If you're going to make an omelette, you've got to break a few eggs.
And if you're going to make a TV commercial in which a determinedly stylish woman saws off the right heel of a brand-new, red-soled pair of pumps in order to wear them while driving her BMW, you've got to ruin a few Louboutins. Or do you?
Take a look at the commercial, then examine the frame above. As satisfied as our ruthless fashionista looks with her new purchase, the shopping bag is a knockoff. Real Christian Louboutin bags are indeed a color close to grocery bag brown (remember paper bags? the evil tree killers that were replaced by more virtuous plastic bags, before they too became public enemies?), with a subtle tone-on-tone horizontal stripe. However, Louboutin bags have the designer's logo printed in white on both sides. Moreover, the real things have white rope handles, not ribbons.
The shoes themselves are a tougher call. The logo on the insole is unreadable, even magnified and sharpened (hi-def, anyone?). Its shadowy form doesn't match the printing that would appear on a real Louboutin insole, in most cases consisting of the designer's name and the word "Paris" in gold. It's possible that the logos in the ad were deliberately obscured, either manually or digitally. The insole of the shoe in the model's left hand, in particular, is suspiciously dark in the middle where the logo should be.
That leaves us with the signature red soles, an immediate indicator of the master's work -- except when they're not.
So, real or fake? At a visceral level, I'd like to think that the shoe in the ad is a knockoff, and that the horrified reaction of shoe-loving viewers is mere media manipulation. After all, the bag is fake, and destroying a few copies while filming would be much less expensive than sawing through heel after heel of the real thing.
On the other hand, one estimate sets the average cost of producing a 30-second commercial at USD $350,000. In addition, the price of air time during the last Superbowl reportedly topped $2.5 million. With that kind of budget, why not go for the expensive thrill rather than the cheap one?
If actual Louboutin pumps were harmed in the making of this commercial, however, why would BMW change the bag and obscure the logos? One possibility is to focus viewer attention on only the most relevant details, namely the red soles and the BMW logo. A more likely reason, however, would be that Louboutin didn't give permission for his logo to appear in the ad, which essentially elevates the car over the shoes as an object of desire -- not exactly an intelligent designer endorsement.
As for the red soles, they're not registered trademarks. Yet.
Postscript to ad folks: OK, you've succeded in getting at least one woman to notice a car commercial. However, the action is so eyebrow-raising (yes, really) that I watched the ad several times before remembering what make of car was involved, and even now I couldn't name the model. Just in case you were wondering.