an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Posts Tagged ‘sex’

Pepsi Max: It’s Still Rape, Guys

Posted by Rosepixie on April 25, 2010

This is a recent commercial for Pepsi Max.

I can’t even tell you how much this ad disgusts me or how absolutely horrified I am that it was considered a good idea by the company.  I have no idea what could have POSSIBLY told them that this commercial was ok, because it’s really, really not.

This ad portrays a group of guys setting up an elaborate ruse to deceive a woman for the express purpose of one of them having sex with her.  Compelling someone to have sex against their will is rape.  I’m not even going to argue that point (and this is one of those posts were I will carefully screen all comments, since rape is a very sensitive subject and some people just plain don’t get, especially on the internet).  We live in a rape culture – the media all around us tells us that women’s bodies are for the taking and that if a man’s not “getting any”, it’s because a woman is withholding it from him.  This encourages and gives something of a free pass to men’s attempts to coerce women into “putting out”.  And women give in because they’re told they should.

To create a commercial that shows guys tricking a woman who has explicitly said “no” like this and then dancing about their success at the end is to glorify rape.  I really can’t find any other way of reading this one.  I’ve tried.  No means no and if you then trick her into it, it just makes you an asshole.  Pepsi, you totally fail this one.  I hope it comes back to bite you.


Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Candie’s Foundation: Celebrities on Teen Pregnancy

Posted by Rosepixie on April 17, 2010

The Candie’s Foundation is an organization that produces shiny advocacy ads aimed at convincing teen girls that they don’t want to be pregnant.  They do this most often by pairing celebrities that teens recognize and like with more or less random statements about how having a baby as a teenager would not be fun.  A few examples of their ads:

What do Ciara, Fall Out Boy and Hilary Duff have to do with babies? Your guess is as good as mine.  But it seems that they’ve finally gotten a “celebrity” who actually is a teen mom – Bristol Palin.  Now, she doesn’t exactly make being a teen mom look miserable, but at least she can tell you why:

The ad is right, it’s the girls who aren’t rich and famous who really have a hard time when they get pregnant young.  The problem is that the girl in the ad doesn’t have that problem – she is rich and famous.  And the people in the other ads aren’t even teen moms.  They may be famous faces that get attention, but they seem kind of out of place in the ads!

If Candie’s wanted to use faces girls would recognize but made sense, why not try Ellen Page, who at least played at pregnant teenager?  Or the girls from the popular reality shows about teen pregnancy who actually are pregnant teenagers?  Or better yet, why not give up the famous faces idea and use real teen moms who have real stories to tell?

While I can appreciate what this campaign is trying it do, it feels disingenuous to me.  The pieces of the ads don’t fit together and that makes me wonder how actually committed to the message they are, or if they just want to make sure people notice the ads.  They could make ads that are just as pretty and glossy with regular girls as they can with photos of celebrities.  And they might find that they would be more effective that way.

Posted in Advocacy | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

American Apparel: Best Butt Contest

Posted by Rosepixie on April 6, 2010

American Apparel recently held a contest to find “the best bottom in the world”.  Anyone could enter, but they had to submit photographs of their butts wearing American Apparel clothing to be posted on the website and voted on and commented on by users.  Anyone could then vote and comment on any photograph they wanted.  The winners were chosen by the company, but the winners of the popular vote got prizes too.

Of course, when you went to the website, the first page you saw was the women’s category.

Notice the poses and the choices of clothing in the featured pictures.  The large picture at the top cycled through different images.

Here’s the guy’s page, which you had to choose to go to via a tiny link in the top corner of the screen that I completely missed until I went looking for it, wondering if this was a women’s only contest or if I was missing something (you can see the link in the image).

See how very different this page feels than the women’s page?  There’s a few sexualized poses, but not nearly as many and none of the men are exposing nearly as much skin as pretty much all of the women are.  Hell, one of them isn’t even a picture of someone’s butt!

Not surprisingly, I have quite a few problems with this particular marketing gimmick.  First of all, the presentation is awful.  Asking people to send in pictures of their butts is one thing, but posting them online and encouraging others to vote and comment on them is quite another.  Much of the site is basically soft-core porn images and the comments are horrid and demeaning, as the images are being treated as porn.  This is just about the worst kind of objectification and even worse than the passive objectification that is usually fed to us in advertisements, this promotion actually invites us to participate in objectifying people, judging them and commenting on their body parts.

