Browsing around the Internet the other day–like you do, when your brain is starting to slide into vacation mode–I discovered this ad. At first glance, I thought it was for a drink, or maybe perfume or cologne. But no. It’s supposed to entice people to visit Toronto.
I have lots of love for Toronto. It’s a fantastic city with great museums, shopping, eating, and if you happen to be a hockey fan in any degree, a pilgrimage to Toronto is pretty much required. I agree that it is vibrant, chic and cosmopolitan, but what does that have to do with a woman tearing open a man’s shirt? Maybe the true gems of Toronto are in his pants? The only thing here which is unique to Toronto is the CN Tower, but that is probably one of the more boring places to visit if you’re looking for culture and creativity. When paired with the man being undressed by the woman making sexyface, it reminds me of a giant phallus rising into the sky.
I understand that sex sells, so the subtle message of “Visit Toronto, you’ll get laid” is not surprising, even if it is a little disingenuos ( come on, guys–it’s Toronto, not Vegas). But the disconnect in the message sent by the text and the message sent by the picture are a great example of the mixed messages we find so frequently throughout media. The words tell me that Toronto is a metropolitan, cultural hub, but the picture just tells me I’m going to get laid. Images and words are both used to tell stories, but those stories can change drastically depending on how they are combined. As we see here, sometimes that message is awfully confusing.