Earlier this year, Huggies launched a series of TV spots that showed moms putting their products to the "dad test" —the implication being that if those big dopes could use 'em, anyone could. The backlash was swift and vocal, with both moms and dads taking to the brand's Facebook page to complain that the ads played on out of date stereotypes. Huggies was clearly panicked by the strength of the negative response: they yanked one of the ads, emphasized that they featured real couples rather than a fictionalized idea of what fathers are like, and even rushed to a daddy blogging conference to issue an "our bad".
What's interesting is that this criticism didn't come from the media or the feminist blogosphere but the intended audience, suggesting a real-world shift in attitudes towards stay-at-home dads (and hands-on fathers in general). But while Huggies' campaign was unimaginative and hackneyed, it's understandable: for years, the Homer Simpson-esque clueless papa has been a reliable and uncontroversial target for humor. He still features in many ads, like Kroger's current Christmas commercial, where a woman informs us that her husband helps out at this time of year by doing his own wrapping (just like a grown-up!) — and then we see said wrapping, and it's atrocious.
In both a national and global context where the rates of domestic violence against women are consistently soaring (according to the United Nations Population Fund Report, more 55 percent of women living in India face violence within the home), awareness campaigns and messages which seek to address this particular manifestation of gender-based violence are incredibly pertinent. Calling on women to recognise that they are not alone in what they experience, and highlighting the ways in which this violence manifests itself and affects other facets of a woman's life are key components of such outreach.
"Suffocation is the worst kind of abuse"
"It always starts with the little nicks and cuts"
"Respect the space you really deserve"
"How much longer will you adjust?"
These taglines, part of a far-reaching poster campaign, seem to fit the bill. Or they would, if violence against women were their subject. In fact, they're being used to sell bras.
This is why solar panel company Sunrun's new ad campaign feels like a breath of fresh, sun-warmed air. It makes fun of solar energy's leftist hippie stigma in a way that's funny and relatable for, say, my dad. Or whoever else! These ads avoid the exhausting political rhetoric and instead treat renewable energy like any other old industry, which can have nothing but positive effects at this point. Turning green energy into a political debate fuzzes the big picture; environmental issues like this one deserve an apolitical, agenda-free discussion. People don't need to wear hemp and attend drum circles to be part of a movement that secures the future of clean air, clean water, and healthy land. We can all be different and still work together.
Recently, some friends and I saw the film Art & Copy, a documentary about the creative minds that make up the best of the advertising business. Now, there is a lot to be said about the problems inherent in advertising, but even the most skeptical viewer in our group (me), had to admit that she was impressed by the poise, tenacity, and apparent coolness of some of the film's subjects, especially Mary Wells.
Oh Ashton Kutcher. If it's not one douche-y thing with that guy, it's another. The Two and a Half Men star (I was going to make a douchebag joke there but "Two and a Half Men star" is a pretty good zinger on its own) is back in the news for all the wrong reasons again this week, this time for doing brownface in a Popchips ad.
Nearly a decade after the "metrosexual" invaded the mainstream, men are taking grooming to the land down under.
While men give he-waxing glowing reviews, Cosmopolitan writers say they're "not so sure" about men "having zero hair where there should be at least a little." After all, body hair is (or was) considered manly. Some women worry that the "boyzilian wax" means that men are becoming, well, more like women.
H&M is taking fashion douchebaggery to the next level this week by using computer-generated models in its holiday lingerie campaign. As if the photo shopping, airbrushing, pushing up, and sucking in that goes on in a typical yuletide bra commercial wasn't enough to make the average shopper want to throw on a snuggie and call it a day, now the models selling us our delicates are actually virtual.
Ahahaha! We're just hanging out, having the exact same body! What, you don't look like this?