Crooked teeth are beautiful and rednecks are cool. What’s this world coming to?
September 30, 2013
I just dropped some serious coin on braces for my three daughters, which I’m happy to do because it seems like that’s what good father’s do. They provide. But then I read about this craze in Japan, where cute young girls are spending good money to make their normal teeth look bad. For a bunch of whack reasons, it apparently is fashionable and even sexy to have snaggleteeth. How crazy is that? Apparently, in Japan it is not.
Anyway, it just goes to show you how strange and different our world is. Up is down and geeks are cool and my God we just had breakfast for dinner!
We in Adland have always prided ourselves in being forward thinking, up on popular culture. But popular culture is getting pretty fast and loose, isn’t it? There are so many “in” crowds nowadays I don’t think anyone is out. Once outcasts, Gross hillbillies like Honey Boo Boo and her kin are raking it in. Talentless individuals have huge followings of adoring fans. They are multi-million dollar brands.
Back in the day ad agencies liked to talk about target audiences in terms of huge numbers: 18 to 34, people who make over 100K, black and white. Now targets can be microcosmic. A couple hundred people like something on Facebook and Voila! It’s a target audience. Odd minorities can find likeminded friends online. People who were reluctant to identify with a certain group now seize the opportunity. We relish in fetish.
I wonder. Can big data really mean anything when everyone is so damn unique? Yet, fashions and trends have always changed. That’s what they do. That’s what makes life so interesting, even if it is increasingly tough on advertisers. (Good thing we have so many planners to help us figure it out.)
Back to the braces thing. When I was a kid I had to get them. And I hated every minute of it. Not only were braces painful and gross but they were also considered just about the most uncool thing on earth. Now my girls were asking for them! OMG. What happened? Yes, technology made them a little less painful and gross. But still. Maybe it had something to do with all those ridiculous grills hip hop stars began sporting in the eighties. Braces became a status symbol. Now a right of passage. Like you’re a dork if you don’t have them.
Sometimes seismic shifts in coolness have obvious origins. Take bicycles and electric cars. Not too long ago no young person would have selected either, if they could have Dad’s old Honda instead. Thank you Global warming.
But the snaggletooth craze in Japan? Inexplicable. Especially when you consider that for so long the Japanese culture was known for order and symmetry. Yet there are reasons for this bizarre altering of the zeitgeist and even if we don’t comprehend them they are real.
As fate would have it, about half way through the designated time frame I was supposed to wear my braces I pried them off with needle-nose pliers. I’m not kidding. Subsequently, my bottom teeth remain crooked to this day. But maybe I was just ahead of my time. After all, in Japan my mouth is now SUPER AWESOME!