As many of you know, we've been hosting Mad World here on the Bitch blogs (and around town) since March, and we've had a great time discussing advertising, gender, and identity as a part of this series. However, as Johnny so eloquently said to Pony Boy, "nothing gold can stay." (OK, so he was quoting Robert Frost, but the cuteness of the young Ralph Macchio means we're going with the remediated version.) Our Mad World series is coming to a close, but that doesn't mean we're going to stop with analyzing ads. We'd never do that—it's our mission to bring you a feminist response to pop culture!
Last week, Consumerist posted the results to their Worst Ad in America poll. Winners (well, losers) include the McDonald's "not until I've had my coffee" guy and Jimmy the Extenze spokesperson—no surprise there, since those ads are super annoying. But, with all of the excellent categories created by Consumerist (Creepiest Commercial, Most Grating Performance By a Human, etc.) there is one category left to vote on: The Most Sexist Ad in America.
Those of you who have cable may have seen a new product advertised recently: the Trojan Tri-Phoria. Now, TV ads for vibrators aren't exactly headline news (in fact, we ran a charticle on vibrator commercials in our Buzz issue last year), but this new sex toy ad is airing during cable primetime shows like The Daily Show, and some networks (VH1, Spike) are running it during the day as well. Sex toy ads! In the daytime! What do we make of this? Let's watch the ad and find out:
Marketers are increasingly using Retro Sexism to sell products. This form of advertising uses irony and humour as a way to distance itself from the sexist and/or racist representations and stereotypes they perpetuate.
Retro Sexism (n.): Modern attitudes and behaviors that mimic or glorify sexist aspects of the past, often in an ironic way.
Maybe it's because I've been watching too many episodes of Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch lately and therefore keep seeing the same online ads, but this Dove Clinical Strength commercial is everywhere I look and I want it to go away, and take its only-pretty-girls-are-strong-and-deserve-deodorant message with it. Behold:
Well, it's time to go back to school again. And you know how I know? Because of television commercials, which give me all the information I need on what it takes to be a cool kid these days. (Hint: channel your favorite High School Musical Version of Glee character, then press fast forward.)
Celebrities and advertising are like birds of a feather, so it's no wonder that even our most beloved public figures (I'm looking at you, Queen Latifah) usually end up trying to sell us something. And hey, sometimes it works. I mean, would any of us have tried delicious Jell-O pudding pops without the endorsement of a certain celebrity?