The ad is pure sex and lust: A woman, her "O" face surrounded by a halo of luscious blonde tresses, tosses her neck back mid-kiss, lips parted in the most suggestive of ways. The man's face is obscured, buried somewhere between her neck and navel. The image is a tad blurred, manipulated by the art director for that slight soft-core porn feel. Emblazoned across the steamy scene: One word, all caps -
Oh, BTW, the couple is none other than Serena van der Woodsen (played by Blake Lively) and Nate Archibald (Chase Crawford) -- high school students in NY's Upper East Side-set Gossip Girl.
The use of a teeny-bopper text message acronym in a very adult ad for a show about high schoolers is novel but still symbolic of the di(tri?)chotomy which exists when it comes to marketing to young adults. People worry that Miley Cirus is blowing too-sexy kisses at the camera; Abercrombie & Fitch catalogues could pass for Playboy: The High School Years; and, well, remember Britney, begging to be "hit" one more time? But somehow the Gossip Girl ads seem even more in-your-face. The use of OMFG is blatant, unapologetic and vaguely smacks of something one might call out during sex: "Oh. My. F&%kin. God."
And yet, these are teenagers. In the show, their hook-ups are practically more elaborate and sexy than what we saw in 9 1/2 Weeks. Alcohol-fueled sex on top of a bar. Sex in a faux snow-filled apartment on Christmas eve, enhanced with overstuffed pillows and candles and push-up bras galore (episode sponsored by Victoria's Secret!) Fast and furious sex in a limousine following a salacious spur-of-the-moment striptease performed in a burlesque clubs.
These kids are 16. Seventeen at most.
I'm not saying teenagers don't have sex... or that showing such images will make teenagers have sex. Just like I wholeheartedly do not believe supplying condoms to high school students is "giving them permission" to go the distance. But the latter example is a matter of accepting facts and promoting safety and responsibility; the former -- these CW ads -- simply seem overtly gratuitous. Like supplying strawberry-flavored lube and handcuffs in the school nurse's office alongside those condoms.
Also, and maybe this is just my pre-college inexperience, but is sex among the SAT set really this hot? I never had sex in high school but remember lots of fumbling and groping and some fairly bad kissers. I rode in a limo to prom, but there were certainly no other kind of riding going on. Even if there was, I can't imagine it would've even remotely resembled Mickey Rourke and Carrie Otis in Wild Orchid. More like something from American Pie.
Regarding the controversy stirred up by the new OMFG ads (a sanitized version can be seen in this week's US Weekly - the same image, reading simply OMG), the CW said in a statement, "We wanted to create a provocative campaign that stands out from the competition and reminds viewers of some of the 'OMG' moments that have made Gossip Girl one of the most buzzed-about new shows on television. This sexy, sophisticated campaign speaks directly to our adult 18-34 viewers using expressions that are part of their lexicon."
As a fan of the show, It does appear I fall within their intended viewing graphic. But let's not forget Gossip Girl is based on a popular series of novels written expressly for teenagers. I suppose it doesn't matter because @TEOTD (At The End Of The Day), hundreds of thousands of teens and adults -- myself included -- will be watching and the CW execs will be ROTFLOL (Rolling On The Floor Laughing Out Loud) as Gossip Girl continues to score ratings.
Oh, and do check out the new GG trailer -- IDK what to say, other than, WTF?
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