Thursday, January 31, 2008
The Ryanair schoolgirl ad is roughly similar to the Britney Spears schoolgirl vid. Ryanair likes to use shock to get publicity, a tedious, infantile but probably effective strategy. Toying with paedophilia is the game this time round. This is a publicity sure thing - nothing fires up the slavering hacks and the prig 'spokespersons' like paedophilia. Of course, using children for sex is an evil, but there are other evils. It's just that the contemporary imagination seems to be stuck like an old record player on the image of the paedophile as the incarnation of all that is vile. Genocides and serial killers, these days, can barely get arrested, publicitywise. In that context, Ryanair knew exactly what it was doing. It also judged its little dash of child love perfectly. If the ad really offended, nobody would be showing it, but, in fact, it's everywhere. I think the truth is the schoolgirl uniform, though it clearly signifies childhood, is an acceptably naughty, almost a traditional fetish. We have St Trinian's after all. The clever little marketing runts at Ryanair have, therefore, targeted the culture at just the right spot - mid way between the evil and the cosy.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:49 am