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This TransLink bus ad for Azzaro’s gun-themed perfume stinks!

September 18, 2016

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It occurs to me that if I was seen riding a Vancouver transit bus and playing with a bottle of “Wanted”, I could get into some trouble.

That’s because the bottle of this latest fragrance for men from French perfumier Azzaro is provocatively and realistically shaped to resemble the cylinder of a revolver handgun, with the ends of golden bullet shells visible in each “chamber”.

If, for example, I was seen fiddling with both this bottle and, let’s say, a metallic-finish ballpoint pen, it wouldn’t surprise me if one of the other passengers on the bus became so alarmed as to alert the driver that they had seen a gun in my hand.

It wouldn’t surprise me then if I had to explain myself to some gun-toting Transit Police. Something of this sort happened in July to a binner who was seen on a bus carrying a fake flintlock pistol.

However, whatever trouble it might cause inside a bus, no one—not bus riders, TransLink, or passersby—apparently have a problem seeing the revolver cylinder-shaped perfume bottle advertised on the outside of a bus.

Not to shoot the messenger but TransLink is being irresponsible

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An advertisement bearing the image of this faux handgun part, opposite the smouldering-eyed visage of a formally-dressed male model, is currently adorning the side of at least one of TransLink’s Coast Mountain transit buses—seen operating the Number 9 route down Broadway Avenue.

I’m disappointed, particularly that TransLink accepted this ad, which clearly glorifies and sexualizes guns but also because no one seems to be complaining.

Well, I’m complaining.

Using such gun imagery to symbolize male sexuality and virility is not only trite and unimaginative but it’s clearly harmful to society for the message that it sends to men.

By making a gun image synonymous with male desirability, Azzaro is perpetuating and reinforcing the deadly notion that guns are a natural extension and expression of maleness.

I say it’s a deadly message because it goes without saying that every male mass shooter in the world has arguably believed much the same thing—that guns were the natural extension of their male anger and an appropriate way to express that anger and solve their interpersonal problems.

That a French company—after so many high-profile gun fatalities in France—is still happy to link male desirability to guns, just to sell perfume, is amazing. Likewise the fact that TransLink, a supposedly responsible agent of the British Columbia government, is willing to run the gun-themed ad.

No doubt the people running both Azzaro and TransLink have been personally shocked (like most people) by the escalating amount of global gun violence. But clearly these people do not see themselves as having any personal responsibility to be part of the solution.

You know what they say—if you’re not part of the solution…

We can’t just wait for top-down legislative solutions from governments. Each of us needs to take some personal responsibility to do whatever we can to change the underlying culture supporting gun violence.

This includes the people in the companies that make consumer products; the people in the agencies that create advertising campaigns for products; the people in the media that run the advertising campaigns, as well as all the people who are the targets of such campaigns and who eventually buy the products.

That would be everyone, in fact.

And a word to Azzaro and  TransLink: The old crap excuse that it’s nothing personal, that it’s just business, just doesn’t cut it anymore. Click the images to enlarge them.

From → Fairview

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