“Ironic” advertising

Remember that time when I blogged about ‘drinking Pussy‘? Or the time I wrote about Lynx commercials? Or hell, even the blog post about Brut deodorant? The question here is, what do all three of these products and subsequent advertisements have in common?

The obvious answer is “being obnoxiously ‘blokey’”, of course. But there’s more to it. Each of these advertisement portray themselves as being ‘ironic’. And how could they not? It’s quite certain that they couldn’t get away with portraying women as nothing more than inanimate objects (like, say a can of drink), or as a set of house slaves ready to do the bidding of men.

Pussy_2

It’s irony – what Rosalind Gill (2007) describes as being “that catch all device that allows advertisers to have their cake and eat it [too]“. Hell, Lynx admits that their advertisements are tongue-in-cheek when rebutting claims of sexism against them. Between 2010 and 2011, Lynx had 9 sets of complaints lodged against them through the Advertising Standards Board. In each case, Lynx rebutted the complainants statements that their advertisements demeaned women by instead claiming that their ads were “cheeky” and “playful”, and that their intended “young adult male audience understands the playful and hyperbolic nature of the TVC [commercial] and its distinction between fact and fiction”.

Putting aside the fact that Lynx seem to be expecting quite a lot from their reasonably young audience, I’d like to simply consider the remainder of the audience – the older people, the younger kids, and the women. Apologies if this sounds like a ‘but what about the children!’ kind of cry – but I can assure you, it’s a little bit more than that. It’s more of a “but what about the women!” cry.

lynx-rugby

 

I get sick of seeing bodies – mostly female bodies – being used ‘ironically’. And not even in a vaguely clever way. Female viewers are not idiots, and for companies such as Lynx to turn around, after they have already been accused of sexism multiple times, and to say that their intentions are to be “tongue-in-cheek” and ironic are, quite frankly, offensive. I’m not stupid. I know what’s ironic, and what is simply idiotic. Advertisements such as this are the latter.

There are a multitude of ways to advertise to young men without simply screaming “SEX! BOOBS! BUMS! GIRLS!” from the nearest rooftop/billboard/television screen. I just wish these companies would be brave enough to attempt it.

Someone said ‘vagina’ in a TV commercial; world implodes

I’ve been away for over a month, so I missed the shit storm that erupted over the Carefree Liner TV commercial in recent weeks. To be honest, I’m disappointed in myself – I do love a good shit storm, particularly when it concerns vaginas.

In case you’re also not up to date on the latest tampon, pad and liner commercials that have been hitting our airwaves, here’s the advertisement in question:

 

According to the Daily Mail, viewers were left ‘outraged’ by the use of the terms “vagina” and “discharge” in the advertisement.

Personally, I know exactly what they mean. Why, whenever someone says “VAGINA” in conversation, I have to sit down and ask someone to fetch my smelling salts. Women should not be having such frank, open and honest conversations about THEIR OWN BODY PARTS in an advertisements discussing these SAME BODY PARTS. The very notion of it is appalling!

Even some ladies were up in arms (or legs, or vaginas) about the use of the word ‘discharge’ – because, you know, ewww, gross.

Look, the advertising industry still has a long way to go when handling advertisements about sanitary products. Even in this advertisement, the model used is naked, and has been placed in an all-white environment scattered with strategically placed orchids. . Why is she naked? Why is it all-white? Why are there orchids everywhere? Because we’re talking VAGINAS, people. Therefore we need to be doing it in a clean environment.

And as for the use of orchids…. coincidence? I think not. I’m just going to leave this here:

I have no idea why the girl is naked. Maybe it’s part of Carefree’s ‘honesty’ campaign – that she is required to be naked to Talk Vaginas. Maybe it’s because she’s an attractive young woman and they’re hoping we’ll be so distracted by her nudity that we won’t notice that she said ‘discharge’. Maybe it’s just Because They Could. Whatever, the nakedness is not required, and I wish they’d simply put some clothes on her, and taken her out of the White Orchid Prison. But hey, a girl can dream. For now, let’s just all throw on our Official Feminist Outfits and run amok, screaming ‘discharge’ and ‘vagina’ at the nearest pensioner.

Clean and Dry Intimate Wash (clearly, NSFW)

As self-explanatory as the title for this blog may be, I still have NO IDEA why I am writing this. To me, the product I am about to discuss should not exactly exist.

I thought it was all very basic. You get what you are given, and you embrace you lady garden. No garden is the same. Some of us are all orange trees and tidy rows of flowers – and others amongst us prefer thorn bushes and weeds. Heck, some of us just keep it bare.

But this article – and in particular, the product it is discussing – made my head explode.

