Saturday 4 August 2012

ADS AND THE CITY. Sex, Money, and Fortune Tellers.

Ever had one of those slow days when you actually got a seat on the subway and had time to read the whole of METRO, including the ads on the last two pages? I did, and let me tell you, those ads provide amazing insights. They tell you what this city is all about. Here is an overview.

MONEY (25%)
A quarter of the ads in METRO want to get you into debt or out of it. Who are the guys behind those ads? Judging by the pictures, they are sweet young things with hair like Kate Middleton and a smile that speaks of expensive dental work. Okay, there is one middle-aged uncle-type, but he, too, has a 50,000 dollar smile. They are miracle workers, one and all, and very, very generous. They’ll charge you zero interest and ask no questions, least of all about your credit rating. But wait, let me get my magnifying glass. There is a teeny-weeny line at the bottom, invisible to the naked eye. Oh: “Some conditions may apply.”

Well, actually, 0%, because I think this lonely ad is in the wrong spot. It should have been placed under MONEY because it promises to let you in on “ancient money-making secrets to create happiness, wealth, luck, [and] romance.” Or maybe it should go into the really popular category of

Unlike the sexy young money counsellors, psychics are invariably old men with long white beards. They will take on your money problems, but their specialty is love and its opposite, the evil eye. And they work with the speed of lightning. 48 hours is pretty well the norm, although some will give you “immediate protection”. And every one of them offers a 100% guarantee and knows no such thing as an impossible problem. Toronto, your fortune is in good hands!

JOBS (10%)
Advertising actual jobs is so last century, my dears, and so boring. Today’s employers are fun people, offering Job Fairs. Bring the whole family and ride the Roller-coaster of the Economy or the Merry-go-round of Minimum Pay Jobs. And under no circumstances miss the Maze of Social Security!

Nada. Doesn’t anyone need accommodation? I know the traffic in Toronto is bad, but I can’t believe that all commuters are spending all their nights in their cars or on the subway.

And you know what else I discovered? Metro is sexless. For that you have to turn to other freebee magazines, like NOW, which offers an 18 ½ page spread of everything your heart, tongue, and nether parts desire. Here are the statistics:

WOMEN are “girls” with a sprinkling of “ladies” and “females”.
Age: 18 and up, not sure up to what. One intrepid girl admits to the hoary age of 27.
Posture: Tops is tops, but bottoms are not at the bottom of the list.
Fashion: Lacy black is the favourite, except for the “Euro Bunnies” who go in for solid pastels.
Qualities of the body: Photo-shopped
Qualities of the Mind: Predominently “open-minded”. Many are college girls, but only one admits to intelligence.

MEN are definitely in the minority (10% of NOW ads). They are called “men” or “males”. There are one or two “boys” among them, and a couple of “hot guys”.
Age, qualities of mind and body: I guess what you see is what you get (hairless chests mostly). These men aren’t much into adjectives. They are “versatile”, “safe”, and “super clean.” The guys writing the ads probably have daytime jobs composing captions for tool catalogues.

RENTAL AND REAL ESTATE. Yess! NOW has two pages or so. Whew. I’m so relieved to know that some people in Toronto live in houses and apartments.

And that’s the city in ads.

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