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#OrchidsandOnions Special Section

#OrchidsandOnions: Azzaro hits the right note

Rule Number One for anyone involved in advertising - as it is for the news business - is that you are not the target market. Which is the preface for this week's Orchid.
#OrchidsandOnions: Azzaro hits the right note

I am certainly not the target market for this product and I find the execution of the ad not only pretty cliched but also way out of my normal world – both the actual and even the aspirational.

Desire to consume

Yet, Orchids are given not only to those ads which I like or which might push me to buy the product, they are given primarily for marketing and advertising which creates a desire in a target market – a desire which can be filled immediately, or with time.

Why the ad for Azarro men’s Eau de Parfum will be so effective is because it speaks directly to one of the characteristics of our young nation – the ability to consume, on a vulgar scale, while millions go to bed hungry at night.

If that sounds cynical, blame it on a small excursion to Instagram recently, where our local royalty (i.e the shakers and movers in politics and business) flaunt their expensive toys, from houses to multi-billion Rand cars and SUVs. It was all accompanied by a “don’t feel bad about yourself bro cause you got money” vibe which implied that poor people (the haters) have only themselves to blame for their status.

Not all poor people would hate this exhibitionism, though…many would love to be there and do that themselves. People gotta eat dude. Maybe that’s why there is so much corruption and looting in South Africa.

Still, I have to give it to the people who put the Azarro ad together – definitely an overseas production – because they have zeroed right in on that vulgar consumption market, as well as those who aspire to Mercs, Ferraris, Lamborghinis and sushi on the belly buttons of half-naked models.

The dude in the ad Рa sort of Latino James Bond Рis so beautiful he almost transcends the clich̩. But the rest of the tried and trusted stereotypes are there: open-top car driving on a mountain road with excited girls, designer suits (even if these are worn with no shoes); the babe-like object who cannot help but fall into his arms.

His charms, though? Or maybe the desire-igniting aroma of Azarro?The message is: Wanna be this guy? Get the perfume.

It’s all backed by a hectic gangsta-type soundtrack and, best of all – given how much boys (of whatever age or demographic) love guns – is that the Azarro smell comes packaged in a container that looks exactly like a re-loader for a revolver.

All very seductive and highly effective, given the market it is trying to reach.

So Azarro gets an Orchid.

This article has been amended.

About Brendan Seery

Brendan Seery has been in the news business for most of his life, covering coups, wars, famines - and some funny stories - across Africa. Brendan Seery's Orchids and Onions column ran each week in the Saturday Star in Johannesburg and the Weekend Argus in Cape Town.

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