Mostly, I am fairly oblivious to adverts. They are never aimed at me and it is one of the huge reliefs of not having a TV that I don’t have to put up with them. But of late I’ve been overdosing on Hulu, and consequently have been subjected to repeated viewings of two adverts I find particularly obnoxious. One is blatantly sexist and I think actually both are misogynistic. (As a side note, it is interesting to me that companies spend so much money on ads, and the majority haven’t a fucking clue how it works online. Not the vaguest. Here’s a hint: interrupting an online show with ads? It’s annoying. The longer the advert, the more annoying it is. I hate your company and your product. However, letting me know at the beginning of the program that you are not interrupting the show with ads? Less annoying. I remain ambivalent towards your company and product. Which is the best you can hope for.)
But back to the offenders.
1. is an ad for some ready made meal or other. Only women will eat this meal, of course, because I think it’s supposed to be vaguely healthy, and as we all know, in ad land men only eat barbecued meat. The first part of the ad shows a woman in a reasonably work appropriate shirt and skirt, clearly in an office, trying out the meal and deciding it’s ok. But gosh, those girls are so ditzy, even the ones with jobs will never figure out where to find the processed crap in a supermarket! So, let’s show them a little cartoon of a vacuous blonde with an improbably tiny waist, and hips that sway like a metronome as she pushes a trolley through the store. And let’s say she uses ‘GPS – Go to the Pasta or Soup aisle’, as a reminder of where the noxious foodstuff is located, because her head is so empty that otherwise she will be at a complete loss. But just for humour, and for additional emphasis that women are not functioning adults, we’ll make it clear that we don’t mean the kind of GPS used in a car, because it is hilarious that a woman might (a) drive or (b) know what GPS stands for. Hello, food company? The 1950s called and they want their gender stereotypes back.
2. is an advert for some American car or other. So, ok, uphill struggle to start with and there is a whiff of desperation to the whole thing. Which basically consists of shots of men’s faces while a gruff voiceover lists an array of appalling things guys have to put up with (getting out of bed; going to work; talking to the women in their life; recycling), all of which they do so uncomplainingly, manfully bearing up under the unfair burdens that women inflict on them, that as a reward for this unfailing heroism they will buy the car they really want. The whole thing could be much quicker if it was just a shot of a bloke in the car while a voiceover said ‘The Chevy Penis Extension: Because I’m worth it’.
Oh, and here’s a third one for free.
An advert for some cleaning product. A bunch of women are led into the observation area of a laundry detergent testing zone. Note that it is only women, because all the men in the entire world are presumably too busy whining about how difficult their lives are, eating barbecued meat and mooning over crap cars ever to do any laundry. Meanwhile, the women are made to watch while clothes are stained in front of their very eyes! See them exchange glances and bite their lips in mutual recognition of just how difficult it is to get the ink stain out of the husband’s shirt. But never fear, ladies, because this new cleaning product shifts stains like nobody’s business. Which is excellent, because you can then spend all that extra time you saved from doing the laundry wandering helplessly around the supermarket, unable to find the food.
Really? I thought it was 2010.