Saturday, November 12, 2011

Things That Aren't for Women: A Round-up of Commercials that Exclude

Because I mostly watch Netflix streaming and movies, I rarely see commercials. I had heard about the Dr. Pepper 10 commercial, but I saw the actual thing on television for the first time a few days ago. This is the one I saw:

I know, as a feminist, I'm supposed to feel insulted. And I do see that it is insulting, but I mostly find it hilarious. I mean, does this really sell soda? What is a "manly" calorie? Who takes the time to pour their soda on ice when they're in a high speed chase? And--more to the point--what cultural elements have to be in place for an ad campaign to think this is a good idea? 

I teach an ad section in my rhetoric classes every semester. We talk about how you have to target a particular audience in order to be effective. So, I understand how we got here. But there's a world of difference between "targeting" a particular audience and "excluding" everyone else. And if your goal is to make money, you should probably take some time to figure out how that difference works. 

I decided to look for some more "men only" or gender-based exclusion commercials. And it is in this context that I began to understand how Dr Pepper could have thought this was acceptable. It's sort of a natural progression in this disturbing (and pretty stupid) trajectory. 

The Burger King Texas Double Whopper-- "Eat Like a Man, Man"

"I will eat this meat, til my innie turns into an outie/I am starved/I am incorrigible"

Because women, apparently, do not get hungry. And men are so upset by the thought of quiche that they will march in the streets to protest it. Seriously, that's the message. To sell a hamburger.

I do give them a little credit for using the word "incorrigible," though.

Docker's "I Wear No Pants"

A field of pantless men sing about not wearing pants as they march. The screen cuts to a pair of Docker's and a voiceover says "Calling all men. It's time to wear the pants." Cause women don't get to. When we walk through fields without clothes on, it's not funny, it's "sexy."

Pepsi Max- "The First Diet Cola for Men"

This commercial shows men doing a series of stupidly painful things: dropping bowling balls on one another's heads, smashing each other in the face with golf clubs, etc. "Men can take anything, except the taste of diet cola. . . until now." Thank God that Pepsi has an answer: "the first diet cola, for men." I know that Dr. Pepper 10's commercial is a little more egregious, but not by much, and it's probably a direct response to this campaign.

With a history of commercials like these, the Dr. Pepper 10 commercial doesn't seem so out of place. I guess that's even sadder. 

1 comment:

  1. Yes it is sad, isn't it? I don't understand why advertisers are so intent on alienating half their market. When I see these commercials, obviously, I don't want the product and also, I don't respect any man who does.