1/19/11

Buster Brown - Shoes for big boys.

Never, ever, ever as a kid was I drawn in by the marketing behind Buster Brown shoes. Was I already too jaded in the seventies? I dunno. Maybe. But, if I was a kid in 1958, I don't think this ad would have worked on me either. That's just as well, because this ad is probably aimed at moms. Kids don't care much about what shoes they wear unless they have holes in them.
But look at the size of that kid! Perspective is a harsh master. You can play by all the rules and still have things come out looking weird. This boy looks like he's five feet tall with a head like a socker bopper.

Here's what I think the problem is: His head is angled toward the "camera", so we can see his face. But, he seems to have eye contact with the girls who are maybe six feet farther back from the viewer. In this position, I don't think he should be able to look them in the eye. Due to the composition of the painting, he seems to be a giant, standing face to face with the girls, unless you look down at his feet.

Of course, all art directors know is they want the kids positioned such and such and to be looking this way or that and smiling at each other. What do the rules of physics and perspective know about selling shoes?

So, you get things like this terrifyingly happy troglodyte boy. I don't think he's happy about shoes -  Boy want girl! Come to mention it, I think any boy following his natural proclivities can be really into girls or shoes, but not both. You know what I mean.


And now we come to the real reason I never got excited about the Buster Brown brand: the mascot. Boy or girl? The name says "boy" but the big bow,the lipstick and the AWACS hat say "girl". Kids don't like sexually ambiguous things. A thing is either a boy thing or a girl thing. Kids don't like to figure stuff out. They want obvious answers. Buster plays both sides of the field, by the looks of him. I wish he wasn't winking at me.

However, Buster does have a badass pet. It's a Ghoulie! He would need a pet Ghoulie, attending grammar school as a seventh level pansy. He would be mercilessly bullied otherwise. If each pair of BB's came with a carnivorous attack demon, I would have begged my mom for a pair. What kid doesn't want his own demon?

4 comments:

Craig said...

That dumb huckleberry looks like the Hugo, the Abominable Snowman from Bugs Bunny.

"Duuuuuuhhhh, I like girls! I want to love her and squeeze her and call her George! Oopsie, I just made a doodie!"

The kid's got a head like Ted Kennedy stuffed with nothing but a bag of leaves.

Sue said...

Yes! to the opening question.

1. Who dresses this poor kid? Blue socks, yellow shirt, Buster Browns? You're just asking for your kid's ass kicking.
2. Are the girls ditching school or is he? (Wouldn't they be heading in the same direction?)
3. Buster Brown was suppose to be a symbol of high class and good quality for the common folk. Don't you know the wealthier and better you are than everyone else, the more girlish you look? Like Little Lord Fauntleroy. But the one with Freddie Bartholomew, not the stupid one with Ricky "call me Rick" Schroder.

Wait, what were we talking about? Look, something shiny!!

Phil Are Go! said...

Thanks for helping me tear into this overzealous little boy, Sue and Craig!

Anonymous said...

I found this image when looking for Buster Brown on Google. I saw this ad from the page, turned to my friend and said, "Look how creepy this boy is. If this advertisement were released today, there would be articles about how awful it is and how it should be removed from print."

Then I read the article and saw that someone had already done it.

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