Women watch the Super Bowl, and also buy shit. Unfortunately, ad agencies don't seem to have gotten this message, if yesterday's outing was any indication — and it is, given that the Super Bowl is when brands and agencies trot out their most treasured pitches. But some efforts missed the mark most spectacularly. Let's give them their due.
Ladies tweeted their disapproval at various buttheaded spots last night under the hashtag #notbuyingit — and today, Maya Dusenbery offers a survey of these tweets and the ads that inspired them. First up, the Fiat ad in which a man ogles a sexy lady, who slaps him, kisses him, and turns into a car. I found this ad downright confusing, as did my viewing partners last night. At one point the Fiat-lady puts cappuccino foam on the dude's face and her own decolletage — said a female friend, "I think this ad is going to be about lactose intolerance." A male viewer's take: "I guess the message of this ad is that women love it when you act like a pervert."
Grossness from GoDaddy is pretty much expected at this point — as one #notbuyingit advocate tweeted, "Oh good, a GoDaddy ad. With a naked woman. Wouldn't be the Super Bowl without!" Like the Fiat ad, this one was confusing, as it did a poor job of explaining why someone would want a .co domain (it's like a naked chick?). We ignored the second half of the ad while a friend explained what .co was. Marketing fail.
Flowers are so nice. It's such a shame that they have been ruined by the constant message that they are what dudes get us so we will fuck them and/or forgive them for cheating. Honestly, I would've liked this ad just fine if it was Adriana Lima walking around looking beautiful with flowers. Exploitative? Maybe — but it's the "give and you shall receive" line that really makes this ad gross.
Katie Burke tweeted, "Nice try, Mars, replacing scantily clad women with suggestion of naked female M&M. I still caught the objectification of women." I found this ad disgusting in a more visceral way — I don't want to think of M&Ms as, in Sady Doyle's words "fully sexual yet genitalless creatures." Said a friend while the male M&M gyrated at the end of the spot, "ew, we're looking at an M&M's penis."
This wasn't one of the ads #notbuyingit critiqued. I'm including it here simply because I hated it so goddamn much. The only thing creepier than a talking baby is a baby who is "dating." Who is literally robbing the cradle. Barf all over everything.
What's striking about these ads isn't their offensiveness, necessarily — let's be honest, we've all seen worse. Especially in the case of Teleflora and Fiat, it's their misguidedness, their commitment to appealing to a bro aesthetic even when studies make clear that this aesthetic dominates neither Super Bowl viewership nor purchasing. Leaving sexism aside, these ads were lazy, and they were boring, and they were outdated. Advertisers need to wake up and recognize that women are watching the game, and we don't want more commercials about yogurt. We just want to be treated like who we are, which is actual people with actual brains who sometimes buy shit. While they're at it, maybe advertisers should treat men like this too.
Twitter Talks Back to Sexist Super Bowl Ads [Mother Jones]