Second, this promotion specifically restricts what contestants can wear when entering.  All entries must portray contestants wearing American Apparel garments from specified categories (panties (women), bodysuits (women) or briefs(men)).  Since all of the products available for men to wear are less revealing than the products allowed for women to wear, they already have a major advantage in the objectification department in this case.  There are numerous styles available for women, but they are almost universally smaller garments than those available to the men and there are several thong and string options, which there are none of in the men’s category.  This makes the contest even more heavily forced into the soft-core porn territory it likely would have fallen into anyway (given the topic).  It also restricts the entrants to only previous customers of American Apparel.

Now, American Apparel is known for it’s objectifying and sexist ads, so this really shouldn’t be a surprise.  It just sort of hit a new low, in my opinion.  This is the company getting free advertising images from customers that they can use on their website with little cost to themselves (effectively none if they rig the contest so that they choose someone they wanted to model for them in the first place).  It’s pretty revolting.  I knew there was a reason I’d never bought anything from them.

Posted in Fashion | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Trojan Condoms: Protect the Nation!

Posted by Rosepixie on March 6, 2010

This is an ad for Trojan Condoms that is masquerading as a vintage PSA.

Mostly I found the voice-over in this commercial particularly funny.  It’s such a serious voice and the script is peppered with the least serious words for things (i.e. “boinking”).  I also laughed at the image of Mount Rushmore with condoms falling out of it.

The humor factor goes a long way here because this is actually not a very informative commercial.  There was some factual information given, but mostly it stuck to rhetoric and gimmicks.  I did notice that on the very brief screen where it listed facts about STDs (not the best term, by the way, Trojan, since you’re talking about STIs as much as STDs and I’m pretty sure some of your facts cover both) it listed the percentage of teen girls with STDs (again, I think that’s the STI/STD number, since the STD number alone is much lower), but not any guy-specific statistics.

I think this ad works pretty well, even if it does have some issues.  What do you think of it?

Posted in Health and Science | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Vintage Friday: The Air Strip

Posted by Rosepixie on February 5, 2010

This is a commercial from Braniff Airlines (I don’t have a date, but the uniforms date from the 1960s, so it has to have been from sometime that decade).

This is a pretty offensive commercial, once you get past how ridiculous the whole thing is.  First of all, the idea that the flight attendant is “stripping” for you throughout the flight is pretty horrifying and creepy.  Second of all, there is so much wrong, even for the time period, with the line “Braniff International … believes that even an airline hostess should look like a girl.”  Even in a profession populated entirely by women, it’s rather disgusting to say that unless they dress like that they wouldn’t look like “girls”.  Not to mention that saying that while PUTTING ON A STRIP SHOW (even one with no actual nakedness) has all kinds of overtones.  It suggests that to look like a girl, one must be a sex object, on display with no voice.  It also suggests that looking like a girl either means dressing a certain way or being sexy enough to pull off the sex object act (or both), but probably has little to do with actually being a girl, since many real girls likely won’t qualify.

And, yes, I’m well aware that there were other things equally bad or worse from the same time period, but that doesn’t excuse this.  This also came out around the same time as The Feminine Mystique and some serious and very vocal movements opposite to it.  It doesn’t get a pass just for coming out in the 1960s.  That’s not how it works.

Posted in Travel, Vintage | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ecko: Threesomes!

Posted by Rosepixie on January 20, 2010

This is an ad for Ecko, a fragrance by Mark Ecko.

I have no idea what threesomes have to do with fragrances, but since perfume and cologne ads pretty much always promise sex or romance or whatever, it’s not wildly out of character.  I did notice the arrangements of the threesomes, though.  There are two sets and in each set the person in the middle very much feels in control, one is looking out at us while the other two are fawning over her while the other is focused on one person, but both others are totally focused on him.  In the center of one trio is a woman and in the center of the other is a man.  Makes sense, right?  Balance things out?  Except that it’s not.  Both threesomes are two girls and a guy.  Why?  Probably because it’s culturally more acceptable for girls to have sexual encounters together than for guys to do so, even if there is a girl involved.

I found when looking at this ad that I didn’t know who it was for.  Was this a men’s cologne or a women’s perfume?  No idea.  Some research beyond the ad tells me that it’s for men, but I really wouldn’t have been able to tell you that without a Google search!  That’s definitely a problem with this ad!

Posted in Beauty | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Yaz: Confusing the Issue

Posted by Rosepixie on January 17, 2010

These are commercials for Yaz, a birth control pill, and all were found on YouTube after I’d been told about them.

This is the one that I’ve seen most often and is really the most random.

This is another common one, although is likely the one to have caused the issues for them later.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a version that hasn’t had immature comments written over the top.  If anyone has a link to one, please let me know.

The FDA noticed that their ads were… not so full of useful information and maybe a little misleading and ordered the company to try again.  They produced this ad with the “doctor” from the previous one to “clear up” any misunderstandings they may have caused by their previous ads.

