Puma, the running shoe company, is running a new ad campaign in the NYC subway system. I'm not sure if it's being run elsewhere, for the simple reason that I don't live anywhere else. They've taken over an entire tunnel at the West 4th Street station, which means you cannot escape the intense Puma-ness. I'm often overwhelmed when a company does this, simply because it smacks of some kind of Soviet-style propaganda campaign; the only thing you see is one thing, the thing they want you to see. And it's overwhelming. But that's not what bothers me in this case.
It's the actual ad campaign. Puma wants you to come meet one of their employees. Her name is Jessica L. and apparently she runs across the rooftops of NYC. I didn't know you could do that. I would imagine a large number of people would call the police if they saw someone vaulting, parkour-like, along the skyline.
The billboards exhort you to come by the Puma Store to meet Jessica L. and hear about her exploits. Naturally, she does this in Puma sneakers. Maybe, after you speak with Jessica, you'll be inspired to buy a pair of their sneakers and run, Parkour-like, across your own neighborhood rooftops. I'm not entirely sure the NYPD likes this ad campaign.
Personally, I have only two questions for Jessica: 1) Do you wear some kind of superhero costume while you do this (I'm betting it's Spiderman)? and 2) why in the hell would you do something like this when there are perfectly non-high places where you can run? Then again, I was raised Jewish, and my mother thought playing anywhere near a street was dangerous, that little Jewish boys were better off reading than running around, and that I should wait an hour after eating before I go anywhere near any kind of water. I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was in junior high.
Jessica L. herself looks like a young Farah Fawcett clone, which creeps me the hell out considering the latter just died from ass cancer. (I'm certain I just offended someone with that one, but that's what "rectal cancer" is, and I think it sounds nicer). So is the motivation to get you to talk to Jessica L. about her running exploits, or to have a line of sketchy men asking her for her phone number all day long? (And would she give it to me if I bought a pair of Pumas? Please?) Would any of us care if Jessica L. was actually Jesse L., a hairy, 300 lbs. tub of lard? (Then again, such a person wouldn't be running anywhere, I suppose).
What really caught my eye, however, were the hours when you could meet the lovely roof-top running, Puma-wearing Jessica L. Monday to Saturday, 10 to 8, and Sunday, 11 to 7. Apparently, Jessica, trooper that she is, works seven days a week; and she works a ten hour day most days, and an eight hour day on Sunday. Now, I'm pretty sure this is illegal for an hourly employee, so someone in government somewhere should drop by and have a little talk with the Puma slave drivers. Does she even get a lunch hour?
But moreover, if Jessica L. is the hardest working woman in the shoe business, working 68 hours per week, when in the hell does she have time to go galavanting across the rooftops of NY? Is she out there at all hours of the night, leaping from building-to-building? And if she is, maybe she should consider wearing a superhero costume after all. Maybe this could be Puma's next ad campaign, where you can talk to Jessica L. and find out how she beat up Green Goblin, or that time she took out the Riddler.
Or maybe, it's all a put up job by some corporation, and Jessica L. isn't a real person at all. In which case, I wish they'd take their damn annoying propaganda campaign down.