Super Bowl Ad Fuckery

I’m not a big one for sports, but I do like looking at spandex and tattoos, so this year I gladly plunked my butt on the couch for a four-hour long excuse to binge on BBQ chicken wings, Costco Andre champagne, and of course — taking in the multimillion dollar Superbowl Ad Extravaganza. And my stars, was this year a doozy.

Remember 2011’s Groupon ad that portrayed Tibetans as a tragic, dying culture, but — huzzah! — out of which savvy customers could still score a cheap fish curry?

Well, this year did not disappoint on the racism and sexism fronts. The worst offender being Michigan Senate candidate Pete Hoesktra’s political ad, which showed an Asian woman biking through a rice paddy (cue gongs) and saying in broken English: “...Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good. We take your jobs….”

(And if you think you’re angry now, check out Hoekstra’s even more ludicrous ching chongy website).

The ad was quickly condemned by a Michigan coalition of Black ministers, APIA Vote, other Republicans, and basically anyone who’s not a dipshit. Hoekstra lamely defended himself by saying the ad is “satirical” and not about race.

Moving on! Apparently advertisers are still clinging onto that time-honored marketing adage: “sex sells…especially if it’s like, absurdly, offensively, Mad Men-level sexist”. Jezebel and Mother Jones did great pieces on the plethora of creepy Super Bowl ads that trotted out the tired female = sex object formula to sell cars, web domains (, of course), and even uh, M&Ms.

The ad that made me shudder and want to kick an ad exec in the balls the most was from Teleflora:

This is just a big dripping ball of lechery — from the cheap porno soundtrack to Adriana Lima’s lascivious close ups to the blatant “give…and you shall receive…Happy Valentines night.” Do people really still think that throwing 50 bucks towards flowers or dinner or some crap is what it takes to get a woman to fuck you? Insulting to both sexes, and viewers probably don’t appreciate how uncomfortable and unfortunate it is to watch this with your kids or (in my case) parents and grandparents.

Fortunately the organization Miss Representation launched the brilliant Twitter hashtag #NotBuyingIt, which allows viewers to talk back and let companies know how they feel about the use of women in only highly sexualized contexts — or left out altogether (as in the case of this men-only Best Buy ad on tech innovators):

Ain’t no truth in advertising here.


See Jezebel’s list of 10 female tech innovators that should have been included here.


One thought on “Super Bowl Ad Fuckery

  1. Back in about 2006 or so, I predicted that xenophobic hatred would shift targets from Arabs / Muslims to East Asians / South Asians, with a specific focus on the Chinese. And here we are, a mere six years later. This, to me, is just a little bit more evidence that people of color need to stand together when shitty portrayals like this arise. Because sooner or later, it’s going to be your turn. While it sucks to see an ad like this, it’s great to see so many organizations outraged by it.

    And lest one think that the Democrats are some kind of angels, during the election of 2010, they flashed a bunch of anti-Chinese ads to attack Republicans for supporting free trade and sending jobs to China.

    If you don’t want to elect people who run racist ass ads, you don’t have many options. And the funnest part of this entire shit-sandwich? Both parties are trying to distract you from the fact that they’ve BOTH pushed “free trade”, allowing manufacturing jobs to leave the US, and gave enormous tax breaks to corporations. A government by the 1% and for the 1%.

    As a side note, these ads push the idea that somehow the Asian diaspora benefits from China’s economic improvement, and thus we are the enemy. This kind of falsehood only serves to inflame racial hatred.


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