Sunday, February 7, 2010

men lose in superbowl spots

Odd that a televised extravaganza targetting men would be rife with advertisers belittling them. "Hey, guys, you're henpecked, emasculated and illiterate," many spots said, in essence, "but buying our stuff will make you feel virile!" Really? What guy falls for this? Don't brand shepherds realize we've come a long way since Walter Mitty. And why haven't they noticed that 39 million viewers are actually women?

In case you missed it, here's a sampling of commercials I'm talking about, and the hypothetical creative briefs they were based on:

It's not easy being a man. You have to recycle the garbage, put the seat down, listen to your wife and be nice to her mother. Whew! But a big car can make it all feel better. (Dodge)

Walking the dog and opening hard-to-open jars makes you a man. And, oh yes, so does buying our new brand extension. (Dove)

Looked down lately, guys? Something's missing. Reclaim masculinity. Put on our pants. (Dockers)

Any guy who goes shopping with a woman is a wuss wearing a skirt. But wusses can now tote a TV to the mall which will somehow make them feel less emasculated. (Flo TV) (Btw, what's up with menstrual product names? Couldn't iPad or FloTV find any women for focus groups?)

Real men don't read. They swill beer, leaving literature to the ladies. (Bud Light)

GoDaddy's entries? Predictably lame, the same sophomoric attempts at humor we've come to expect. In-house advertising at its sexist, tone-deaf worst. Not worth the trouble to embed em for you. Trust me.


California Girl said...

My hsband and I were amazed by this pervasive theme in so many ads. At one point he turned to me and, in all seriousness, asked if there is research indicating that the younger generation of men (meaning Gen Ys) are "pussy whipped". I said I doubt it but sometimes there is a consistent message in ads that is just a coincidence.

Donny Deutsch is on "Morning Joe" and they are discussing the exact same thing. He is disgusted by the way men are portrayed.

Women aren't faring any better either, but then, they often don't.

California Girl said...

P.S. the Google ad was terrific: intelligent, interesting, different. One problem, you had to be able to READ. hahahahaha!

Anonymous said...

As a mother of 5 sons (ages 35 to 23) I was disgusted by these ads. My sons are gentlemen, but they are not wusses or hen-pecked. What I did not like mostly was that these ads infer that women are nagging, never-satisfied bullies. The ads completely missed the mark.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

@California Girl--Thankfully your husband and millions of others of the male persuasion have moved beyond gender myopia I thought went out with the Mad Men era. Good point that women hardly fared better (ie made to cry by put- downs from talking flowers) but you're right such treatment is par for the SB course. When men are treated the same way, belittlement is more obvious. And right. Google ad only worked if viewers weren't too full of beer to read it :) Such an execution would have been unthinkable in years past for this reason, but now that replays guarantee spots needn;t be missed, Google knows it's getting its $2.5 million worth.

@Anonymous--I agree that's the worst thing about ads like this, damaging messages make a mark on the next generation. Kids of both sexes are damaged by insipid portrayals of men...and women.

Anonymous said...

I noticed the exact same thing with these commercials. It struck me as funny that the most masculine figure in any of these commercials was a 4 year old boy.
Men Take it on Chin During Super Bowl

The Google ad I didn't particularly like when I first saw it, but more and more I am gaining appreciation for it. It is minimal and functional, just like their website. And I think their job during the Super Bowl wasn't necessarily to make a call to action. As the #1 Alexa ranked website in the world, they are like Coca-Cola. You don't have to convince people you have a good product anymore, you just have to remind them you are still there.

Anonymous said...

My overall question is what does this mean of our society as a whole? Do advertisers really think the general public no longer has a sence of self-respect and self-composure? Hopefully they are hearing the seemingly unanimous response of the general public saying, "Excuse me sirs, but we have indeed grown up."