Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Advertising's View of Husbands

Advertising today has a definite view of husbands. Witness the ad below for Yellowbook.com:




Now, this ad might be a bit extreme, but it's illustrative of how Advertising (and the target market of women) view most husbands. As utterly replaceable. The woman even has a half-smile on her face as she searches for life insurance.

The woman is no more attractive than her husband. Compare the ad with this one:



"Jackpot." Increasingly, men are as objectified to women in advertising, as women are to men in pornography. This is not a healthy environment for formation of stable families, and evidence of consumerism as an approach to relationships, with short-term decision making on money and looks being marketed to women explicitly. [There is almost no marketing towards men, an astonishing factor given that say, Cook's Illustrated has gone from 17% male readership a decade ago to now, 50% male, or that it's common to see half the shoppers in the Supermarkets after work comprised of lone males. The idea that women alone make 80% of the purchasing decisions is as flawed as the assumption that there is a large and ever growing population of White youths.]

Note the only attribute for the Groom in the ad. Being hot.

These ads, in tandem, comprise more arrows pointing towards a profound, and probably irrevocable shift towards chaotic, short-term relationships instead of the nuclear family.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Note that she didn't search for "safety goggles" or "career advice", but life insurance. As in, "I'll be all set when hubby dies".

This ad is horribly misandric, and only slightly more subtle than the jawbone ads. What horrible, sadistic person is coming up with this stuff?

I'm not even going to get into the moral implications of women making men do all the dangerous jobs, and then setting themselves up to profit from their husbands' deaths.

Micha Elyi said...

Yeah, I noticed the same thing Anonymous did. All that was missing from the ad was the wife's fist pump as she exhales "yesss!" when her man's back is turned.

Today's married man should never buy life insurance.

Rose said...

I thank you for this post, as I thought I was alone in disliking the ubiquitous "If film crews ran the world..." ad. I get the joke but can only think "This bride cares so little for her bridegroom that she would marry any handsome stranger?" No wonder he has cold feet. And my first thought on seeing the Yellowbook ad on television was "Shouldn’t this heartless woman first try to dissuade her husband to do a job that she thinks will likely result in his death?" It's rare to see an ad that dark.

Novaseeker said...

I didn't think these were as bad as the jawbone ones, really.

The first one is standard fare: bumbling husband. Pretty much the only way the media is allowed to portray husbands now is as bumbling idiots -- something which suggests that the target market likes seeing them portrayed that way. But it was pretty much standard fare.

The Sprint ad was annoying, but funny as well. I don't think it was suggesting that she switch the real groom for the stunt groom -- it was simply in keeping with the theme of the ad, where the film crews are manipulating all elements of reality. The "jackpot" line was crude, though -- we all know that an ad which said that about a "stunt bride" would be loathed by the ladies at feministing, for instance.

Whiskey said...

Thanks Rose. More evidence yet of a cultural shift (Bridezillas, other wedding reality shows) that makes the wedding (fabulous party for ME!) instead of the marriage the centerpiece of life.

As commenter Black Sea noted in the prior post, more evidence of irresponsibility and immaturity, a refusal to grow up.

Anonymous said...

Whiskey,


White Male Groups SHOULD SUE ADVERTISERS who portray them as idiots, just like any other interest group.

Nobody has to be portrayed as a dolt to sell a product.



Thieves in commercials can be portrayed by masked men, concealing any race so nobody gets upset over the inference.



The answer is to hit them in the pocketbook IN COURT by LAWSUIT. Surely some men's rights groups have lawyers on retainer. There is much moolah to be made. m

Anonymous said...

Novaseeker, it's obviously not as excessively, blatantly horrible as the jawbone ads, but you're letting it off too easy if you think it's "pretty much standard fare".

This wasn't just a "bumbling dad" this was a "bumbling soon-to-be-dead-and-leave-his-wife-a-fat-life-insurance-check dad". I'm surprised they didn't have a hot "bad-boy" type walk in at the end and high-five the wife.


