So there were days – 1989, to be exact – when archery was on the list of activities manly enough to advertise scent-of-the-era Drakkar Noir, along with skiing (indoors?), boxing, what looks like pool on a glass tabletop, and some dice. Oh, and speedboating. They really pack it in to 15 seconds.
Needless to say, it’s pretty bad. Leaning back. Gripping the riser. No chestguard – be careful, there. It’s more interesting that archery, in 1989, had a place amongst hypothetical sophisticated Euro-man’s panoply of ripped activities. That it could sell something.
That it sold Drakkar Noir, a cologne so of its 1980s time that it’s even mentioned in Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho, is quite telling.
Many of you recently saw on my Facebook page this horror-show stock photo of an archer doing atleast six things wrong, wrong, wrong. He even lends his friend the same bow. Urgh. It’s clear from the sheer number of stock images of archers that it’s a popular enough trope amongst stock photo archives, of which Getty Images is probably the biggest worldwide.
I’ve written about nightmaare stock photos before, e.g. here. Basically, I believe people tend to recognise authenticity when it is put in front of them. When something technical is presented you can always tell when you are seeing an expert doing something rather than just a model, and with archery-based ads that little gleam of reality is only going to enhance the image of rugged individualism / ‘aiming high’ / ‘hitting the target’ etc. that they are trying to project with the product. I mean, some of these things have real archers in them, and they look a lot better. Right? Anyway…
Look at this poor guy, dragged all the way to a field in a nice suit just to shoot a bow strung backwards. And the less said about that finger, the better.
This guy, handed a bow at least strung the right way round, just looks awkward, like he’s never picked up a bow before. A long way from the chisel-jawed thrusting target-smasher they’re presumably wanting the image to sell to you. See also this.
So, you wanna use archery to illustrate how awesome your product is, right? Don’t blame you. It’s pretty hot right now.
Let’s go with the stance. It’s not too bad; her toes shouldn’t be pointed that far out, weight is a bit off balance. The chunky riser shape they’ve overlaid the milk on the second shot strongly suggests a Samick wooden trainer bow. Cheapskates. She’s gripping it all wrong. She’s gripping it, for a start. You don’t grip. Two finger draw, should be one over two under – or three under for real barebows, but I guess they all watched the Hunger Games again. Maybe that massive ring on her third finger got in the way.
Her draw wrist is cocked sideways and not flat to the forearm. Hope she likes wrist pain. Her bow elbow is wayyy over extended. No bracer, either. That’s gonna hurt tomorrow. Shoulders aren’t in alignment, which means it’ll be all arm muscle to draw – you aren’t using your bones and back, as our Lord intended.
She doesn’t anchor to her face or anywhere else. Cut back to the wide CGI shot, where the arrow isn’t anywhere near where it was in the previous shot. Lazy. And inevitably, there’s a horrible sideways popped release (if she’s actually releasing a physical string) that would send things wildly to the left.
But no matter, because the arrow doesn’t seem to actually hit the target, looks like it’s just been CGI’d in there. (I’m guessing they gave up after running out of fresh target faces). As for the arrows, the points wider than the shaft and the gigantic plastic nocks indicate that they must be the standard child’s starter fiberglass ones you get with the jelly bow sets. Cheapskates again. Why not go for some awesome crested traditional arrows, beautiful feathers flying? Says ‘authentic outdoors life’ right there.
Look, I know. No-one cares. It looks like a girl firing a bow (made of erm, milk) and that’s all that matters, right?
BUT: this is the thing I’ve said a few times. I believe that people tend to recognise authenticity when it is in front of them. When something sophisticated or technical is presented you can almost always tell when you are seeing an expert doing something rather than just an actor – and with archery-based ads that little gleam of reality is only going to enhance the image of rugged individualism / ‘aiming for the gold’ / ‘hitting the target’ etc. that they are trying to project with their products. You could get more interesting close ups, too.
Also the archer is very unlikely to be the most expensive element of the production, and I could name half a dozen elite archers, male and female, who are young & hottie enough to sell this particular gig.
So: I think you could have tried harder, Milk Life. And it would have been better. For you. For your sales. For everybody. Duuhhhh.
So I step out of my office here at Infinite Curve Towers and see this ad on a black cab on the street:
I mean, who signed that off, with the wrist looking like that? Not just bad archery… bad artwork. Sadly it seems to be a flipped version of another of their ads, spotted and criticized for different reasons by fellow WordPress blogger Sam Elfler:
That explains the wrist business, but not the grip, “hook”, strange, MC Escher angling of the string / limbs / bow arm, anchor, arrow on the wrong side of the bow… Or the fact the targets are, erm, behind her (unless that’s supposed to be the point). Although the vintagey clothing seems to be influenced by someone Googling the all-time awesome 1940s Greyhound ad.
Anyway, M&G Investments have form in this department – they seem to love the female archer image and recently used this monstrosity in another piece of online marketing. Yeurgh…
STANDARD BAD ARCHERY RANT: Look, I know. No-one cares. BUT: this is the thing, I believe people tend to recognise authenticity when it is put in front of them. When something technical is presented you can always tell when you are seeing an expert doing something rather than just a model, and with archery-based ads that little gleam of reality is only going to enhance the image of rugged individualism / ‘aiming high’ / ‘hitting the target’ etc. that they are trying to project with the product. Right? RANT OVER.
