Perhaps Skymall Does Portend the End of Days

So I took a day trip for business yesterday which meant I got to spend quality time with the American Airlines SkyMall magazine (“Free copy–take it.  We’ll replace it!”).  For someone in the business of selling, this publication is like a textbook of direct selling techniques and a glimpse into the dead, black heart of raw consumerism: dubious jewelry, a spectacular array of purported male pattern baldness remedies and of course, “Bigfoot, the Garden Yeti” statues, which clock in at two feet tall and twelve pounds of hand painted designer resin, courtesy of the artisans at Toscano design.

Dennis Ryan, Chicago Advertising, Element 79

Another stalwart of this publication has long been the Gravity Defyer shoe peddlers: those crafty cobblers who secret away springs in the heels of their footwear, all with the promise of making your every stride pain free and filled with energy…

But recently, the Gravity Defyer people updated their look.  No longer do they feature the hapless actuary fella striding purposefully with his arm extended as if to summon an imaginary taxicab.  Instead, both in their logo and worse, on their new athletic shoe, they feature graphics that can only be described as ‘spermatozoa-ick.’

I wish I were making this up.  I’m not.  Check out this enlargement:

Dennis Ryan, Chicago Advertising, Element 79 If I didn’t see it myself, I’d swear someone was making this up just to win a frat boy bar bet.  They not only refer to their little dribbler as a “Slick Seed of Life Logo,” they then explain it’s presence with the reality-defying claim “Because it’s cool!

Really?  Cool?  Really?

How can you respond to that?  How can you pretend that anything about this shoe and worse, the logo splashed on it’s side, represents anything but a total FAIL?  What kind of person wants to be seen in public sporting such an unfortunate stain on their footwear?

I love what I do.  I love positioning products to show off their utility and attractiveness.  But this product disturbs me deeply.  It is the font for a thousand off-color comments.

And next time you fly, it will be in the seat pocket in front of you.



By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


8 thoughts on “Perhaps Skymall Does Portend the End of Days

  1. Victor says:

    I have seen this ad in Skymall for over two years and I wonder is it really a bad or smart marketing, any way the shoes is very comfortable, yes I got one.

  2. Francisco says:

    I am a floor sales person at J Steven retail comfort shoes in Palm Spring, first I said “a shoes with sperm?” But since we start carry the the Gravity Defyer shoe line we have been constantly in back order, what’s more amazing is that the customers coming back with friends. Just amazing.

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