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 (GoDaddy.com, 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.