A new television ad from betting chain Paddy Power that suggests fitting sexy Eastern European women with "goal-line" laser technology — so that England's soccer team won't succumb to their Siren calls, naturally — puts Go Daddy to shame: in the ad, a scientist actually pokes two fingers through a hole (to the sound of a female moan) and then sniffs them while a stripper pole-dances with a masked soccer player in a glass-encased room.
The ad is disgusting and offensive, but it was meant to be exactly that, which begs the question: how exactly should we confront trolling as marketing? I try to ignore ads that are over-the-top "subversive" (which usually just means sexist) because it's so obvious that the goal is to get attention from websites like ours, which result in more page clicks for them. Success! We're talking about Paddy Power right now.
But is it okay to ignore ads like these, especially since the whole "tempting foreign woman" schtick is probably going to become more prevalent in the months leading up to the Euro 2012 soccer tournament? A few weeks ago, Ukrainian officials criticized a Dutch ad which suggested that wives forbid their husbands from attending the tournament because of the wily Ukrainian women waiting patiently to steal their men away. (Quick fix: install a beer tap at home! Problem solved.)
Do the brainiacs behind these ads really think Eastern European women are sex-starved famewhores, or are they just trying to make money? Probably the latter. But ads like these fortify hurtful stereotypes and give idiots further justification to make the same jokes. Free speech is free speech, but watching the scientist in this ad stick his fingers through that hole to the moans of a woman actually made me feel a bit sick to my stomach. I don't want to have to see that on my TV screen just so Paddy Power can gain more users and more infamy.