Using Women in Publicity Images - illustated by Jeannine Cook

When I was in Palma de Mallorca a couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my indignation at seeing beautiful women used to "sell" a new hospital, Son Espases. I still feel it is a completely inappropriate way to publicise the hospital, although I was fascinated to note that various Spanish men I talked to about it were surprised and amused at my reaction!!

Now, thanks to a dear friend's kindness, I can at least illustrate what I was talking about. I will be interested to hear what other people think.

Son Espases I.jpg

These billboards are all over the city and beyond, telling of the fact that Son Espases is (already) one of the best hospitals in Europe. The fact that the hospital has only just started admitting patients in limited numbers last week is apparently beside the point.

Son Espases III.jpg

Using Women in Publicity Images by Jeannine Cook

In Palma de Mallorca, my home happens to be adjacent to the major regional hospital. The big event at present is that this hospital, Son Dureta, is being phased out and all activity is now transferring to a huge new hospital on the outskirts of Palma. Son Espases, this hospital city, is nearly complete, and consequently, as patients transfer and the staff sorts through the complicated geography and activities, there is a major advertising campaign underway about its launch.

One of the most promient hoarding advertisements about ¨Son Espases - one of the best hospitals in Europe¨ shows a very beautiful woman, her head covered with a surgical cap and a mask over her nose and mouth. Ready for the surgeon to start wielding the knife, in other words. She has wonderfully beautiful eyes. Behind her is a fainter silhouette of a similarly garbed woman.

My reaction initially was, what on earth has a beautiful woman got to do with the quality of a hospital and its services? My second reaction was irritation. Only in a male-dominated situation could it be concluded that a beautiful woman was the best way to sell a hospital! Really!

Images of women are of course habitually the choice way to advertise watches, clothes, accessories, even cars, and alcohol in Spain – but somehow it seems to me that it is time that women start protesting at some uses of their images. I wonder what other people think of using beautiful women to sell hospitals?

Branding, images and self-promotion by Jeannine Cook

Just recently, it seems that every programme I listen to on National Public Radio or any magazine I read alludes to the necessity of branding in these times of high unemployment and economic woes. Very understandable, but as an artist, this is a topic that comes up, right from the moment one starts being an artist.

Listening carefully to the advice proffered and stratagems advised, I am often left thinking that the one thing I don't hear much talked about is passion. And yet, in the art world, without the passion to dream, plan, create and - frequently - promote, it is very hard and difficult sledding. So often, too, the passion that an artist feels is the best platform for other people to connect with the art created, making the artist the best sales person for him or herself. "You exist only in what you do" is a true observation when it comes to branding yourself in the economic and creative marketplaces. Federico Fellini, the wonderful Italian film maker, was very accurate in this observation.

Frederico Fellini in the 19560s

Frederico Fellini in the 19560s

Being true to a vision and belief in oneself means that there has to be a dialogue with that small inner voice that each of us has. The magic of any creative venture is that since each of us is different, responding to different experiences and environments, the art produced will most likely be individual and distinctive. That art can become a branding vehicle to make that artist's work recognisable, a vehicle to promotion if need be. In some strange way, too, an artist who is passionate and committed about making art creates work that rings true to the viewer, no matter what the type of art. Passion is one of the most fabulous attributes of a human being, it seems to me – in every realm of life – the essence of being alive. As Fellini also remarked, "There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the passion of life."