« Cindy Sheehan is absolutely insane | Main | GO BUCKS!!!! »

December 21, 2005

Oh, The SHAME, THE SHAME.......

I admit it. It was me.

I am a broken man.

Of course, Jonah is still wrong. (Here's his original post, to which I had responded.) I mean how can you argue with this:

Kiss does begin with the letter K, but "Kay" is the name of the jewellers. Why else point this out? Why not offer the tagline "Every Hug Begins with H" or "Love begins El"? Or, for that matter, "We have armadillos in our trousers."?

The incoherence of it is baffling from an intellectual powerhouse like Jonah. Baffling and aggravating.

I knew this guy whose last name was Bee. No kidding. Now if he were a jeweler, I could totally understand Jonah's objection if the slogan was.... oh, nevermind. But my point is, that it's just a stupid pun!

You know what aggravates me more than Jonah's aggravation with this ad? The fact that I am so aggravated by his aggravation. GGGGGAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

[Edited later (still stewing about this): When Michelin showed a little baby riding around on rain slicked roads and implored us to buy its tires "because so much is riding on" them, should we have taken them to literally mean that we're child endangering sociopaths if we don't? Nooooo. So should we take Kay literally to mean that we shouldn't expect a kiss if we don't bring the bling? Nooooo.

I guess my point is this: I can grant Jonah his premise that any woman who expects a bauble for every kiss is indeed a whore. But the premise is a total non-sequitur. That is not the intent or the inference to be taken from the ad. ]

[Edited still later: Welcome Cornerites! Thanks Jonah for sending everyone my way. Feel free to poke around, though posting has been awfully light lately. By the way - as Jonah's Military Guy attests in the comments below, Jonah's still wrong.]

Posted by Scott on December 21, 2005 02:48 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


There's another commercial with a man fighting his way through snowfall and approaching a house as a beautiful woman opens the door, astonished... He gives her a three-diamond necklace, whereupon she throws her arms around him in ecstasy. And I'm sorry, but at that point the narrator in my head has her thinking: He has money! He has money!

Posted by: Christopher Fotos at December 21, 2005 09:59 PM

As Jonah's Military Guy - I am on your side. I just didn't have the courage to tell Jonah.

I kneel in your general direction.

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at December 21, 2005 10:15 PM

Well, I disagree with you. I'm completely with Jonah--I've thought the same thing for years--and I can sum up my position in a simple question:

If "every kiss begins with K" is not meant to tie a gift of jewelry to the return of a kiss--as Jonah points out, an impression supported not only by the plain meaning of the words but also by the accompanying images--then what DOES it mean?

As far as I can tell, your whole argument is that it doesn't mean anything at all. Which, indeed, is all you can say because the literal and visual meanings of the ads are so blatant. You've gone beyond saying that people are reading too much into the ads, all the way to saying we shouldn't read them (or hear them or see them) at all. They simply don't allow any other reading.

Posted by: Erik at December 21, 2005 10:35 PM

Dude, it's a joke. Lighten. Up.

Posted by: Daisy at December 21, 2005 11:25 PM

*cue Nelson from the Simpsons*: Ha ha

PS. Not the JG that has you annoyed!

Posted by: J G at December 22, 2005 12:18 AM

That Michelin commercial was the most dangerous one yet. Everyone knows that you don't drive a car while the baby is still sitting in the tire.

Posted by: ej at December 22, 2005 12:26 AM

Jonah is mistaken on one point - "Every kiss begins with Kay" does not mean that each time you get a kiss, you have to give a bauble from Kay. One Kay bauble will get you several hundred successive kisses, or it will get you out of about a half dozen instances of not putting your underwear in the laundry hamper.

But once the mojo from the last bauble wears out, it's prudent to have another one handy.

Posted by: ej at December 22, 2005 12:30 AM

I'm with Jonah, but I'll concede ej's point. It also dovetails with Oscar Wilde's(?) quip: "we've determined what kind of woman you are; now we're negotiating the price".

Of course, Kay has nothing on DeBeers commercials, the most annoying of which is the woman embarassed by her husband's public declaration of his love for her at the top of his lungs ("I love this woman!"). She soon finds loud public displays perfectly acceptable when there are gifts of diamonds involved.

Posted by: just Ken at December 22, 2005 07:05 AM

DaBeers does have that cool climactic strings theme song, though.

Posted by: Citizen Grim at December 22, 2005 08:47 AM

I distinctly remember my wife-to-be erupting into a wildly enthusiastic jig the moment I slipped the small black velvet box containing our engagement ring into her hand. I had not warned her it was coming, she was not expecting it, I just put the box in her hand. She did not even take time to look at the ring, she just leapt to her feet, holding the box out in front of her, involuntarily dancing or at least stamping her feet up and down, and making odd noises of the "WOOO, Woooo, WOOOO" sort. I have ever since then considered females, or at least MY wife, to have an extasensory diamond-detecting power beyond the ken of the males of our species. What has this to do with Jonah's annual post? Not a damn thing. I just enjoy remembering her reaction.