This ‘product’ is called the ‘Clean and Dry Intimate Wash’, and is designed to make your vagina sparkle.

Oh, no, wait. That’s vajazzling. THIS product actually bleaches your bits to make them appear ‘whiter’. Congratulations on successfully encapsulating sexism AND racism, all in one 30 second commercial!

You want to see the ‘commercial’? Sure. But heed this warning: you will be sorely tempted to bang your head on the nearest desk at LEAST fifty times upon viewing:

I can just see the marketer’s thoughts now: ‘Sad, attractive girl… needs to be the right SHADE of white – and make sure she’s wearing a white t shirt, and sitting on a white couch – and she is SAD because her lady garden is too DARK.’

They even included the sad music at the start. What a thoughtful touch.

And afterwards, she’s HAPPY. BECAUSE HER LABIA AND VAGINA AND ALL HER OTHER RELEVANT SEXUAL PARTS ARE NOW WHITE. NOT BLACK. WHITE. CORRECT ANSWER. BYE BYE. SEE YOU LATER.

I’m sorry, but did the world go slightly INSANE? I mean, I took vajazzling. I didn’t get it, but I accepted it, because, well, people are idiots. Labioplasty? Again, didn’t get it – but cosmetic surgery is everywhere…..

…..But this? BLEACHING ONE’S SEXUAL ORGANS BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT THE RIGHT COLOUR? Excuse me, but what form of dumb fuckery is this? When did we wake up and decide that THIS WAS A GOOD THING TO DO? I did not vote on this at the last Sisterhood Meeting! I vehemently reject all concepts of altering or changing my parts to suit someone else’s skewed idea of what is an acceptable form of ‘beauty’!

I have nothing else. I need to go lie down.

 

 

Yogurt: The Food of Ladies

I’ve had a long, lasting, deep seated rage against yogurt. Full disclosure: I hate the stuff. I would rather lick the bottom of a dirty drain than pour some of that bacteria-laden stuff down my throat. This sloppy, mucky dairy product has never appealed to me.

In saying that, this is not a post about how much I hate yogurt, but rather, how much I hate yogurt advertisements. Sarah Haskins said it damn well when she declared yogurt to be the “official food of women… and these ladies are ON DIETS”.

Key Example: Yoplait’s Forme commercial that’s been doing the rounds recently:

Right. The problems I have with this ad? Obivously, there are many. But let’s start with the obvious.

WHY ARE ALL THESE WOMEN IN SYNC? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM? And why are they all eating the same thing? What sort of weird, alternative universe do they live in whereby they can only eat rice crackers and tuna?

Oh, that’s right. We’re in lady world. And that poor woman needs to be FREED from her RICE CRACKERS! Look at that poor lady on the left. She is clearly unhappy, living an existence containing endless rounds of tuna and rice crackers.

And the saviour? The solution to the tuna problem? A plate of biscuits, perhaps?

Oh, no. No, these ladies woul rather eat tuna and rice crackers than BISCUITS. (WTF?! Who are these people?!)

But, wait, perhaps one of them does want a biscuit, yes?!

Ah, no. My mistake. For a second there, I thought she was just going to take the biscuit and be damned with the consequences. Until Ms Sticky Beak on the left there gave our brave pioneer a judgy-wudgy, “You wouldn’t be thinking of consuming the FAT LADEN CALORIFIC CHOCOLATEY SPHERE OF GOODNESS, WOULD YOU?!”. And our heroine backed off, scared and confused. And then she ate a rice cracker.

(As a side note, every time I see this ad, I scream at the television, “EAT THE GODDAMN FREAKIN’ BISCUIT, YOU TWAT!”. But it never happens.)

And then the Voice Of God appears in the ad, and declares that all women can be “free from hunger”. Well, yes, this is true. Simply by NOT EATING TUNA AND CELERY AND RICE CRACKERS ALL DAY LONG, AND EATING SOMETHING MORE SUBSTANTIAL.

If I lived in this world, I would have impaled myself on a celery stick a very long time ago, my friends.

But the Voice Of God’s solution?

Eat Yoplait yogurt instead, of course! Just like this lady! And then you will sit in your office chair, and the sun will shine on your, and you will be free from the synchronicity of your lady colleagues and the endless cycle of celery and tuna.

The voiceover then tells us that the yogurt is “no fat, and high in protein and fibre to help you feel fuller for longer!”.

Hang on. It’s a DIET yogurt?

So, why then, do all of the ladies in the advertisement look like they are at a very healthy weight? Not one of these women need to go on a diet!

Jesus, Yoplait. Sometimes women like to lash out and eat FULL FAT YOGURT. In fact, sometimes we even like to eat chocolate biscuits. It’s not a SIN, so please stop telling me it is.