Ad campaigns have always been a little bit sexy. After all, sex sells stuff. From selling food and drink to even the most mundane of things like washing up liquid, sex does sell and an attractive, aesthetically pleasing model is going to shift more of the product than a normal looking person who has just finished their 9-5 job and has to get home to start cooking dinner.
Advertisers have now, however, banded together to break the stereotypes. For example, Unilever is pulling its objectifying campaigns for Lynx (Axe everywhere else), which give the impression that if you use their products you’ll have a plethora of busty women chasing you around.
Proctor and Gamble are also breaking their stereotyped ads, which usually show women devoted to the home, and men as blithering idiots who struggle with wiping their own backside and need wifey dearest to do everything for them.
Obviously, there are going to be sex specific ads, after all, a man has no place on a commercial for tampons, because, quite frankly, men don’t use them, and women don’t really have a place on an advert promoting the regular checking of your prostate, because women don’t have a prostate.
It’s like Paul Mitchell promoting Platinum Blonde shampoo, but using a brunette to model it. The gender doesn’t matter, but the hair colour does because it’s a product to keep blonde hair blonde and stop it going yellow, something that a brunette really doesn’t need.
The pendulum however over recent years has swung the other way, and now we have a load of ads where the woman (usually married with kids) is practically wonder woman, and the man has the emotional and intellectual length of a teaspoon. Sorry ladies, but this isn’t true, and sorry gents, the woman isn’t there for your enjoyment and for making sandwiches. If you have these views, please go back to the 1950’s.
In our equal society, we have strengths and weaknesses in the household. I know women that can’t sew, but their partner can. I know men that can’t wire a plug, but their partner can. Everything when in a relationship comes down to balance. You both have strengths and weaknesses. Some are amazing cooks, but terrible cleaners. Some are completely devoted to their offspring while the other is more impartial. Some are good savers while the other spends like it’s going out of fashion. It’s all about the balance.
So ladies, the pendulum has swung in your favour, and salivating over the hunky gardener on the Diet Coke ads, or the never fully clothed Poldark is perfectly OK, but that’s objectifying men. Men do need a taste of their own medicine, but that isn’t going to solve anything. The past is the past, we can’t change it, all we can do is forget and move on. The pendulum should be allowed to come to a rest in the middle, and for ads to show a more realistic depiction of family life when trying to sell stuff.