This is a brilliant ad. Why? Because it's spawned a lot of discussion on what the hell Bell intended with it. Is it really aimed at concerned parents, or is it satire? The latter would seem to be the case, judging by this Bell response to complaints:
Please be advised that in no way does Bell Canada find the female body inappropriate. Our advertisement was a tongue-in-cheek attempt to show the lengths some people will go to in order to protect their children from “inappropriate” subject matter – the implication being that textbook diagrams of the human anatomy are the furthest thing from “inappropriate”. This message was intended to play off of some of our other recent television ads that poked fun at those that go to far. This was not meant to be taken literally.
But as one observer says:
Well, if they can openly mock a demographic at the same time as they're selling to that same demographic, I'd say that IS pretty clever.
And, in fact, a lot of people seem to accept the ad a face value, and thus are pissed. Others just aren't convinced by the "tongue-in-cheek" defence:
I don't get it. If you're poking fun at overprotective or unhip parents, why have the text book look like it was attacked by someone with problems or issues.
Wouldn't it have served the point better to have the parts stickered over with bright, happy cloying sentiment or doll clothes or something? It's easier to ridicule a fig leaf than a defaced statue.
Still another commenter asks:
How can Bell be selling with one hand but "parodying" with the other?
How? Just like this! God Bless Bell Canada CEO Michael Sabia
and his team members, who earn an undisclosed amount of money, but probably more than I get for running this blog.
(Comments cribbed from the rabble.ca message board, via Christopher Butcher.)
By the way, Constantine sucks.