>There’s a billboard on the main commercial drag in our neighborhood, Leafy Lea, that is perhaps a perfect example of why the close study of language matters (especially to folks who go into advertising, in this case). The sign is advertising a hair salon and one of its “d’oh!” moments is in the fine print, where it says, “We specialize in all hair types.” Um. Someone needs to look up the word “specialize.” But that’s really not the worst of it. Oh no, there’s more.
First of all, the name of the salon is Master’s Touch. Ew. Creepy! Seriously, when you read that name, doesn’t it give you the heeby-jeebies? Doesn’t it sound like the name of an S&M web site or something? And hair care is certainly not the first thing I think of here. Shouldn’t a name of an establishment convey what it does? OK, so clearly the name is not the advertising firm’s fault. But wait, there’s more…
So what’s the image used to convey what Master’s Touch does, to make that vaguely creepy sounding name more clear? It’s the head of an African-American woman with straightened hair that covers half of her downturned face and one her averted eyes.
No really, I’m not making this up.
I’m sure they were trying to invoke the skilled touch of a master artisan with that name, but when it’s paired with an image of an African-American woman in a submissive pose (and hair imitating the dominant culture) a whole ‘nuther set of associations with the word “master” springs to mind.
Yikes. Not what they were going for, I’m sure. At least I hope the hell not!