Monday, February 13, 2006

Men are back …
As I’ve been revising for the last couple of weeks I have watched a lot more TV than usual (although I’m sure that isn’t the way it should work). I’ve found many of the adverts appearing at the moment truly shocking. I know a lot has been said about the Yorkie campaign, which has been around for a while now, where the selling point of the chocolate is that it’s ‘not for girls’. Obvious, slightly pathetic and not very clever I just ignored it. However it now seems to have spawned some cousins to the extent that the message has become an insidious aspect of television marketing.

One of these is the advertising campaign for Peugeot 407. At first this advert appears to be dominated by women, powerful and in a variety of different ‘roles’. But it soon becomes clear that the focus of the feature is the man … who is ‘back’ along with his big, powerful, masculine motor.

McDonald’s (who would have guessed?) have also joined in. Again in a world apparently dominated by females (in non-traditional roles) a man is reassured that he still reigns supreme when he visits his favourite fast food restaurant and finds that the burgers ‘only come in man size’.

What is going on? These adverts are confrontational and present a vision of a world where women are powerful as dangerous and frightening. The adverts don’t simply fear women, they attempt to exclude them, physically as the man escapes into his car, and symbolically as the ‘o’ in Yorkie becomes a no entry sign. Furthermore they revel in portraying male stereotypes – the men in these adverts are large, hairy, masculine. They desire big ‘man size’ foods and drive powerful cars. Their nightmare is a world in which women are equal, and they are reassured when they realise that, yes, there still is something out there that is just for them.
I find it difficult to see the humour in this form of marketing. It is offensive, perpetuates harmful stereotypes, and legitimises discrimination. Found an interesting opinion while googling about this, with which I don’t agree at all, but on the whole I am amazed that there isn’t more discussion about these images – perhaps that is the most offensive thing about them.


At 1:10 pm, Blogger TP said...

I've seen these adds too and they're awful.

For unknown reasons though I have narry an ounce of 'get up and go' to post about them.

Your post pretty much sums up my beef - and with more coherence than I can generally muster anyway! Nice one.

At 10:07 am, Blogger la somnambule said...

Thanks! I think it was mainly the fact that all three were in the adverts breaks for one programme that infuriated me enough to make the effort to post - I've noticed they haven't been on as much recently which has got to be a good thing.


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