Friday, October 9, 2009

Ending Badvertising! Feel-Good Fridays

Hey Athenites!

As I'm sure you all know, advertising is one of the (many) areas in which discrimination of all sorts rears its ugly head, and there are plenty of ads out there that are just downright insulting. (Exhibit A: this disgusting ad for razors).

But recently, I've seen a decent commercial or two. And also had the satisfying experience of having a really bad commercial banned!

First, the bad commercial. The actual ad can be seen here, but you might want to save yourself the trouble and the eye strain (from rolling your eyes so least that was my reaction). The ad features a dramatically photoshopped shot of a woman's cleavage, followed by the copy: "Nice headlamps. What do you look for in a car?" The ad is for a car rental agency in Northern Ireland, and its kinda offensive for multiple reasons. Firstly, straight up objectification. Secondly, the ridiculous photoshopping and the unrealistic messages to young girls. And thirdly, it's just a really lazy ad. Or, as they said in the UK, a "piss poor excuse of an ad." It's crass, tactless, and not at all amusing. These people pay advertising agencies thousands of dollars--could they really not have come up with something a little more clever?

Aaand now the good news. The UK has banned it. They called it degrading and objectifying to women, stating: "We concluded that the poster had caused serious offence to some readers and was likely to cause widespread offense."

And some other happy news from the world of advertising. An awesome, cute, funny, and generally good commercial from Target. A commercial that does not depict Asians as the butt of a joke (accents played for laughs, martial arts machines, etc etc. We've all seen the commercials.) As sad as it is to say, this commercial is great simply because it shows what we all know already--that people of colour are, umm, normal. Not exotic otherworldly creatures. Unfortunately, that's not usually the message that we get in advertising. Need another example? Click here.

Of course, we can't forget that advertising is designing to sell products, and I'm not about to run out to Target and shovel money at them in exchange for products made with cheap and exploitive labour. But still, it's nice to see a decent commercial. For once. I might write them an encouraging letter.

Any thoughts?


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