Reminisce with me for a moment. I want you to think back to those trips to the department store when you were a child. Usually those events were pretty bland. Sears or Macy’s was a blank landscapes of clothing racks and linoleum floors washed in white florescent light. The only thing that made these childhood trips to the department store interesting was the welcome grip of fear brought on by the cold, lifeless eyes of the plotting mannequins.
Old Navy, not satisfied with taking the joy out of wearing shorts and anything made from denim, has sullied our terror-filled memories and insured that no child will ever find a mannequin scary again with the creation of Supermodelquins.
Over the years, I’ve noticed the steady decline of display mannequins. And without kids hanging on to their parents’ legs in fear, begging to leave the store, forcing their parents to make hasty fashion decisions that they’ll regret later, I’m surprised any clothing gets sold. (To be fair, I probably go to a department store once every three years and while there my eyes are usually locked on the floor in confusion and enamor …ment? with my own reflection, but the last time I went I can’t remember seeing any mannequins, so that’s enough for me to feel comfortable making a sweeping generalization.)
Then Old Navy comes along. But instead of focusing on what works about mannequins (the dead-eyed stares, the creepy smiles, that certain “why does that look like my uncle? he drowned. I PUSHED HIM AND HE DROWNED.” something) Old Navy gives us a group of smiling gossips who actually like being mannequins. Mannequins don’t like being mannequins. Being a mannequin is the job you get stuck with after you forget how much pot is considered a misdemeanor or after they manage to get DNA off that kid’s skateboard.
I should walk in to a store, see a mannequin, and wonder if I’m going to see the mannequin again later when the power goes out and I’m down in the basement looking for candles. Would it have killed Old Navy to incorporate some of the proud mannequin tradition in to their ad campaign? Couldn’t they have kicked it up a notch for a new generation? I watch these Supermodelquins commercials and wonder why the little mannequins aren’t covered in cigarette burns. Why isn’t “Josh’s” one eye closed to the light, preferring to hunt only in shadow? “Amy’s” face looks a little too real, why doesn’t it look like she’s wearing a mask made out of paper-mache and baby-skin?
I hear that for their next ad, Old Navy is going to start a campaign staring Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. But instead of Freddy killing kids in their dreams, he’s going to use kids’ dreams to find out how many tankinis they want and then the commercial’s going to end with him using his knife hand to carve something out of a conch shell.