A Mind-Control Conundrum

"Mind control" as in advertising, that is. This and similar TV commercials have me bewildered:

Ostensibly the idea is that a man is supposed to go out and buy some expensive jewelry for the woman in his life (and hey, I'm all in favor of that). So why then is this ad designed to be so uninteresting to men? Trust me, ladies, on this one. Learning sign language would be interesting but in every other respect this insipid, charisma-deficient man-child is the opposite of what every man aspires to be. It's easy to predict the eventual fate of this couple: to be accosted by a gang of motorcycle toughs while walking a city street one night. The man winds up flat on his back from a punch in the nose while the woman rides off on the back of a motorcyclestill wearing her new jeweled wristwatch.

And it's not just this one. In other jewelry commercials the excited girlfriend shows off her new diamond to her envious friends. Apparently this is more rewarding than actually spending time with her pathetic loser boyfriend (nowhere to be seen), whose sole important contribution to the relationship now sits on the girlfriend's finger.

So what's the story here? Is it mass incompetence in the advertising industry or rather some subtle psychological master-stroke way too clever for me to recognize? Has the jewelry industry decided appealing directly to men is a waste of time and chosen instead to encourage women to nag their men into buying something? Or maybe buy things for themselves and then pretend to have received them from an admirer?

Not being a woman, I hesitate to judge the appeal of messages such as this to women. On the other hand I see perfume commercials, which I assume are targeted to women, and those (unlike jewelry commercials) are usually charged with some real sexual energy.

If you want to sell men on doing something nice for women, here's the right way to do it:

I don't drink vodka, but I like the message here. Gallantry is cool.

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