Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Does This $400,000 Wall Street Journal Ad Make You Want To Buy Perfume?

A full page ad in the Saturday/Sunday, March 25-26 edition of the Wall Street Journal caught my eye, not because I was interested in the product or that it was so clever it made me pause to read it. Nope, there was nothing to read.

The full color ad, which filled the entire back page of the paper’s “Off Duty” section, featured a young girl (pictured above) who appeared to have cut her own hair with dad’s pruning shears, was wearing a pair of googly-eyed party glasses, and looked like she got dressed in a wind storm in clothing several sizes too large. At the bottom of the ad was the word “Chanel.” That’s it, nothing else.

I checked the WSJ’s rate card and the ad on that page cost a whopping $398,147.58.

I showed the ad to my wife, Linda, a gal I consider classy and sophisticated, and asked if it would encourage her to buy Chanel fragrances. She said it would not, but that the wacky looking sunglasses were intriguing.

Maybe I’m missing something here, but advertising today confuses me. Half the time I’m not even sure what the products are or what the message is. The few TV ads that I vaguely understand involve beer and car insurance. The car insurance ones feature a little green lizard, a woman who looks like a frumpy waitress in a cheap diner, and a guy who continually blows himself up. They want me to buy their firm’s insurance, but I’m not clear about what the benefits are, as they got blurred along the way. I understand beer ads. What’s not to understand? Beer is beer, but a guy with a beard and a gal in a bikini don’t persuade me, the taste and price do. Car ads? Forget it. They all look alike and the cars all look the same too. Even the once very distinctive Jaguar took the iconic “leaper” off the hood so now I can’t tell it from a Morris Minor. One TV ad shows a guy driving up the side of a mountain strewn with huge rocks. Who does that in a new car? Or in any car?

I spent most of my career writing copy, generating concepts, and advising employers and clients on how best to spend their advertising and PR budgets. My job was to ensure that their money was spent in a manner that it would have the greatest positive impact and get me promoted. The ads explained why the company’s services and products made folks happy, saved them money, and filled a need. They also kept my paychecks flowing if they were effective.

Here’s my take on the WSJ Chanel ad.

Perfume ads appeal to basic instincts. Ancient Greeks and Romans used scents in public baths because those places reeked like a fraternity house bathroom on a Sunday morning…..think an elephant barn in the circus on a hot summer day. Between the 16th and 17th centuries our ancestors, who believed regular bathing was an unnecessary nuisance and a health hazard, used them to mask their neighbors, families and the king’s and queen’s knock-you-over BO.

The Royal Hazmat Crew.

When Linda and I were visiting castles in England, a tour guide told us that in “olden times” the king and his entourage moved from castle to castle frequently because they had no indoor plumbing, so the royals and their pals pooped behind the draperies (Seriously, they really told us that). So King What’s-his-name — who didn’t marry the queen because of her housekeeping skills — and his groupies moved from poop-filled palaces to non-poopy palaces, followed by a 16th Century hazmat crew.

With the discovery of water, the introduction of soap, indoor plumbing, bathtubs, and crowded rock venues, perfumes evolved. They became symbols of a refined society, much like the crowds found at a Snoop Dog or Young Thug rap concert today. They emit scents that evoke memories, trigger senses, boost confidence, make folks happy and result in unwanted pregnancies.

So how does the almost $400,000 Chanel ad of a disheveled, bespectacled young girl with hair that looks like she combed it with a egg beater (see above picture again), convey that message? I’d be interested in hearing from anybody who bought a Chanel product based on this ad because I have some stuff in my attic I think you’ll be interested in purchasing.

I’m convinced the Chanel ad was produced by a group of folks who studied advertising online by watching the Mad Men TV series and received their degrees from the “Close Cover Before Striking School of Advertising and Septic Tank Removal.”

Here’s how I envision the conception of the Chanel ad taking place:

Creating smoking hot ad campaign concepts.

A Don Draper wannabe and several advertising agency staff members have gathered in a conference room.

Don Draper wannabe: “Does everybody have a full glass of whiskey and a pack of cigarettes as this meeting could last 15 minutes?”

Account Executive: “Our client, Chanel, has a boat-load of money and they want us to develop an ad campaign that will sell its perfume. Does anybody want a hit on this doobie?”

Don Draper wannabe (smoking a blunt): “Help yourself to the brownies. Hey, here’s a picture of a funky chick I picked up at a bar last night who looks like she got dressed in a wind storm and combed her hair with an egg beater. Geez what was I thinking, but it was closing time?”

Account executive: “Why don’t we use that photo in a $400,000 Wall Street Journal Chanel ad?”

Don Draper wannabe (Pouring a glass of whiskey and lighting a cigarette): “Terrific idea. Now let’s go have a three hour lunch and drink martinis before we go to happy hour.”