How about this ad:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A2Ap3DyvLg

Even in supposedly "pro-fatherhood" ads, dads are made to look foolish and silly. God forbid they show a father playing basketball or going hunting with his son.

ironrailsironweights said...

TV commercials so often portray men (especially fathers) as hopeless doofi for two reasons:

1) The audience for most non-sports shows is your basic Fish Taco Festival.

2) Men can laugh at themselves, while women cannot.

Peter

cayalx said...

"Even in supposedly "pro-fatherhood" ads, dads are made to look foolish and silly. God forbid they show a father playing basketball or going hunting with his son."

or how about an ad about fatherhood without any females whatsoever, be they knitting grandmothers or little girl cheerleaders? Or is that not allowed?

PC said...

"The "jackpot" line was crude, though"

Novaseeker, I took that to be that the mother of the bride didn't like the real husband, which is more of a reflection on her. Jokes about son-in-laws and mother-in-laws go way back.

ironrailsironweights said...

Something in addition to its anti-male bias annoys me about the Yellowbook commercial. A number of years ago I was acquainted with a man who actually was a blasting contractor and got to know a few things about the industry. Suffice to say that people who work with explosives are highly skilled and very careful in what they do. They are nothing whatsoever like the bumbling doofus in the ad.

Peter

Whiskey said...

PC -- the woman I think was a film crew PA, not the mother in law.

Of course, totally absent was the father of the bride. Telling.

Novaseeker said...

That PSA with the black father was very telling.

"Take time out to be a dad" -- but being a Dad means mothering, not fathering.

It is not the father's job to teach his daughter how to be a cheerleader. That's just plain stupid, and a strong suggestion that children don't need fathers, but two mothers: one of them male and the other female (or perhaps other arrangements as we are now seeing). No distinctive father role.

If that ad were serious about fatherhood, it would have indicated how fathers can really impact their daughters as *fathers*, and not as mothers with penises.

TGGP said...

A thought occurred to me after I read some comments and watched the first ad. "Could you imagine the same commercial but with the wife getting a job with dynamite & blasting caps?" That's in contrast to the frequent occurrence of black computer hackers in television/film (I don't recall a single one in any of my CS classes).

There's an article discussing what percentage of shoppers are men vs women at different kinds of stores here:
http://industry.bnet.com/retail/10002753/retailers-take-note-shopping-becomes-a-guy-thing/

When I was googling there were other results analyzing the household structure of shoppers, but unfortunately they were not open access. Some might have just required free registration, but I didn't bother.

I'm one of those hardcore economistic types who assumes most firms are profit-maximizing. When I see checkout aisles in stores stocked with magazines that only appeal to women, I defer to their expertise regarding who is shopping (I certainly want to fall into a sort of marketized Dougherty Doctrine). It's possible though that men are less likely to buy magazines in the checkout aisle but rather pre-plan so that they pick up something in a magazine section or simply subscribe to it. And of course certain magazines targeted toward men are not too family-friendly for display.

TGGP said...

You also hit on an important point about the immaturity of today. Adult human beings resemble adolescent chimpanzees, and we have been steadily evolving to be more gracile. It used to be the case that young adults became apprentices and joined the work force. Now not only is it unthinkable that they should not graduate from highschool, but it is becoming expected that they attend college and possible even graduate school! All this indicates a delaying of adulthood. I am basing a lot of this on a post from a blog I can't remember. It was a scientist discussing differences in learning between kids and adults. The author thought this was a positive trend and believed scientists were sort of like permanent children (as you might guess, this particular scientist worked for a university rather than a profit-making company).

Ginger said...

OT (kinda/sorta): The Death of Macho

Stickwick Stapers said...

Men should ensure their families are cared for in the event of death, but there was something sinister about the way the wife in the first ad went straight for the insurance and didn't even try to talk him out of the job. You could almost sense the glee.

My husband has life insurance, because we're starting our family soon, and, God forbid something happens to him, I will need a means of support that doesn't involve sticking the kids in a day orphanage. However. He was engaging in some risky behavior a few years ago, and told me not to worry, because he had life insurance. I told him I would not profit from this behavior. In fact, I would give the money to the Hillary campaign just to emphasize that, not only would I not profit from a meaningless death, but everyone would suffer. He got the point.

