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Posts Tagged ‘sexist ads’

The Super Bowl. It comes only once a year, but when it arrives it’s the talk of the country. Like a hurricane coming, we get hyped and ready for its landfall, shut ourselves in a room with a TV for several hours when it does, and even after it’s passed, people talk, talk, talk all about the experience (or in some cases like myself, grab the only lifesaver (a.k.a. the only other show on at the same time that was new–Downton Abbey) in sight and hold on for dear life until the storm passes). Love it or hate it, the Super Bowl is a swirl of two things as big as America itself: football and commercials.

America loves football and companies pumping out commercials love our money  us and the Super Bowl just isn’t the Super Bowl without a good helping of both. While football players get in shape for the big game, companies pull out the stops, struggling to outdo the rest with the most humorous commercial that will stick in the minds of viewers like the cheese from those stuffed crusts will stick in a person’s arteries. But while some managed to pull off a good balance of humor mixed with consumerism, others lacked the creativity and resorted to using that old and slightly moldy ingredient from the back of the pantry: cheap sex and stereotypes. So, after the storm of the Super Bowl had passed and the end credits of Downton Abbey rolled, I booted up the old computer and gathered up the four worst Super Bowl commercials of 2012 (plus my own snazzy titles).

#4: Doritos’ “The Neanderthal”

Ah, the good old trend of making man’s two loves food and sex while giving him the I.Q. of a peacock. The thing about commercials like these is that they manage to insult their apparent target audience (men) while also insulting women. Like some of those rare commercials when Hardee’s takes a break from in-your-face sex and objectifying women, Dortitos gives us a commercial where the man acts like he has a very limited capacity for thinking and can only focus on two things at a time. In this case, food and TV or food and sex. At the same time, Doritos manages to insert a lustful and naked woman in a commercial that has absolutely nothing to do with that; at least companies like Victoria’s Secret have an excuse for the content of their commercials.

#3: Kia’s “Boys Like Cars and Sex, Girls Like Princes on White Horses” (alternative title: “We couldn’t get more stereotypical if we tried”)

Kia went all out with the stereotypes in this lovely little piece. In one commercial they throw several overused and limiting stereotypes around. While the woman dreams of pretty pastures and a beautiful prince on a white horse (I was already gagging at this point), the MAN of this commercial dreams about MANLY things like hot women in skimpy outfits, hot cars, racing, rock music tributes, more hot women, and other MANLY things. Did I mention how manly it was? He even steals his girlfriend/wife back from that prince just to show us how awesome he is. Now if only they could have inserted a man who was sweating profusely. Judging from this commercial, it looks like Kia thinks women don’t buy cars. It’s like they’re living in a twilight zone where the men of the household control all the money, therefore making it impossible for women to buy cars or anything without their husbands permission. …Oh wait. There was a time like that decades ago! Come back to 2012, Kia.

#2: GoDaddy’s “What The Heck Do We Actually Sell?” 

Here’s my question about GoDaddy: after watching that commercial, what do you think GoDaddy sells? My impression is they sell blondes and brunettes, but it’s possible they have redheads, too. Seriously, this commercial would be perfect if GoDaddy were a website for a brothel (like Craigslist) or porn, but once again, this is a company that has nothing to do with scantily clad women. In fact, GoDaddy is just an Internet domain registrar. (I had to google that to solve that mystery.) It could be that GoDaddy brings in a lot of hits on their site by making these porn star commercials, but a good portion of those are probably now-ticked off porn-oholics who found out there’s no porn on GoDaddy. Just think of all those nice, porn-addicted costumers you’re selling short, GoDaddy.

#1: Teleflora’s “How To Take All The Romance Out of Valentine’s Day in 30 seconds” 

Out of these four very annoying commercials, Teleflora’s takes the cake. Oddly enough, this is the only one that sells anything that could be even remotely related to sex, but it was by far the worst for me. As you probably noticed, each one of these ads seem to direct the ad to men, but this one is also the only commercial where this actually makes sense; Valentine’s Day is coming up so, it makes sense that Teleflora–a company that sells flowers–would be directing this at men. Unfortunately, while this is the one commercial where these elements made sense, it crashed and burned with a horrific boom. Why should a guy buy flowers for his love? It’s not because he loves her, not because he wants to make her happy, but for the pay off. After Teleflora gives everyone a chance to drool over the sexy woman getting dressed for the majority of the ad, we finally hear her speak. What does she say? Speaking in a condescending drawl to spell things out for guys she obviously thinks won’t understand unless she speaks slowly, she says you give a girl something and you get sex back. Wham! Romance just took a sucker punch to the gut from Business! The people behind Teleflora’s ads need to get a new job because if they’re able to suck the love out of Valentine’s Day and flowers and make a day about appreciating the man/woman you love sound like prostitution, they’ve got serious psychological issues.

On a final note, I’d just like to remind all of these companies that women watch football, too. They’re pretty forgetful after all.

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Sorry for the inactivity recently; finals have a tendency to kill any creative inspiration. Anyway, in my last post, I discussed the use of sex to sell products, but blatant sex isn’t the only thing used to sell products in the United States. We Americans do love humor after all. So, the big men in business suits put their heads together and thought, “What sells besides sex that’s funny?”

The answer: stupid women.

