Monday, March 19, 2007


I took this photo of a culture-jammed poster on the side of a bus shelter along Petrie Terrace in Brisbane late last year.

The original ad was part of a series advertising Cougar Dark Rum. The posters employed an image of ironic masculinity: Barry 'The Cougar' Dawson, resplendent in 70s garb and interior decoration, saying terribly ironic things like, 'I enjoy my rum the way I enjoy my women: on the rocks'.

What made me laugh so much about the culture-jammer's modification of the poster was the way s/he so successfully punctured the deceit of so much irony, particularly when used in the service of reasserting good old-fashioned sexism.

I had viewed the original posters and not really found them amusing, but reasoned that I wasn't the target market for Cougar Dark Rum. However, it also occurred to me at the time that the posters had missed the boat of the ironic 90s. Hadn't we already seen this particular advertising strategy ad nauseam? Could such an ad now be read as anything other than actually sexist?

The genius of 'finish me off', to my mind, was that it captured the post-ironic moment, I think we now find ourselves in, quite perfectly. As a statement it required no convoluted tools for interpretation. It responded to the poster with a simple directive 'enough is enough'; perhaps, 'that joke isn't funny anymore'; or 'everyone sees through this disingenuous attempt to use sexism in the service of sales, and get away with it'. That 'finish me off' might also refer to finishing off a drink, elevated the tactic deployed by the culture-jammer into the realm of the sublime.

Anyway, all of this, has been a convoluted way of directing you over to Sarsaparilla to read my most recent post there. You'll see the connection, eventually.


Meredith said...

I think "finish me off" also has a sexual meaning. Brilliant jamming & I like your analysis.

OTT said...

I hated those ads. I remember seeing the first one and thinking that it had to be ironic, but it was still appalling.

Well done jammer - very clever.

nick cetacean said...

Yes, I got the sexual meaning first. As in happy endings...

'I enjoy my rum the way I enjoy my women: on the rocks'. -- I'm not even sure what that's supposed to mean (with respect to women at least)...

And if it is utterly meaningless -- doesn't that cast the ad in a new light -- inviting the viewer to make fun of the arrogant but stupid male spokesmodel...?

Kirsty said...

This is merely another confirmation that I'm completely clueless when it comes to sexual innuendo, double entendres etc. I hadn't thought of that at all.

That said, I did read the 'on the rocks' slogan to mean he likes to take his women anywhere anyhow in a sexual lothario kind of way.

Mark Lawrence said...

Hate the ads too. But I was taken at how they'd captured that 70s brown. *shudder*

Good jamming. Don't see enough of it these days.

Also, just wanted to register my vote of confidence after that stoush at Sars. *double shudder*. Hope you're okay. :)

Kirsty said...

Thanks Mark. I'll survive.