Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Brand Suicide, Comment, Crap Campaigns In History, Culture, Women
So this is going to be an interesting post because I run the risk of being called sexist, old-fashioned, out-of-touch and basically a grumpy old bastard.
However, given I’ve been called waaaaaaay worse over the years – and mainly on this blog – I’m going to keep going regardless.
So a few weeks ago I wrote about a Dior advertising campaign that makes their new lipstick, resemble a cigarette.
Some – basically, John Dodds – argued that I was ‘seeing’ what I wanted to see, but in one of George’s comments, he linked to two photographs that seem to have been inspiration for the style of shot and both of them featured a cigarette as it’s main ‘prop’.
I know that’s not undeniable evidence, but I feel the circumstantial evidence – not to mention the product name, ‘addict’ – makes it seem likely this was the intention behind the imagery. Or should I say, that specific imagery.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is a whole host of shit spouted in mens advertising.
Puerile. Sexist. stupid.
I’m in no way defending that, it’s basically what I write about every single week.
However, I am kind of shocked at how much advertising aimed at women seems to project an image that seems totally at odds with what I’ve been led to believe women like.
Of course, this is nothing new.
Worse, this is something that men helped push.
But while I am a 45 year old man with all the taste and sensitivity of an otter, the fact is I am amazed at some of the stuff I’m seeing out on the streets these days and without doubt, the worst offenders are the beauty category.
Again, this should not be a surprise given the unrealistic body imagery they have been peddling for years – admittedly created by men – but it seem beauty brands have decided their female empowerment messaging [if that is what it was] is not getting enough attention and so to counter this, they’ve adopted the strategy of recreating some of the most sexist advertising of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and simply replaced the man with a woman.
What am I talking about?
Look at it.
Seriously, have a really good look.
Tell me that is not just a crass attempt at recreating a crass ad from the past 20 years.
First there’s the language … “stays on even when you get off”.
Wow, that’s clever isn’t it.
Now let’s look at the imagery … from the young mans dishevelled appearance and unbuttoned jeans to the totally unsubtle shot of the woman’s heels rammed into the walls of the lift to convey she has fucked the poor guy senseless.
It’s all so blatant.
No subtlety, no grace … it’s just tragic.
I don’t even know if they’re trying to target young women or old … it’s just bizarre.
And before anyone accuses me of being sexist, I just want to be clear that the male ads that depicted this sort of thing, were equally as pathetic.
Now some may say this is the ultimate demonstration of ‘female empowerment’ … where a woman can act exactly in the way men have and still do.
Maybe this ad taps into the desire women have to be able to get away with the shit men have gotten away with for centuries.
Maybe, by me finding this demeaning to women rather than empowering, I’m showing I’m old and insecure.
But the thing is I think women are worth more than this.
Don’t get me wrong, they’re also worth more than the superficial ’empowerment’ messages brands have been pushing for years – messages designed to sound good but ultimately constructed to sell their products – but they’re absolutely, definitely, comprehensively worth more than this.
I’d love to know who did it.
I’d love to know the rationale behind it.
I’d love to know who they were trying to target.
I’d love to know if this is the sort of thing intelligent women want to rally around.
But most of all, I’d love to know why all these brands are only focused on female equality.
Why go for just equal.
The thing is, as I talked about in a post about Brian Clough a while back, I have absolute faith that if women were in charge, they wouldn’t aspire to do what men do, but to do things better, which reminds me of the Marilyn Monroe quote:
“Women who want to be like men lack ambition”.
Maybe it’s time brands and advertising embraced that viewpoint as well.
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