Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Adventures in Women's Studies: Klondike Drops the Bar

We don't have cable, so we watch all the shows we're obsessed with online--hulu, fox, etc. Despite the fact that they're online, there are a tone of ads, and the same ones play over and over during the Kitchen Nightmare seasons we've been watching: Axe and Klondike Bars. It should come as no surprise that Axe commercials are ridiculously misogynistic; they've always been that way. I still hate them, but at least I know what to expect from them. Klondike Bars, however, has started running one that I didn't see coming. They've been doing the "What would you do for a Klondike Bar?" thing for years and years, but the new one is the problem. The scene is a man and woman sitting on a couch; the man is watching tv, the woman is talking. It's titled "Mark vs. Actually Listening to His Wife." He listens to her talk for 5 seconds (literally) and is rewarded with a Klondike Bar, streamers, and two scantily clad blondes jumping around. I see this thing at least 10 or 15 times a day lately, and it never fails to piss me off. It's as if we've reverted to the '50's.

"To the moon, Alice!"

Advertising has never been feminist by any means, and it seems to be one of the last few remaining areas in which misogyny is perfectly acceptable. Take the Axe commercials: each one features a man who becomes an instant "chick magnet" by using the body wash, hair product, or whatever else they've started producing. The women are presented as being completely unable to control themselves or stop themselves from crawling all over the man. (That's all we need, more men who believe they're a gift to women.) The point is it's the year 2011, people. Are we really so pathetically uninteresting that we are still using these antiquated tropes? And are we really so pathetic that we like them or they work?

I went to Klondike's web site to complain and got back an initial form letter stating the following:

Unilever Ice Cream markets its various brands in ways that are meant to entertain and engage our target audience. The Klondike advertising appearing on AOL and other internet sites was developed to generate interest among our core users, adults 45+, for a “What Would You Do For A Klondike Bar?” contest recently launched by the brand. It was only intended to be humorous.
You may be interested to know that all of our commercials and advertisements are pre-tested and various techniques are used to evaluate consumer reactions. Based on the results of our pre-testing procedures, the presentations are chosen for their majority appeal. Please let us assure you that your comments are extremely important to us in evaluating the success of our commercials and advertisements.We have a long history of presenting "tasteful" advertising to the public. Our ads must be informative and truthful. The agencies creating our advertising adhere strictly to these guidelines.We certainly do not wish to offend anyone. In developing product messages, Unilever and its agencies may not always anticipate all possible implications of an advertisement or television commercial.

Pardon me, but truthful and tasteful? So every man in the U.S. needs to be bribed with ice cream in order to listen to his wife for a few seconds? I call shenanigans. Then they follow that with the old "we didn't want to offend." My standard reply to that is, well, then you shouldn't have said it.

1 comment:

S. Russell said...

I think the saddest part is that they're right. The majority of people ARE the kind that find that type of commercial appealing.

There are no lines, no boundaries anymore. Marriage (love and all that jazz) is such a joke. I'd venture to say that most women don't even know qualities that they desire anymore, because they've spent so much energy trying to be what disguising men want that they are willing to take any treatment. And the media just makes it "normal".

But, yeah, 5 seconds of a attention from the person supposed to be your best friend....that's what the world is hell bent on not sharing with you....gotta protect the sanctity of 5 seconds....gag...