A Progressive Paddling That Wasn't

flo with paddle

The implication: "I'm really into spanking and I'm going to give you a good paddling." But it never takes place.

When this commercial hit the air, there was jubilation in certain quarters of our little spanking community (the only link I have is to My Bottom Smarts as I don't remember where the others were). The mood seemed to be, "The vanilla world is finally ready to accept us and our spanking fetish - hooray!" Bonnie herself wrote that "I think we have to conclude that members of our community are active in the advertising industry and helping to establish adult spanking in the mainstream consciousness. How cool is that?"

It would indeed be cool if that were the case, but such reactions were, I'm afraid, overly optimistic. As I wrote at the time:

"Ah, Bonnie, if only it were true that a small group of our fellow spankos were working on the culture from the inside out to make us more mainstream, but I'm afraid it ain't so. Madison Avenue, like Hollywood, is filled with poseurs who affect an air of sexual sophistication to put one over on the customer (and incidentally bolster their own feelings of insecurity). The irony is the middle America that forms their target audience, and to whom they desperately want to feel superior, probably knows far more about BDSM (including spanking) than they do. I doubt very much that the Madison Ave. people who put this ad together know one end of that paddle from the other. They do know how to run a bluff, because in their world it won't ever be called. In Texas (or here in Chicago for that matter), they'd quickly be spotted as 'all hat and no cattle'".

flo with paddle

The scene we'd like to see: "I'm sorry, Flo, but you know the rules - if you quote me a price higher than I'm paying now for insurance, you must accept one swat for each dollar of difference. Hand me the paddle and bend over!"

In other words, this ad is a con job, not in the sense that the product is no good (I have no opinion on that subject), but because it seeks the social prestige of sophistication while covering up its creators' ignorance and pusillanimity. Think I'm exaggerating? There is no sign that these people "know one end of that paddle from the other" as I said above. But suppose they did understand spanking - not just the mechanics, but the appeal it has to the men and women who practice it - notice that they didn't have the courage to follow through. Flo taps the paddle against her palm, but then uses it to flip some package off the shelf much like one of those casino games I can't afford to play (is it baccarat?) where the dealer uses a paddle to flip over the cards. This leaves the viewer wondering why they bothered to bring out the paddle-prop at all. As someone else commented:

"No, not impressed with the use of the paddle. It may as well have been a sock. Like everyone else, I was tickled to see the implement out in public. But not impressed by its weak presence."

That is exactly right. And it's not as though they actually would have needed to show the paddling - all they would have had to do was cut the scene (or cut to a screen with some writing on it and a voice-over narration) right after Flo taps her palm with the paddle. The implication would have been that there was an off-screen paddling. By not doing this, they chickened out, plain and simple. Why? Because they don't have any guts. They want to affect a veneer of sexual sophistication without accepting the responsibility (and the possible disapprobation) that goes along with it.

Anyway, here's the video so you can judge for yourself. The actress playing Flo does a good enough job, as does the actor playing opposite her - he does a fine impression of a scared rabbit (no spanko-boy he).


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