Posted by: joshjasper | February 8, 2010

“Super” Bowl Sunday

It comes to no surprise to me that I am no longer invited to the Super Bowl parties.  While most people found themselves surrounded by a buffet of food and beverages before, during, and after the game, I was armed with a pen and a notebook.  Sure, I was excited to see the biggest game of the year, but I was even more interested to see what the advertisers had in store for us.  When a company is spending more than 2.5 million dollars to advertise for 30 seconds, you have to assume that what they are selling must be incredibly important.

Before The Who took the stage, it was painfully obvious that was being sold by Doritos, Snickers, Go-Daddy, Dockers, Dove, Dodge, and FloTV was the definition of masculinity.  Each company spent a lot of money appealing to the stereotypical man.  Because as we all know, “real men” are tough, strong, macho, emotionless, and are providers.

Dockers let you know right up front that men “wear the pants.”  Snickers opted to make light of the idea of Betty White playing football with a bunch of guys.  What really took place though was yet another opportunity for men to be ridiculed by demeaning women….you know, the “you hit like a girl” messaging that all men have heard at some point in their lives.  Doritos was very clear about the message they wanted to sell during the game.  Women are objects.  Plain and simple.  Of course many may have thought it was funny when the young boy slapped the man in the face, telling him to stay away from his chips and his mother, but so much more took place.  The entire time that the woman was in the commercial she was portrayed as an object.  She was seen leaving the room with the camera zoomed into her back side.

The question that must be asked during this messaging is “why”?  Why is it that 7 commercials before halftime focused on defining manhood that illustrates men is such negative ways?  Why were women regularly portrayed as objects?  I have to wonder whether they really care if people eat their chips or wear their pants.  If what they are simply trying to do is to appeal to the ordinary, regular guy watching the big game, what does it say for that average guy?

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Responses

  1. I agree. As I sat watching the game – and the commercials – sitting between my sons, ages 12 & 14 with other partygoers surrounding us and the TV (actually it was a huge projection screen), I was embarrassed, offended, uncomfortable and saddened. This year, more than I remember from previous years, the commercials really reinforced these stereotypes.

    I responded to each one of course, to my sons and others, and eventually began to feel like everyone just wanted me to shut up. There were lots of people there – most of them actually – who agreed with me, yet the comments I made detracted from the celebratory mood of the party.

    So, how do we make our point and share our message, without always being the party-pooper?

    Honestly, I don’t completely blame the advertisers. They are doing their job. They are assessing their target audience and speaking to them.

    Ideally we would have product execs and advertising execs who understand and appreciate what is going on, and have the courage to not stoop to this level.

    Sometimes I feel like I have lost my sense of humor because I don’t find these commercials funny. (a child slapping an adult?) And when I told others later that I didn’t find them funny, they told me to “chill out”, “get a life” “don’t take things so seriously”. They “dissed” me as if I didn’t “get it” and ironically, I was feeling the same way about them.

    Is it possible to be funny without someone being humiliated in the process…?


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