Sex, Bubbles, Sex, Water, Sex: Dita Von Teese, Perrier & SoftPorn
There is a very real belief that corporations somehow fly above the rest of us. The image of hardened, cigar-chomping men of commerce, huddled in their opulent boardrooms, planning nefarious takeovers of our wallets is near-universal. Buoyed by their armies of accountants, consultants and marketers galore they cackle with evil glee as these men (and women) of means part an all-too-trusting public from its hard-earned dineros. Clearly, they soar above it all – insane masters of advertising’s dark arts - adding this subtle shade of fuchsia or that gentle scent of lemon and wheatgrass – causing otherwise useless goods to literally fly off the shelves. We the masses are all but helpless as they attack with marketing campaigns steeped in psychology, primed to assault the fortress of our personal psyches and ritually unwind (and thus command) the very depths of our soul. They are all powerful. They are all knowing. Except often they’re not. Often they’re even dumber than the rest of us.
I know there is a certain infantile comfort in taking a Michael Moore style view of companies as all-powerful destroyers of Joe and Jane public but the evidence suggests they are far more human than we might realize. Not everything was a master planned success. For every conspiracy-theorist convinced New Coke was a shadow-play hyper-designed to infect Coca-Cola with high fructose corn syrup there are plenty more who sadly admit the whole idea was just a huge screw-up. They got it wrong. And they get these things wrong a lot.
Case in point, Perrier. Perrier is a brand of bottled mineral water, gathered from a spring in Vergeze, France. Naturally carbonated, both the water and natural carbonic gas are captured independently and then re-united in the bottling process to ensure uniformity of product. Now available in five flavours (regular, lemon, lime, a new Citron Lemon-Lime and pink grapefruit) they also offer several new varieties - one being less carbonated than the original, and presented in a blue bottle with such flavours as ginger-cherry, peppermint, orange-lychee, raspberry, and ginger-lemon. Nestle owns the lot of them – and that means they have a lot of spritzy water to move.
Someone, somewhere deep within the inner-sanctum of Perrier decided a few bubbles of soft-core porn might be just the thing to open the floodgates on water sales. Accordingly, they employed Ms. Dita Von Teese, a sort of modern equivalent to Bettie Page who started out stripping at eighteen only to move her way up (down?) to fetish modeling later on. She is now considered something of a burlesque queen and gets the call whenever a supposed “tease” of sexuality is called for.
Personally, I find it pretty interesting that a brand of bubbly water now has to have an age restricted website requiring visitors to be eighteen or older to enter. AdRants offered their take, complaining about the website’s ludicrously long load time for such a minimal payoff. In short, if you’re going to promise porn you better deliver. I can’t say I disagree with that.
As it stands, the site is pretty hokey to say the least. Compared to what’s available out there sex-wise it’s a fairly lame sort of “choose your own adventure” game where you follow Von Teese around a fancy mansion trying to get her to take her clothes off. She doesn’t do much, and when she does it’s only down to the most demure of knickers you’ve ever seen. They needed an age restriction for this? I laughed out loud at one of the game’s supposed payoffs, where a roll of the dice landing on “Perrier” causes Dita to pop the top on a bottle of Perrier and pour it all over herself like some spring break exhibitionist at Daytona Beach. Is Perrier trying to be the official carbonated water of the Girls Gone Wild set? Are they serious?
Clearly, any eighteen year-old on the hunt for titillation isn’t going to pause long on this website. There are way more explicit and hopelessly deviant websites a few character types away. And if you’re under eighteen you’ll never have the patience to wait for the flipping thing to load. You’ll probably just type the same few extra characters needed to get the really good stuff anyway. So what’s the point of even doing this ad campaign? The only plausible reason I can think of is that the cigar-chompers had visions of cheesecake frolics with Von Teese should they happen to visit the set on shooting day. What a pathetic exercise in marketing. That so many hundreds of thousands of bucks were spent on something so frivolously moronic is maddening. And yet, it also gives me hope. Maybe someday, someone will want me so much that they’ll pay ridiculous sums and go to great effort to have me write columns such as this in their presence. It’s not likely though. I just don’t look that good in vintage lingerie.