Posted by: me at December 22, 2005 09:27 AM

This is about DeBeers, not Kay, but the point is the same.

"Why Diamonds?
Google/ABC ^ | Feb 14, 2004 | John Stossel

Posted on 12/02/2004 2:40:42 PM PST by swilhelm73

Feb. 14 — On Valentine's Day, what's the very best way to tell someone you love them?

In one of the elegant black-and-white ads run by the DeBeers diamond cartel, a distinguished man announces solemnly: "I love this woman!" But there's a better way to say it, the ad suggests: Give her a diamond. Or a bunch of them. And she'll love you back.

That's what the man in the ad does — and it gets quite a reaction: "Oh, I love this man! I love him, I love him, I love him!" says his lucky lover.

Which makes me ask: Why a diamond? Why not a ruby or an emerald, or what the heck — a tractor, a toaster or a kitten?

Why did diamonds get to be the love and marriage thing? Why do couples — everywhere — who wish to declare their love go out and pay big bucks for diamonds?

Is It Because They’re Rare?

One reason I was given is that diamonds are so scarce.

But Donna Bergenstock, a marketing professor at Muhlenberg College, points out their scarcity is a myth, one created long ago by DeBeers, the South African company that's dug up most of the world's diamonds.

"There are … billions of dollars of diamonds sitting in vaults — in London, in South Africa — that DeBeers specifically keeps off the market in order to artificially raise the price of diamonds," she says.

The supply is so vast that if DeBeers hadn't controlled the world market for decades, diamonds would be much cheaper.

"The diamond is really just a piece of carbon. It's just a rock," says Bergenstock.

The Power of Marketing

So why is this rock a symbol of love? Because DeBeers told us it was.

Since 1940, DeBeers' brilliant ad campaign has been convincing Americans that diamonds mean love.

According to Bob Garfield of Advertising Age magazine, the DeBeers campaign is one of the most effective ad campaigns of all time.

"Unlike most advertising, people just completely bought it," Garfield says. "It created out of whole cloth the notion that at your engagement you must give your intended a diamond."

Years of listening to this propaganda has convinced us that giving diamonds is an age-old tradition.

This is just a sales pitch. In the 1930s, when my parents were married, it wasn't customary for men to give women diamond rings.

It wasn't just ads. DeBeers cleverly lends diamonds to celebrities and movie stars.

The rest of us have to pay for our diamonds — and DeBeers is very specific about how much men should spend. "How else can two months' salary last forever?" the company's ads say.

DeBeers' message is "the bigger the diamond, the more you love her," says Bergenstock.

Are They So Special?

Is it really just a sales pitch, or is there really something special about diamonds, a sparkle that makes them unique?

We tested that idea. We went to Grand Central Station in New York with two rings. One was a piece of cubic zirconia, worth about a dollar. The other was a $10,000 diamond.

I asked people which they liked more.

Most people could not tell the difference. Of dozens of people we asked, nearly half picked the cubic zirconia.

Yet women told us, even if they had preferred the look of the imitation, they'd still rather be given the diamond. "It just makes you feel like you're special," said one woman. "I know what I want on my finger, and it has to be the real thing."

We'll spend more for a rock because a South African cartel has run a great ad campaign? Apparently we will.

Give Me a Break!"


Posted by: hr123 at December 22, 2005 09:37 AM

Most whores do not request diamonds in exchange for kisses. Indeed, kisses are the last things they are likely to offer, with or without diamonds. The analogy fails on all counts.

Posted by: Paul Freedman at December 22, 2005 09:57 AM

The most important thing for me (and one I have pointed out to my wife) is that the diamond cartel has built an empire out of illusion. Diamonds rare? No. Diamonds valuable? False reality. If a diamond's value was related to its scarcity instead of its ingenious link to ultimate romance then I would have less problem overpaying for one. Give me (her) a nice ruby or emerald or something, anything that is valued on reality. K stands for "kiss mine" for carrying the water of the Africans and the Belgians and the New Yorkers.

Posted by: rhodeymark at December 22, 2005 10:19 AM

"Most whores do not request diamonds in exchange for kisses. Indeed, kisses are the last things they are likely to offer, with or without diamonds. The analogy fails on all counts."

That's just silly. The point isn't that someone is literally a hooker. The point is an extreme materialism; jewelers and diamond companies selling the idea that love requires, at a minimum, the purchase of diamonds and the suggestion that such a purchase is actually equivalent to love. Further, the concomitant creation of expectation in some women that love does, indeed, require expensive gifts of diamonds on a regular basis. This may certainly be said to be whore-like. You may disagree that there is anything wrong with such an expectation. However, the analogy is quite clearly there.

Posted by: hr123 at December 22, 2005 01:32 PM

There's a BMW commercial (you have to sit through all of it to find out what it's for) in which couples are making out -- we're talking serious smooching here, not chaste pecks on the cheek -- and then the camera pans up on one couple and he's holding a BMW key over her head, like mistletoe. ... well yeah, for a Beamer, maybe ...

Posted by: Spex at December 22, 2005 02:59 PM

Post a comment

Remember This Information?