Watching last night’s Super Bowl, with the exception of the actual football being played, was like getting a blast from the past. And I’m not just talking about the geezers who played at halftime, though seriously, seeing Pete Townshend’s midriff multiple times was at least as traumatic as Janet Jackson’s nip slip ever was. I’m also talking about the fairly disturbing ad content.
The most disturbing was probably this one from Bridgestone: At first I thought it was some sort of ad involving the Batmobile, only to realize that it was about a guy who’d rather have his tires than his wife. There was something violent and scary about the way the woman was shoved out onto the street, in the rain, to face that creepy crowd of men with power tools alone. It seriously felt to me like he was leaving his wife to be raped, because he’d rather keep his Batmobile with his Bridgestone tires. Thanks to this ad, I’ll not be purchasing Bridgestone tires if I can help it.
Another bizarre ad was this one from Dodge: Man, it sucks that this guy has to walk a dog he most likely agreed to adopt. It sucks that he apparently shares his house and life and most likely bed with a woman who’d rather not have a bunch of hair left in the sink after he shaves. It sucks that in an economy with super high unemployment, he has a job he has to be at by 8 am. It sucks that someone loves him enough to call him, and then, Oh God, he has to TAKE that call. It sucks that he has to be civil to the parents of a woman in his life, though you’d think it wouldn’t be that hard to muster up some concern for your loved one’s loved ones. It sucks that he has to do girly shit like recycle. It sucks that he has to bear the burden of a lip balm in his pocket– what a horrible, terrible weight! To carry the lip balm used to make soft the lips that like to kiss you! The horror! Clearly, as a reward for all the adult-like behavior involved in having an adult-type relationship, and presumably getting the sex that goes along with it, this poor emasculated fellow needs to be rewarded with a big shiny penis in the form of a Dodge Charger!
The entire ad really confused me. If your life is that miserable, if it’s that hard for you to bring yourself to be an adult, you’re in the wrong type of relationship. Do yourself a favor and break up/get a divorce, and please, live alone, for the sake of humanity. The fact that the voiceover was Michael C. Hall from Dexter made the ad even more creepy to me. Like, if you don’t get that Dodge Charger, you might be forced to channel your emasculated rage into cutting women up into tiny pieces instead. Dodge in particular seemed to forget that women are also watching the Super Bowl, and we like cars, also. Maybe even Dodge Chargers, if the company weren’t going out of its way to let us know that they’re just for men.
And then there’s Flo TV. Maybe they’re overcompensating because Flo TV sounds like it should come with a complimentary iPad (see what I did there?), but this ad was also quite strange: That poor man! His girlfriend removed his spine! Um, you’d think a guy would be a badass for getting to go pick out lingerie with his girlfriend, offer opinions on what he thinks is hot, and then get to see that lingerie later, during sexytimes. But apparently, in Super Bowl World, having sex with women is not nearly as fun as watching tv on a hand held device, driving a car, or drinking beer with the bros. “Change out of that skirt, Jason,” really pissed me off. Because there’s nothing worse than looking like a girl (the worst of all insults) because you have a lady in your life who wants to buy lingerie and candles and then presumably have sex with you.
Perhaps all the dudes that Dodge and Flo TV are marketing to would be happier if they lived out in a field, with other men, away from the meddling influence of ladyfolk with their lingerie and recycling and crap. Then they could all get together and “wear the pants,” instead of a skirt, like poor emasculated Jason:
And then there was the sexism that wasn’t on TV, but in the room where I was watching the game: No one in the room groaned until the lady in the granny panties ran onto the scene. Then it was all “EW!” One of the other women watching the game with me remarked that we accepted the chubby males in tighty whiteys without comment, but a heavier woman in similar attire? Disgusting! Gotta love how inculcated we are with the female beauty standard.
There were more women than men at the watch party I attended, and even my husband noticed the creepy vibes in the ads, suggestions that women are just looking to trap men in relationships, and that no man could be happy in an egalitarian relationship. Perhaps someone should tell these ad agencies that if they want to sell us on something, they should stop relying on these neanderthal premises. Want to see an ad that truly worked? Leave it to Google: This ad was simple, and to the point. Because there was no dialogue, we actually got quiet, wanting to know what was going on. It actually demonstrated how to use the product it advertised, and it was heartwarming and uplifting rather than tearing down a gender or the idea of a relationship. It didn’t portray men as stupid or emasculated, or women as horrible harpies. It made me smile, and it stood out in a sea of advertising that seemed to rely on stereotypes from the past. Just another reason for me to love Google.
