5 Sexist Commercials That Should Have Never Seen the Light of Day
Like movies and sitcoms, commercials also reflect upon the prevalent ideologies in society. While these commercials help brands get their point across to their target audience, they also leave a lasting impact on our minds. Over the years, one thing that has remained consistent in the advertising world is the stereotyping of people based on their genders. In a bid to resonate with their audience, brands often end up pandering to the most grotesque forms of sexism and promoting the worst gender stereotypes.
So, here we are with 5 such sexist commercials that are guilty of promoting some of the worst gender-specific roles and stereotypes that the world is still struggling to come out of.
1. Teleflora: Valentine’s Night
Feeling horny, eh? Well. all you’ve got to do is gift a woman some flowers and she’d roll right into your bed. At least, the folks at Teleflora seem to think so- “give and you shall receive”.
The ad brilliantly overlooks every other quality that a woman might desire in her partner. Instead, all that she might want from him are some flowers. Damn, I should have gotten her flowers, wasted so much of my time trying to win her trust and make her feel comfortable!
2. Bud Light: Yoga
Well, when has objectification of women ever gone out of trend in the world of advertisement?
This 2011 Super Bowl commercial features a couple of young lads gawking at women practicing Yoga at a health center. The ad, which was somehow meant to be funny, ended up objectifying women at a whole new level. At the end of the commercial, one of the two guys says that the female instructor wasn’t too relaxed as she throws them out of the class. Well, guess what son, no woman would feel relaxed with a couple of creeps around them.
3. Castro: Where is the Dress from?
Did you know that a woman can kill another woman for an outfit? Well, that’s exactly what Castro, an Israeli clothing company, seems to suggest through this 2018 commercial.
The commercial shows a woman robbing, murdering, and burying the body of another young woman. Her fault? Well, she refused to tell her where she bought her dress. The ad garnered so many complaints that it was barred from airing on Israeli television by Israel’s TV authority.
It’s beyond my comprehension why anyone would want to showcase themselves as a brand that’s so good that people would kill for their products. My friend, if that’s the case you aren’t a brand, you’re a threat to society!
4. Goodyear Polyglass
What do we have here? Another same old “women can’t drive stereotype”!
This particularly awful commercial from Goodyear Polyglass reaffirms the “belief” that women are poor drivers as it launches into a tense score as soon as a woman is seen behind the steering wheel. I often wonder how did we ever come to this conclusion. I usually see more women adhering to the traffic rules than men. Well, I guess there is just as much truth in women being bad drivers as women being better cooks than their male counterparts.
5. 18 Again: I Feel Like a Virgin
Well, this one will surely steal the show.
This commercial from 18 Again, a vaginal tightening cream, is not only scientifically incorrect but also drives the belief that a wife’s ultimate goal is to impress her husband and make him happy. At the end of the ad, an old lady is seen surfing through the 18 Again site. The commercial was criticized for fueling unrealistic expectations in men from their female partners. What next, 14 again??
6. Huggies: Dad Test
Here’s a bonus commercial for you, in case you thought that women were the only targets of sexism in the advertising industry.
This 2012 Huggies ad showed a group of sports-crazy dads who were incompletely incapable of putting nappies around their children. The ad conveniently ignores the role that modern fathers play in raising children today. Surveys show that more fathers than ever are taking on child-rearing duties.
The campaign was eventually pulled down after widespread criticism. Looks like it was changing times for Huggies.
Most of the ads in this list are from pre-social media days when brands could get away with almost anything without attracting any backlash at all. However, in today’s day and age, brands are under more scrutiny than ever. Therefore, they need to be very careful about the content. If you’ve been planning your next ad, hopefully, this blog will help you steer clear of things that you should avoid to prevent your brand from being labeled as “sexist”.