Monday, February 21, 2011

Nudity and the Mercedes

A woman standing on a beach, facing the sea. She takes off her blouse and runs naked into the water. We see the car she drove to the beach, the Mercedes GLK, a 'small' SUV. That is the content of a new car ad now showing on television in some Asian countries. As we have come to expect in Asia, the ad doesn't show any obvious nudity, but more the suggestion of such. Yet, it is the most beautiful and touching ad to have appeared on Asian TV screens for a while.
Frontal nudity in East Asia is generally covered by a 'mosaic' - whether it be a scene in a Hollywood or European movie, or a news report about a nude protest or a new naturist beach.
Unfortunately, the advertising world in Asia often has a warped view of the use of naked bodies. While in Europe, almost everybody grows up with pictures of nude people promoting relevant products such as soap, cosmetics and underwear, in Asia, the female body is there to be exploited - to sell bikes, furniture, real estate, rooms at seedy motels. Too often, the commercials and posters are obviously cheap - cheap in style, cheap in budget, cheap in exploiting women for purposes of titillation.
Fortunately, the Mercedes commercial is none of that. I have no idea where it was shot, when it was made and who was behind the concept, but despite promoting a car - an object unrelated to nudity - it is tender, touching and makes you feel good about your body and about the beach. I hope the commercial will be a first step toward what I would call 'responsible nudity' on TV.
Mercedes Taiwan posted the ad on YouTube:
For a positive use of total nudity in advertising, watch this commercial - famous in naturist circles - from skincare company Elave. It shows complete frontal male and female nudity, yet it is sensitive and totally acceptable. We have some way to go before we see commercials like that on television, especially in Asia.

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