7 Replies to “halftime show isn’t the only thing stuck in the past”
Worst. Commercials. Ever.
Except the Google ad, and the E-Trade babies.
Honestly, it was sad, the misogynistic turn all the commercials seemed to take. And the TIm Tebow ad, where he tackles his mom? Who thought that was a good idea? It totally negated whatever message they were trying to get across (whatever it was; frankly both Tebow ads were pretty weak, which makes all the hoopla surrounding them seem to nothing more than hysteria).
I couldn’t believe how misogynist these ads were overall. It almost seemed like a theme throughout the commercials that was decided on beforehand, “Hey, I bet a lot of dudes will be watching, let’s make them feel awesome!” I couldn’t stop laughing after the Dodge Charger ad because I said to my roommates, “I only know one person with a Charger, and it’s a woman,” and I heard two, “Huh, me too.”‘ So yes, I agree, the only effective ads were the Google one (AWWW!!!) and those damn eTrade babies, and even that one was a bit weird… And those Tebow ads, well, let’s just say I didn’t even realize they happened.
The fact that we are allegedly in the middle of a “hecession” and recent statistics about women’s increased earning power in relation to their male partners’ makes these ads even more baffling. It’s like, despite the fact that women make and spend money, advertisers consider it more important to cater exclusively to men by bashing us.
The comment I just left for FloTV via their website:
I’m writing to let you know that I was disgusted by your ad during the Super Bowl last night. Yes, I’m a woman, and I was watching the Super Bowl! Turns out we ladies do that sort of thing sometimes, and make up around 1/3 of the Super Bowl watching audience. You wouldn’t know that from your ad, which depicted all women as emasculating and boring, more interested in making the men in their life shop for lingerie and candles (presumably to spice things up with said man in the bedroom, that poor fellow, having to have sex with an icky woman!) rather than letting him watch the game. If you ask me, that woman should dump “Jason” and find herself a real man, and women should dump FloTV. Which, I’m guessing they already have, or you wouldn’t have named your company something that sounds like it should come with a free complimentary iPad. Advertising based on sad stereotypes and the suggestion that being a girl or “wearing a skirt” are the worst possible insults to a man are misogynistic and offensive. Congratulations on turning off potential women customers last night, as well as many men. My husband was also offended by the ad.
The commercials were pretty bad.
But at the end of the day I still hate answering the phone, cleaning hair out of the sink, and shopping for candles is the secret tenth circle of Hell.
I guess what I don’t track so clearly with is why this isn’t supposed to be something you dislike. Basically what the commercials are selling is immaturity – being mature means making compromises, shouldn’t you get something out of the fact that finally, maybe when you were 25, you grudgingly agreed to act at a standard your fore-bearers were held to at 16?
That’s the part I think is the subtly weird idea of masculinity. It’s not, “You’re a man, you can kill an aurochs with a pointy stick, so surely you can clean up your own beard shavings while you laugh at death,” it’s, “Waa waa, you had to clean up your own beard shavings, feel better with toys!” But I don’t really have a problem with the list of activities that are not fun. I don’t care what kind of bribery is involved: the fact that bribery has to be involved means that lingerie shopping wasn’t fun.
The Dockers pants commercial really lost me. Unless it was Pete’s midriff causing my brain to misfire.
My husband and I were creeped out by ads. The Dodge ad with the blank stares, because their souls had obviously been sucked out by their harpy wives, particularly disturbed me. And guess what, lots of women don’t like doing the tasks that they had mentioned either, so it was a fail on several levels. The idea that somehow all women enjoy cleaning and shopping for homewares is false and dated.
However, I adored the Google ad. But they do have good people, like Marissa Mayer, so that probably helps. And I have to give it to Budweiser, the baby Clydesdale/baby Longhorn commercial made me smile almost as much as PuppyBowl.
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