Some things you just can’t get away with anymore. And that’s a good thing. A lot of my conservative friends decry how we’re living in the “PC” age (as in Politically Correct, not PC over Mac), taking the infantile stance that things like racism, sexism, religious prejudice, etc. are things of the ancient past. And people who complain about such slights are just attention whoring. Sometimes, they are correct. But a lot of times, a lot of crap just hasn’t changed much in 50, 100, or even 10,000 years. Take the ad below for example:
Now first let me offer some qualifiers. This ad was only displayed publicly by the company in Singapore. And the American BK big-wigs went on record claiming this was the brainchild of some marketing dude in Singapore, and was not approved by BK HQ (which incidentally, is half a mile from where I went to high school. Yea I know, I don’t care much either)
But as you can guess, it quickly caused a bad PR firestorm and was pulled. I’m not sure what’s dumber.. the decision to green-light this ad or the idea that a “7 incher” would be a length of jaw-dropping proportions. (Oh right… this was in Asia.. tee-hee)
The point is, people were offended. Now maybe this ad is more dumb than sexist, but still, a major international fast food giant can’t just make a banner ad with an obvious fellatio metaphor and get away with it. But in an earlier age, maybe. If they were a tad less crude, and 10,000X more sexist at least. Here, have a look.
Here’s a Van Heusen tie ad from the 60s. There are some strange messages in this ad. First we know it’s obviously sexist, but it’s delivery leaves more questions than answers. First off, if you have to get fully dressed, then get into bed to have your woman serve you breakfast, you’re doing it wrong. Maybe that was the point of this ad, and we missed the backstory where this ungrateful wench slept in.
Secondly, I’m not sure how wearing a hideously ugly tie “shows” anybody anything, except the possibility that you may be color blind, or just have terrible taste. I’ve displayed the latter a few times, and it has never, I assure you, never, commanded respect in the eyes of women.
You know, at least in a lot of horrible sexist ads there’s a point. This just seems to be promoting spousal abuse for the pure hell of it. What exactly does “store testing” mean, which I guess means sampling, and how would you be able to tell if it was “fresher” that way, and why would that matter? a) Maybe this woman determined Chase and Sanborn (defunct in 1981) tasted like shit, after being store-tested. b) If a grocer is sampling coffee, it would be pretty self-defeating to give samples from a pot that was brewed yesterday. And c) if she’s brewing it, it’s always going to be “fresh.” Did they realize they’re talking about coffee?
This ad is so stupid I have an alternate hypothesis that works better, and makes me feel better. These people are obviously into role-playing and the “fresh coffee” thing is just a meaningless excuse to initiate the spanking. This ad isn’t sexist at all, and this coffee is merely lubricant to keep a 60s American marriage fresh, so to speak.
This one is a disjointed mess. The first thing you’ll notice is the yellow teaser at the top. I’m in San Antonio, so.. no comment. Secondly, it took me a few times scanning this magazine cover to get it, but I finally did. More role-playing!
Look, you might be confused as to how a stereotypical 60s-era man’s man wants his beer served in a champagne glass and smokes a hookah, rather then a pipe. Not to mention if you get a better look at the food, it sure looks more like a garden salad than a steak. Who does wear the pants around here?
The answer? Not her! yup.. take a look again. Check the err.. backside. There isn’t a damn thing on under that apron. Fooled again. Now, there may be a sexist tilt here as making your woman serve you dinner clad only in an apron seems to be an exercise in power. But that guy’s expression does not convey anger, smugness, or any indication that he’s about to emerge with just his undershirt on, and his belt off.
All kidding aside, I was joking about the coffee ad being a front for kinky role-paying tips. This one I’m 50/50.
This ad is all over the damn place.. but it starts and ends with a premise that’s pretty goddamned terrible. Basically it says, if you have dry skin, your husband will start fucking his secretary. It starts to get a little incoherent though.. as it claims 1 in 4 women doesn’t really mind having dry skin. Is that because they just don’t care, or does the other 75% only get miffed about the secretary-fucking thing?
The point is, I have no idea why if you want to create a horribly offensive ad you then tell your target audience it only applies to 3/4 of them. I think this one had bad editing. Not to mention there’s seemingly no rationale as to why this woman is taking an axe to power lines. Although I guess they’re supposed to be telephone lines? This is very faulty logic though. If a guy wants to bang his secretary, not being able to get the call home to his wife about not coming home is probably not going to stop him. In fact, it pretty much eliminates the last chance of an attack of conscience.
Not sure when exactly this ad is from. My guess is the 20s. And let’s be honest, this ad is telling the truth. It was true then. It’s true now. I’m not sure which sex this ad is really being sexist against. Since it’s trying to sell a product to women, our gut reaction is to say it’s against them. But what it’s actually saying is, “Look, quote all the Dylan and Frost and talk about Einstein’s new theories all you want. He’s just going to be staring at your tits.”
This is a) almost always, universally true, and b) not women’s fault. Men are pigs. On a first date, they will be staring at your body and fantasizing about sex with you 90% of the time, and the other 9% will be constructing a plan of attack to make that happen. You get 1% to try to make a connection with “personality,” but in a guy’s mind that’s just another pathway to sex. i.e. “Oh she’s into the environment. Next date: Greenpeace rally. I am totally in there.”
Look, please don’t get me wrong here. Women should be respected for their minds, their personalities, their senses of humor, etc. And maybe I can speak from a place of privilege, because I’m lucky enough to have an amazing girlfriend who has all that…. and she’s hot too.
But it’s not Palmolive’s place to take a stand or be the standard bearer for a feminist movement. They are saying: You want a 2d date? Look hot. And every woman I have ever known, no matter their views on gender roles and feminism, and how piggish they think men are, have always done one universal thing when put into a situation where they will be interacting with men. They make sure they look as hot as humanly possible.