I’ve moaned about bad archery in advertising and TV etc. half a dozen times already on this blog, and recently on Facebook too. Don’t get me wrong: it doesn’t really matter, but my take on it is pretty simple: All archery is good for archery, but it’s almost as easy to get it right as wrong. Isn’t it?
[RANT] This is the thing: I believe people tend to recognise authenticity when it is put in front of them. When something technical is presented (especially on TV) you can always tell when you are seeing an expert doing something rather than just a model, and with archery-based ads that little gleam of reality is only going to enhance the image of rugged individualism / ‘aiming high’ / ‘hitting the target’ etc. that they are trying to project with the product. It’s not like ‘finding an archer’ is going to be the most difficult or expensive part of the production… and some advertisers have done it. [/RANT]
See above. Oh dear. Dear oh dear oh dear. Where do we start?
This production at the RSC is most notable, of course, for the fact that it’s using archery on the poster. I mean, archery is relatively incidental in Peter Pan (apart from Tootles). Clearly, this Wendy Darling-focused production is going to show her drawing a bow as a shorthand demonstration of her spunky individualism. It’s still all that Jennifer Lawrence’s fault, or something. But there’s something in the water. You can’t advertise any fantasy-based thing at the moment without someone drawing a bow, usually badly, on the poster. I mean, this Hobbit image (below) is on a cardboard DVD dump bin at the entrance to my local supermarket. A children’s production at a major theatre is picking up on it. Seems to have become a self-perpetuating meme.
And that’s all good. Bad archery is good for archery.
Still, it’s not like selling any old thing with something healthful and awesome like archery is anything new. But you CAN get the technique right…
You can read about more of my bittersweet, mildly pointless moans about bad archery here. Thanks to Ms. Infinite Curve for finding the flyer.
Well, the DVD of Catching Fire is coming out, and I took this picture of one of the posters on the London Underground:
…and she’s still doing that looping-her-finger-round-the-arrow thing in the publicity shot. Ouch. Of course, in the actual filming almost all the arrows are CGI’d on afterwards, because it’s too dangerous to actually fire arrows around on the set. Stage bows often use rubber bands instead of actual strings – which is probably the reason she can hold at full draw on her fingertips (above). Obviously the arrow was falling off the rest. But they could have put a clicker on for the publicity shot. Or, hell, a bit of tape would have held the arrow in place. Yes, it’s an improvement on the poster where she’s got her fingertip over the end of the arrow:
And the well used publicity shot from the first film, which looks more like an M.C. Escher painting every time I see it. I mean, is the arrow superglued to the back of her hand or something? And her bow arm angle versus the arrow is very strange…
I should stress that a) I liked the films (although the last act of Catching Fire really dragged) and b) they’ve done a ton for archery. My problem with most of the bad archery in ads and film is that it’s basically as easy to get it right as it is to get it wrong, and the general public recognise when something is authentic. Why get the publicity shots so wrong? I mean, they paid for Khatuna Lorig to train her how to shoot properly, right? That’s Hollywood for you though – get the headline story, and then… ah, whatever.
Imagine my joy and surprise on picking up crappy London freesheet newspaper the Metro this morning and finding this headline:
Unfortunately when I got to the actual copy all I got was this:
BOOO! Still Knightley has several bits of form here – she flung some sticks (not in this clip) in King Arthur …
…and also in the made-for-TV ‘Princess Of Thieves‘. Found this clip of an archery competition, which also features Malcolm McDowell doing what he does best, i.e. scenery-chewing ham villainry. Skip to about four minutes in. Good with a bow & arrow? I’ll leave that up to you to decide:
A man after my own heart. Nikolas Lloyd on YouTube has produced an entire video detailing the bad archery, terrible combat strategies, and nitpicky errors in the 2003 miniseries Helen Of Troy. Regular readers of The Infinite Curve will note that I have frequently picked up on ‘bad archery’ in the media, e.g. here, here, and here.
Coupla points: the reason why ‘stage’ bows do that pinging, doingy release is because the string is often a rubber band, which is why the limbs barely move. The reason why they are so low-powered is so as not to kill anybody on the set! Yes, they are hoping the audience won’t know/notice. Also, you don’t necessarily need three fletchings to stabilise an arrow, it’s just that three work very well. And bows can creak; have heard longbows creak on the line and my older wooden recurve limbs do the same in damp conditions. Anyway, enjoy:
This ad apparently came out last year, but I saw it run on some godforsaken digital channel only last night. Strongbow are a cider brand that have long used archery in their advertising, although I don’t remember it being quite as explicit as this.
So we have: sight set too high for 60m (or whatever that distance is), cheapo aluminium arrows way too long, stance too narrow. Whatever. Barebow anchor with a sighted recurve? Puh-lease. If you call that an anchor. And the ‘release’ is just hideous. Wish my arrows spun like that though…
The stupid thing about this ad is that real archers look completely awesome shooting. You could have found one with the requisite pecs and bearing without too much trouble, and it would have looked real – probably would have been cheaper than a male model, too. The viewing public tend to recognize authenticity when it is actually put in front of them, and that’s only going to add to the rugged individualism that they are trying to associate with their cider, right?