WTF: Sexism in Advertising

April 20, 2009

Out of fracking Nowhere:


I fail to see what this has to do with the product sold. Oh, wait. STOPPING TRAFFIC. It is necessary to have an image of a woman in bondage gear showing her ass to the camera because THAT WUD SO STOP TRAFFIC THEIR TRAFFIC CONES GET IT?!!!

Don’t worry, guys: I hate you right back.

P.S. This was a Google ad on FAILblog.

ETA: This just in: Advertisers dig a chick with NO SPINE.


ETA2: Tennessee Guerilla Women has a post up just now on misogyny in car ads. Even if all men don’t hate you, the ones in advertising certainly do.


Assvertizing: Coca Cola Zero!

April 17, 2009

According to Coca Cola, here’s life as it should be:

My incredibly biased transcript:

A young man enters a small grocery store. He is schlubby and sad-looking.

Caption: Starring OUR HERO.

He pulls a coke zero out of a beverage case. A woman walks up to him.

Caption: Co-starring “THE EX”

The Ex: Hi.

Our Hero: Hi.

A good looking man walks up behind the woman and stands next to her, looking possessive and smug.

The Ex: So… how have you been?

Our Hero looks sad for a moment, then takes a sip of the coke.

CUE ACTION SEQUENCES! Shots of dramatic-looking blood vessels and burning film! Writhing snakes! A guy riding a motorcycle out of an explosion!

Narration: From the makers of Coca Cola Zero comes a taste of life as it should be!

More fire! A woman shaking her hair! A horse rearing in front of yet more fire! And an explosion! Of fire!

A woman in heels walks dramatically through the grocery store. Ordinary people in the store gawk at her.

Hot Lady: Baby? Whipped cream, or chocolate sauce?

Cut to the woman writhing as chocolate sauce and white cream are poured all over her. (With FIRE in the background!)

Back in the grocery store, looking smug:

Our Hero: Both.

Hot Lady makes a Hot Lady Face at him, and then a helicopter descends on the grocery store. It sends papers flying all over the ordinary people who gawked at Hot Lady earlier. A chain drops from the ceiling, and Our Hero grabs it and Hot Lady.

Our Hero (to The Ex): You know me, I’ll manage!

The chain is pulled up and he and Hot Lady go through the ceiling of the store with an explosion. And live. It’s not really clear how this part works.

Cut to a bottle of coke, on top of a pile of writhing snakes (which are, sadly, not on fire.)

Narration: Great taste. Zero sugar. As it should be.

So… um. Yes. That is certainly what I think my life should be like!

I’m honestly a little lost for words when it comes to critiquing this thing. The total blandness of Of Hero, the shot of Hot Lady naked and covered in syrup, the stupid possessiveness about The Ex from both Our Hero and her new guy… it’s a lot of really ordinary and stupid sexism.

But then the video itself is so ridiculous in so many other ways, too. Like, writhing snakes? Surrounding your product? Delicious! And a serious obsession with explosions. I mean, I love action movies, and I didn’t think you could have too much exploding fire– but they managed it! It’s just really hard for me to take it seriously.

Except that while I’m sure the creators of the ad were aware that all the fire was over-the-top and more silly than awesome, I’m not convinced they were similarly self-aware about the sexism. I get the feeling they thought that was just awesome.

Especially when I look at their other videos, like Breakup: As It Should Be, which is actually even worse. The action is played for laughs, but the sexism is… endorsed.

Makes me glad I don’t drink Coke.

Objectifying Men: still not making anything better.

January 27, 2009

I find Sociological Images to be a really interesting blog (though I don’t usually find the comments particularly worthwhile), and I’ve been meaning to write about this older post of theirs for a while.

It’s a series of ads that show completely naked men with fully-clothed women, a complete reversal of the usual trope. My initial response wasn’t actually too pleased, since it’s no good if we close the gender gap by pulling men down; when I talk about “equality” I’m not talking about dealing with equal amounts of shit, I’m talking about eliminating the shit. So a step towards objectifying men’s bodies too struck me as being a step in the wrong direction.

However, the more I looked at them, the less it looked like any kind of change from the norm at all. This picture in particular held my attention (possible NSFW; no bits, but a lot of naked man):

Read the rest of this entry »

Petty Rant #372: Learn To Google

October 5, 2008

Hey, Lionhead Studios! I’m kind of excited about Fable II (since you finally realized that a game that’s all about choice probably ought to let you choose a gender) but man did your ads make me wince today.

I mean, I kind of hate the fake olde-tymey “rollover to divine thy destiny” to begin with (especially since “rollover” is such a completely modern word that it makes the whole thing awkward.) But if you’re going to make animated, expensive ads and plaster them everywhere, maybe do some grammar-checking first. So you don’t look stupid by doing this:

“Enter THINE date of birth”? Really? THINE?

Now, maybe I’ve read more historical fiction and fantasy (and Shakespeare) than most people, but that sounded wrong immediately. Just to confirm, I did some googling, and lo! All you have to do is type in “thy thine” and hit search, and literally millions of websites will appear with helpful explanations. I sampled the first six, and they all said, in nice simple small words, that “thy” is singular and “thine” is plural. “Thine” can also be used as a singular when in front of a vowel, but I’m afraid “date” pretty obviously begins with a consonant.

So: Thy boss ought to flog thee. Thine advertisement containeth an error. It maketh me reluctant to become a customer of thine.

(Side note: I haven’t seen them make this error, but too many people do when trying to sound olde-tymey. Verbs only end in “eth” when, in the modern usage, they would end in “s.” So, no, these advertisements do not “faileth.” They just fail.)

I’m not saying everyone should know this. I’m saying one of the highly-paid graphic designers, copy writers, or advertising managers should have known. Or at least checked. If you aren’t sure of something, before you commit gazillions of dollars to something, just look it up.

That’s really what bothers me about this ad. Not that they made an obscure grammatical error, but that no one in the entire ad-creation process cared enough to do a simple google search to make sure they had it right.

McCain, and asking rhetorical questions

August 27, 2008

So, I was on teh internets, as usual, and I saw this ad:

I though to myself, hpmh, that’s an annoying way to phrase the question, but the answer is still an emphatic YES. I’d better vote so McCain can’t use this statistic against Obama. So I clicked “yes,” and it brought me…to this page:

So, uh, McCain’s website isn’t actually collecting data. There’s no way to vote yes. This seems like such a perfect example of who McCain is and why I don’t want him as president, I couldn’t help but share.

McCain: Asking Questions Without Listening To Answers (And Taking Drastic Action Anyway) Since 1936.

(Side note: I had no idea McCain was born in 1936 before this very moment. 1936! That’s before World War II! That’s flappers and the Charleston! No wonder he has so much trouble remembering that Czechoslovakia doesn’t exist any more.)