Oh, speaking of advertising, the next issue of the Amelia Island News-Wrecker ( is currently being produced and is expected to be printed and ready for distribution Thursday, May 4, the same day as the local Shrimp Festival parade. For some bizarre reason ad space is going fast, but businesses interested can contact me at or call me at 770/354-7228. Profanity, nudity and racism are unacceptable. Bad taste is encouraged.


Bagging Bag Banners: Fernandina Beach City Commissioner Johnny “Moonbeam” Miller and his boisterous band of bag banning busybodies may themselves be banned if Florida legislators adopt House Bill 17, much like the one recently passed in Michigan.

And the state’s elected officials are darn close to passing this legislation that would prevent more burdensome regulation of businesses and professions. It has already been approved by three committees.

Some folks argue that Florida’s HB17 would gut the home rule authority of chartered cities and counties throughout the state. But what it actually does is ensure that locals are not overly burdened by well-thinking, but many times misdirected local do-gooders.

Banning plastic bags and the $500-a-day-fine for leaving a light on that might attract a baby turtle are just two examples.

Deregulation is in the air. For example in 2015 the federal government produced 237 volumes of regulatory code filling nearly 200,00 pages. Federal regulations cost the U. S. economy more than $1 trillion a year, according to some estimates. President Trump has put together a team of lawyers to help rip these burdensome regulations out and prevent more. Let’s do our part locally.

The last thing we need in Fernandina beach is more of this nonsense leveled by locally elected officials.

For example, the new Michigan law prohibits local governments from banning, regulating or imposing fees on the use of plastic bags and other containers. It’s not a ban on plastic bags — it’s a ban on municipalities banning plastic bags and was signed into law a couple of months ago.

The new Michigan public act prohibits local ordinances from “regulating the use, disposition, or sale of, prohibiting or restricting, or imposing any fee, charge, or tax on certain containers,” including plastic bags, as well as cups, bottles and other forms of packaging. This means individual cities and municipalities are not allowed to ban plastic bags or charge customers a fee for using them.

And Michigan isn’t the only state to have implemented a ban on bans. Idaho, Arizona and Missouri all have enacted similar laws. Proponents of the laws defend them as a way of protecting businesses from being smothered with additional burdensome and expensive regulations that are coming at them from all directions. The new Michigan law was met with praise from the Michigan Restaurant Association for this reason.

“With many of our members owning and operating locations across the state, preventing a patchwork approach of additional regulations is imperative to avoid added complexities as it related to day-to-day business operations,” said Robert O’Meara, the association’s vice president of government affairs.

Earlier this year, the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioner in Ann Arbor, had voted in favor of a new ordinance imposing a 10-cents fee on both paper and plastic bags dispensed in grocery stores throughout the county. Under the new Michigan public act, such a fee will not be permitted.

With the Guido-like Fernandina Beach Public Utilities Director John Mandrick and his crime syndicate directed by the City Commission to menace local entrepreneurs with outrageous and illegal impact fees the last thing local businesses need is a group of pitchfork and torch wielding local loons adding more regulatory and financial misery to their efforts to earn a living. Let the appropriate state agency control the disposal of plastic bags not a group of uninformed, wild-eyed, tree-hugging do-gooders.

Moonbeam’s numerous trips back-and-forth between here and Tallahassee have accomplished little but to identify him as a local, but well-intentioned fanatic.


Bang! Bang! Department: Unlike a car lot where you can take a test drive or a wine tasting where you can sample different varieties, there aren’t many places that I’m aware of where you can go to fire a gun to see which one you might like to own. But there is now on Amelia Island.

Bernard Martinage, owner of local security firm Safe N Secure, not only offers an opportunity to test guns at his south end island range, but has a federal firearms license that enables him to purchase guns for clients.

Mr. Martinage’s Gun Test Drive enables folks to shoot as many as 20 guns at his privately operated range. He accommodates folks on a one-one-one basis or a couple e.g. a husband and wife per session. For details go to

He also has a Federal Firearm License that allows him to sell and transfer guns nationwide. For example people can look for the gun they want on the nationwide auction gun website, can pay for it, then transfer it to him for delivery. Or Mr. Martinage will manage the entire transaction including the auction, purchase, and transfer and all they have to do is pick it up from him. Check all of this out at or call Bernard at 904/335-0525.


I’m Not Making This Up Department: A Nassau County lady posted a notice on Facebook that a family she works for as a private nurse has a pet they can no longer take care of so she’s attempting to help them look for a home for their 300-pound pig. The folks, who live west of I-295, keep the porker in their back yard and say the six-year-old oinker is as docile as a housecat despite his fierce looking tusks but their son’s illness makes it necessary to give him up. Happy Tomato, Kenny Gilbert and Willie Jewel need not inquire.


Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Construction starts next week on the new PJD’s Bar on South 2nd Street which is scheduled to open sometime next month, just in time for Shrimp Festival. I predict that this tiny neighborhood bar will be one of the most popular spots on the island and that it will soon be bursting at the seams looking for ways to expand. Pajamadave Voorhees and his pretty blonde fiancé, Zan Maddox, successfully raised more than $11,000 to cover the $7,632 ($318 for each of the 24 seats) in city extorted impact fees through a Kickstarter campaign and are now going full steam ahead. There are a number of pubs that offer $2 draughts, bottles or cans on occasion but only a handful that offer them all day every day and those are: Tony’s New York Style Brick Oven Pizza (next to Publix) on Sadler which has two buck Bud Light, Yuengling and Miller draughts all day; downtown’s Alley Cat offering tall boy Pabst and Narragansett; South 8th Street’s Halftime with $2 Yuengling and South 3rd Street’s Green Turtle with Pabst. Who did I miss? There is only one pub that I know of where you can get a $1.75 bottle of domestic beer and that is Karibrew on North 3rd Street as from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Every beverage at this Tim and Theresa Poynter bar section of Karibo is 50 percent off, the best happy hour deal on the island because it includes all alcohol, not just well or cheap brewskies. And while you sipping your $3 martini on Wednesday evenings piano man John Springer will be setting up to entertain from 6:30 -9:30. Cal Atwood, Joe Murphy and I enjoyed our monthly lunch and BS session at downtown’s Happy Tomato, a cozy barbeque and more eatery tucked into a shaded patio area off South 3rd Street. I had the more than I could eat plate of smoked turkey, pulled pork and sides of baked beans and cole slaw while Cal tucked into a roast beef and bacon sandwich and Joe ordered shrimp salad. They both enjoyed their meals but it stumps me as to why anyone would order anything but the mouth watering BBQ at Happy Tomato, which also sells wine and beer. I learned during lunch that friend Joe came in second in the 1971 Terlingua Texas Chili Cook-Off, an amazing feat since this event features the best chili heads anywhere and was the laboratory for the famous Wick Fowler Two Alarm Chili.The renowned chili competition at Terlingua began in 1967 when a humorist from Mount Kisco, New York, named H. Allen Smith, challenged Francis Tolbert of the Dallas Morning News to a cook-off. Smith claimed that no one in Texas could make proper chili. A reader suggested that Fowler answer the challenge, which he did. Two-hundred fifty people attended the first contest, which ended in a tie. Fowler, who passed away in 1973, was in his element wearing a huge sombrero and carrying his chili secrets in a crumpled paper bag. Terlingua is a barren ghost town on the Mexican border and if you plan on attempting the cook-off there don’t bring beans, they are banned. I’m trying to convince Joe to use his bowl of red expertise and be a ringer with me during next year’s Fernandina cook-off.

  • Comment (8)
  • Dave, The Salty Pelican, all day, every day, has $2 Narragansett Tall Boys.

  • Dave, thanks for the information on the availability of cheap beer but I don’t want cheap beer. I WANT GREAT BEER! Pajama Dave, are you listening? While a lot of people will drink just about anything if it is cheap….Bud Light for example….I want good craft brewed India Pale Ales. Thank goodness Sliders now has IPA on tap in their tiki bar but they only have one. Variety would be good. The Amelia Tavern has a good selection of beers from the Jacksonville area breweries but when will they start brewing their own. Salty Pelican and Alley Cat’s keep a respectable variety in IPA’s and stouts and Karibrew brews a decent pilsner.

    So, Pajama Dave and whoever is reopening the old Sand Dollar please, please, please consider taps or cans from Jacksonville breweries Engine 15, Veterans United and Green Room.

  • Recent Facebook blog/survey rated the Top 10 Jax seafood restaurants. #1was “Salt Life” which is scheduled to open here on the island. Any info on that, Dave? Barkeep at Slider’s this week told me that the old Sandy Bottoms is soon to open.

  • Zan’s planning on having the good/ great beer!!! 🙂 and some awesome wine! She’s doing a lot of testing and tastings to make sure we have the right beer for the developed tastes buds!!!!

  • Funniest most clever column in forever—and right on! Sadly some of these pointless ads are more entertaining than the show they’re supporting. Given a choice among the lizard, frump and self-destruct guy, my wife goes for Mayhem every time. Then when I got up off the floor laughing about castle history I got hit with the essentials for the 15 minute meeting. Hilarity runs amok, humor in truth, whatev…

  • Dave, thank you for mentioning our friend Bernard Martinage. He is by far the most knowledgeable and credentialed firearm instructor in this area. Bernard is true patriot. He has really helped increase my shooting skills and I highly recommend him to anyone out there looking to do the same. You will not be disappointed.

  • Pajama Dave! Your comment does my heart good. Wishing Zan the best with her tasting. And I meant Sandy Bottoms and not Sand Dollar in my early post. Maybe I shouldn’t have IPA for breakfast.

  • Driving UP the side of a mountain? What about the Range Rover that apparently is only capable of driving DOWN the mountain in a carefully excavated groove to guide its driver?


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