Like a shiny new divine message sent from heaven, the businessmen must have held their hands up in dumbstruck awe at the genius of this idea that can compete with pure sex! Men (especially white men) are being pushed around a lot in today’s world and need a bit of a moral boost after all; they’re still feeling a bit of bad whiplash trying to catch up to modern times. The days when old, white men held the power of this world in their fat, sweaty grasps and women could only wave their sons, brothers, and husbands off as they marched off to higher places are gone. While the medieval men make a mad dash, reaching for something that has already come and gone, women have embraced what they have long been deprived of; a world ready for the taking (and not in the Limbaugh-scifi-nightmare scenario when feminazis take over the world and enslave the male population). Women are going to colleges and graduate more than men now, moving up in the job field (despite the lower pay rate), and are even running for president. But as the type of man who is reeling from his loss of dominance and perhaps about going bald struggles to reach the TV remote to flip on Super Bad, a commercial pops on:

Ah, nothing like a commercial utilizing stupid women to fluff the egos of the delicate endangered macho, big-headed male. For just an instant at a time, these men can delude themselves that women are as thick as the meat on one of Hardee’s heart attack-on-a-bun burger. That instant adds up to more, however, with the amount of commercials depicting the jokes of sad, deflated men. Beer companies love to use this tactic of approach since the beer companies themselves live under the delusion that women don’t drink beer. Keystone Light beer has gone so far as to create a fictional Neanderthal of a character for their commercials by the James Bond-esque name of Keith Stone (I wonder how long it took them to come up with that name?).

With the looks of a man who hasn’t left his man cave in years and has the tact of one who spent that entire time trying to pick up skills from Austen Powers movies, Keith Stone makes an impression alright. Making entrances to cheesy music, his debut appearance was helping an old woman rescue her “kitten” from a tree; that kitten was a dull (but beautiful) woman in tight clothes. How does beer fit into that ad? The only thing I can think of is that it might take a couple of beers to dream up that commercial and think it’s good.

 

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Commercials are kind of like gnats; annoying and in your face. Unlike gnats, however, which must content themselves with harassing people for a number of months while they’re outside, commercials can (and do) bombard us 24/7, like I.V.s connecting us constantly to the market. Commercials invade our world better than any army could and seal us in through our TVs, newspapers, magazines, they appear on billboards as we drive, and are even plastered in public bathrooms at times! We are looked down upon by obnoxious 7-year-olds trying to pressure us to be cool by buying the latest car! But if your average commercial is a gnat then sexist commercials are gnats the size of Donald Trump and about as tactful, too.

Speaking of big, blundering annoyances, Hardees is the biggest gnat I can’t seem to get rid of. For years, the brains behind Hardee’s that are eternally stuck in a time warp of college days that reek of beer, immaturity, and frats have been cooking up more soft porn burger commercials that make me more nauseous than hungry.

Let’s see some samples!

There is no doubt that Hardee’s is selling some kind of meat. Granted, these sultry sauce-licking, skin-glowing, cleavage-showing models are from commercials from a few years ago. In fact, after the messy eater to the left went off the air, there was hardly a sign of these sex bombs that had previously rained down upon the public without mercy. Unfortunately, just as I relaxed and finally felt safe enough to emerge from my bomb shelter, this smacked down:

Most people were probably a tiny bit distracted with the all but faceless sex object sauntering around, but I assure you, there was a burger in that commercial.  Hardee’s doesn’t give up though; there were a nice few seconds where the speaker points out the burger print on her bikini, emphasized by a close up on her breasts. That was sure to have many watchers drooling. Granted, it’s not quite soft porn like the examples above, but Hardee’s still demonstrates their complete lack of respect for women. But Hardee’s is just taking hold of the reins in a society where women are already used like cattle; we take the parts we want of them (their bodies) and forget the rest and boy, does it sell (to the point that our country has grown obese and dull on it)!

Hardee’s is not ashamed of their strategy to bring in customers. They readily defend their approach and their executive vice president of marketing, Brad Haley explained that Hardee’s is simply sticking to their “truths” which are the following:

  • “We believe in burgers. Big, fat, juices-running-down-your-arm kind of burgers.”
  • “We believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones don’t sell burgers.”
  • “We believe that life is short. So if it feels good, do it, and if it tastes good, eat it.”

Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2011/04/27/3059771/carls-jr-and-hardees-offer-no.html#ixzz1L0iAwUuF

I would say that burgers are the only thing Hardee’s believes in, because it certainly doesn’t appear that they believe that women are better than meat, but the words stick in my throat just as sure as that burger would stick in my artery. How much do they really believe in their fat burgers if they must rely on cheap sex to sell them?

But Hardee’s is not the only lonely, insecure boy on the block trying to be cool. Many companies are attracted by the tacky neon glow of sex like stupid, possessed flies to a house light. Just check out this in-your-face sex reference brought to you by Burger King. 

Then there are those ads from Victoria’s Secret with the skimpy models thrusting out their frilly, push-up bra-clad chests with pouting faces with the intensity of some kind of sex warrior. Whenever a Victoria’s Secret ad pops on and my eyes begin to glaze over, I always wonder; are they trying to sell (sex) to men or (underwear) to women?

Or how about the DirecTV commercial below? Sexy women in workout clothes stand around just to show the man’s wealth like some fancy, new vase he just purchased and wants to show off

In each commercial the viewer is expected to be young and male and, although the product does show up, it could just as easily fade away because the product isn’t what these companies are selling you; they’re selling you a male sex fantasy. Apparently, they didn’t hear that female consumers account for around 80% or more of all purchases. In the end, these companies are speaking–shouting–to the world what they think of the commoners glued to the TV; men like big food, beer, and sex and women must just be too busy in the kitchen to see any ads.

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