade played a Salvador Dali impressario with the contrived posture of a Tanqueray ad.

In any case, then on the radio I chanced to hear a musical piece with all the film imagery, sans images, with the melodious nakedness of Major Tom Coming Home. It’s by the Decemberists, (where have I been?) and the song is called The Bagman’s Gambit. The lyrics are below, but you’ve got to hear it.

The Bagman’s Gambit
 
On the lam from the law
On the steps of the capitol
You shot a plainclothes cop on the ten o’clock.
And I saw momentarily,
They flashed a photograph, it couldn’t be you.
You’d been abused so horribly
But you were there in some anonymous room.
 
And I recall that Fall
I was working for the government.
And in a bathroom stall off the National Mall
How we kissed so sweetly.
How could I refuse a favor or two?
For a tryst in the greenery
I gave you documents and microfilm too.
 
    And from my ten floor tenement
    Where once our bodies lay,
    How I long to hear you say
    No, they’ll never catch me now
    No, they’ll never catch me
    No, they cannot catch me now
    We will escape somehow
    Somehow.
 
It was late one night
I was awoken by the telephone
I heard a strangled cry on the end of the line.
Purloined in Petrograd
They were suspicious of where your loyalties lay
So I paid off a bureaucrat
To convince your captors they’re to secret you away.
 
    And at the gate of the embassy
    Our hands met through the bars
    As your whisper stilled my heart
    No, they’ll never catch me now
    No, they’ll never catch me
    No, they cannot catch me now
    We will escape somehow
    Somehow.
 
And I dreamt one night
You were there in fours
Head held high
In uniform.
 
It was ten years on
When you resurfaced in a motorcar.
With the wave of an arm
You were there and gone.

Putting lipstick on a big fat pig

McDonald’s feng shui’dBrazenly pandering to a large local Asian population and hoping to attract members of a nearby Buddhist temple, a California McDonald’s has gone feng shui. The restaurant’s owners say the designs are aimed at creating a soothing setting that will encourage diners to linger over their burgers and fries and, of course, come back again and again.

Feng shui is the ancient Chinese practice of arranging objects to promote health, harmony and prosperity. The basic principles of feng shui include placing strategic representations of five natural elements — earth, water, fire, metal and wood — around the room to increase the flow of chi, or energy. The McDonald’s in this Los Angeles suburb boasts a wood ceiling, silver-coated chairs, rich leather booths, and red accents throughout the dining area to symbolize fire and good luck, laughter and prosperity. The textured walls patterned after ocean waves symbolize life and relaxation.

What could be more ludicrous than McDonald’s, one of the original fast food restaurants and a major contributor to overall American un-wellness, using interior design to promote health and prosperity? Maybe they mean franchise health and corporate prosperity? McDonald’s feng shui’dI can’t imagine that freely flowing chi is a pressing concern for diners who’ve just stuffed themselves with 1500 calories, none of which have provided them with any nutritional benefit whatsoever.

I will admit that the restaurant looks quite appealing. If only McDonald’s had anything on the menu worthy of consumption, a cup of coffee even, I might pop in for a bit to open up my chakras and seek enlightenment. But they don’t, so I won’t. And I hope no one else does either.

Shieldher for her own good

Available in five beautiful colors
I had to elaborate on Tony’s clever post about the fun-in-the-stun state of Arizona. I am shocked at the idea of personal tasers becoming as ubiquitous as Tupperware!
 
Did you ever carry pepper spray, or Mace as it was known when I was in college? It was pitched to women as a sure-fire way to stop a predator in his tracks. Just spray it in an assailant’s eyes and he’ll stumble around yelling “Ah, my eyes! my eyes!” long enough for his prey to flee.

There is a new protection device available from an Arizona company called Shieldher. It is, I kid you not, a personal taser, the TASER® C2. To soften the outright horror at the thought of our already over-armed streets filling with more weaponry, the Shieldher taser comes in innocuous and feminine colors like metallic pink. I imagine this is meant to discourage macho would-be criminals, who might otherwise be inclined to carry one of these weapons to subdue recalcitrant victims.

Shieldher is aware of the TASER® C2’s potential for misuse:

Our mission is to pacify the fears we face daily as women in an effort to increase the quality of our lives! We have received numerous calls and emails that validate the need for this product and we are committed, at Shieldher, to providing the product in a manner that reinforces it as a personal safety device NOT a weapon.

Undeterred by the overwhelming likelihood of sinister usage, the company touts the benefits of the personal taser:

The TASER® C2 transmits electrical pulses along the wires and into the body of the target, overstimulating the sensory and motor functions of the peripheral nervous system, causing overwhelming incapacitation.

I have a daughter going off to college in the fall and, once I overcame my initial horror at the very notion of personal tasers, I began to play with the idea that perhaps it wouldn’t be such a bad idea. I rather relish the idea of the grabby cocksure frat boy writhing on the ground much to the delight of his drunken brothers.

But mere moments later I recalled what has been beaten into my brain over the years by gun control advocates. A handgun carried for personal protection is far more likely to be used against its owner than his or her assailant. I feel certain that the same will be true for the personal taser. How long until the stopped becomes the stopper? How long until Shieldher’s newly-empowered female client encounters a pretty pink taser tucked neatly into the back pocket of anyone desiring her overwhelming incapacitation?