As for the second ad, it betrayed (probably unintentionally) the notion that too many women are concerned only with the wedding, not the marriage.

Novaseeker said...

Thanks for the link, Ginger. I just blogged about Reihan's piece earlier today.

Anonymous said...

While we're on the subject of father-related commercials, I should add that I've seen one that might represent a glimmer of hope.

There's a local ad (at least it shows in the local ad slots) for Cox cable that has a young girl of about 7 years old telling her infant sibling about how smart her dad is.

The idea is basically, "Dad is so smart because he can figure out how to install the cable TV all by himself". The commercial ends on the line "See, I told you he was smart!" Dad is only ever shown in the background, but the little girl is literally praising him throughout the entire spot.

I called Cox and told them I loved the commercial, even though I'm already a subscriber. If I can find a video of it online I'll link it here.

not too late said...

You probably aren't old enough to remember Leave it to Beaver. There was a slimy character named Eddie Haskell (a white teenaged version of Obama). The mom thought he was a great kid because he was fake polite to her. The father, older son and even little "Beaver" knew he was a ne'er-do-well.

Feminism despises the truth. They want the pretty lie and want men to stop telling them the truth.

Nine-of-Diamonds said...

Hubby terrorized her b/c he "Wouldn't stop arguing with her?" Weak, Jesus. Real weak. Don't you have a 40-day fast to start, or something?

Anyway, what I like most about this commentary is the info on the earning gap & female-dominated service industries. It would be interesting to speculate on how Affirmative Action and/or similar programs have contributed to the imbalances Whiskey speaks of. In many areas companies are encouraged/given incentives by the gov't to bloat their upper echelons with token minority and/or female staff. In one of my past jobs I noticed that many company presidents, account reps, etc were women, despite the fact that the actul "boots on the ground" work was overwhelmingly male dominated & physically demanding. No doubt many a contractor found it expedient to list a female figurehead (sometimes his wife) as head of the company, regardless of her actual experience level. Aside from governments' positive incentives designed to tilt the playing field towards females, you obviously have to think of punitive measures as well. The threat of sex discrimination lawsuits, exposes on "gender discrimination", etc etc.

During my tenure most companies could tolerate the inherent inefficiencies & excess overhead because it was the mid-2000's and the housing bubble had not yet burst - most of our affiliates were doing so well with new construction that they turned down jobs. Now, thanks to our beloved Kenyan interloper's jihad against the economy, you have to wonder how some of those "comany presidents" are doing these days.

njartist said...

@ Ginger
Thanks for the link.
Isn't FP a CFR organ? Well, now we know how the elites view the American Male. If true, the male now has no reason to be loyal to the American Government or any female.

PA said...

This commercial brought a tear to my eye. In a good way:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlF5C0iPcpg

Whiskey said...

TGGP -- Sadly, most firms are agent-maximizing. You only get profit maximizing, by most people in the firm, and by company execs, in boom years when the goal is IPO or bust. That's been my experience. For example, most TV execs are drawn from the producer ranks, and soon return to them. Ala Studio heads. So they're out networking for their next job, not with their interests aligned in profit-maximizing.

Anecdotally, I see about half the shoppers here in Southern California male, not female. It's true that say Maxim is not family friendly, but ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and so on are no more objectionable than Cosmo "120 Sex Tips to Turn Him ON!" and Shape, both with lots of women in bikinis on their covers.

Ginger, thanks for that link. I will be blogging on that at length. Suffice it to say I don't agree with Salan at all.

Whiskey said...

TGGP -- One add, I would also be wary of the Dougherty Doctrine (i.e. "it needs to be more like me") but cutting off half the potential consumers seems stupid for advertisers. After all it's a recession. Every company has to scrap for sales. They can't afford to alienate anyone.

[I predict a decline in "edgy" stuff on TV just for that reason, save HBO/Showtime which has no advertisers.]

Anonymous said...

They can't afford to alienate anyone.

As long as they all alienate the same people - white males - there is no downside.