I’m not absolutely positive where this ad falls in the sequence, but my guess is that it was made after the FDA made them change their ads.  It is basically the second ad with new voice-overs (not very well dubbed over) and makes even less sense, given the setting.

So… by the end of this… I’m less certain of what this pill promises to do than I was at the beginning.  And the fact that they said some things that don’t quite match what I’ve learned about PMDD from actual medical resources doesn’t reassure me any.

And why do birth control pills always show women living glamorous Sex in the City like lives without any hint of, you know, SEX?  Wouldn’t at least a relationship be a logical thing to show here?  Maybe a girl discussing it with her SO?  Why is it always girlfriends and why is the major selling point that it makes your periods regular?  It’s birth control.  Most women take birth control to not get pregnant.  While regulating periods is a real concern for some women and some do take the pill only for that reason, oral birth control is far from a side-effect-free drug and most women take it because it’s extremely effective BIRTH CONTROL and consider the cycle regulation a nice side effect.

But clearly I just don’t get it.

Posted in Health and Science | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Scarleteen: Questions and Answers

Posted by Rosepixie on November 24, 2009

This is a banner ad for the website Scarleteen that I saw online.  It cycled through a bunch of photographs of teenagers above the text, but all of the text is represented here.

Even though there isn’t a ton of information here, I really like this ad.  It shows a wide variety of teenagers, both male and female, and in general they look pretty normal.  The implication that they will try to answer real questions with real answers implies an attempt to really address the issues teenagers are facing, not just the issues adults want them to be facing.  I have no idea if this is true, but the ad certainly does a great job of making the website sound informative and inviting.  No mean feat when that is rarely the case with sex education in any format these days!

Posted in Advocacy | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Kingory: Game or “Adult Entertainment”?

Posted by Rosepixie on September 29, 2009

This is a banner ad for Kingory that was found on a website for shortening URLs.

Kingory 1

This ad appears to be for some kind of porn game, doesn’t it?  The line “come play me” particularly bothers me.  It’s selling the girl, not the game, and people aren’t products (no matter what the ad agency seems to believe).  Even weirder, the game (which claims to be the “most-played web game”, but is not one I’ve ever heard of, which strikes me as suspicious) is a war strategy game with what appears to be building, resource management and troop disbursement.  This game does not appear to have anything to do with sex or even women.  Now, the Evony ads are rather notorious for using breasts to sell a civilization building game, but they at least don’t say “come play me“, just “start your journey now, my lord” and “save your lover”.  This seems somehow worse to me, since it’s actively implying that you get to “play” or control a woman.  I don’t know.  It just creeped me out.  Anyone else have thoughts on this one?

Edit: Here’s another version of this ad (this one doesn’t even give the title of the game).  Best of all, this one was found in an article about racist ads (not featured in the article, but as the ad breaking up the article).

Kingory 2

Posted in Entertainment | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Advice 4 Parents is Problematic

Posted by Rosepixie on September 14, 2009

This ad has been bouncing around the blogosphere for a little while now and that’s how I first encountered it, but it was only after researching the website it came from that I decided to discuss it here.  It was produced by the Parents Speak Up National Campaign (an organization that is run by the Office of Public Health and Science).

So, I have some problems with the ad by itself.  How do you reasonably discuss sex and not having it with your kids without taking about “the parts”?  I mean, how are they even supposed to recognize it if they don’t know what it is and how it works?  It may make you uncomfortable, but doesn’t that seem like sort of important information?  Do we really want to go back to the days when young women got married as virgins without knowing what was really going to happen on their wedding nights because no one thought it appropriate to discuss “the parts” with a young lady?  And apparently this is being shown during kid’s programing on television, which seems to defeat the purpose since it’s more likely to make kids go “what are they talking about?” and ask more questions than anything.

But beyond the ad itself, the part of the website where you can download it showed me something else that bothered me:

4Parents Ad BreakdownNotice the headings at the top?  The video I have embedded is the “General Audience” version.  There is a version of the exact same commercial with African American actors and voices as well (although only in the 30 second version) and yet another version with Latino actors and the voice-over in Spanish (again, only in the 30 second version).  While I’m glad to see a commercial made with actors of different races, I have to say that I was a little offended that the white version was called the “General Audience” version as if white was somehow more universal than any other race.  I mean, I know that that is the general perception  in marketing and all, but actually labeling it that way seems a little obviously racist.  Maybe I’m making too much of it, but it kind of bothered me.  I guess I just wondered why an African American father/daughter ad wouldn’t speak to all the many races that are present in a “general audience”, but a white father/daughter ad would.

Posted in Advocacy | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »