I’m not usually impressed by commercials. In fact, I tend to watch them critically trying to figure out who it is they are targeting and how they think they’re achieving their goals.
However, while that-dude-that-I-live-with fast-forwards through commercials (to think we haven’t always had the ability), I still like to watch them because commercials are little balls of societal focus all rolled up in less than a minute. They target an audience and tell them a story and they always want us to do something.
And in an time where a show about the very kind of advertising execs influenced advertising to become the manipulative force that is today is one of the most popular and award-winning shows on TV, we should all be paying a bit more attention to what we’re being shown.
So maybe this is something I’ll return to in future posts and maybe it won’t be but I saw two commercials over the weekend that I just had to point out.
Good News First
In a time period where the LGBT community is struggling to find equal footing and basic human rights, I have a heightened awareness to all media that tries to reach out to them. While Logo is an exception in having a wealth of LGBT focused commercial campaigns, you don’t often see commercials portraying or addressing the LGBT community at all. Then I saw this:
Okay, so this is an exception on some terms because the use of this product is strictly sexual. By opening up their commercials to allow a wider range of audience by including lesbians and therefore addressing the LGBT community at large, they’ve admitted a wider customer base. But that argument could be made for ANY product.
Instead of shying away from their topic, it’s use, and the kind of people who use it, this campaign of commercials (that has already been around for awhile) reaches out to an audience that other companies refuse to admit exist.
Let’s just say, there are always opportunities to criticize and this commercial caught me by surprise, in a good way.
Bad News Second
Then I saw this:
In the era of “It Gets Better,” videos; shouldn’t this come as a red flag to even the most conservative viewers? Is that exactly what they’re hoping for? As Margaret Hartmann said over at Jezebel.com,
In 30 seconds this Tide commercial presents a troubling cocktail of gender stereotypes, and it’s a bit hard to decipher. Are we supposed to relate to the uptight, creepy mom who wishes her daughter wore pink, or laugh at her for being neurotic and over-the-top girly? At worst, the ad plays on the fears we’re supposed to have about girls like Shiloh, and at best it’s just uncomfortable to watch.
Shiloh, of course, is the daughter of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who is media-notorious for wanting to dress “like a boy.”
So what are we to take from these commercials?
To overly simplify it, this is what I see: KY, a newer product that has a limited audience, is open-minded while Tide, a product that has been advertised as long as advertising has existed, is still burdened with the baggage of its past.
What do you think?
Do you want to buy these products any more or less?