Objectification of the sexes and dumbing of the senses

In recent weeks I have been annoyed to say the least by an alarming trend of adverts which degrade the art of advertising and get under my skin. They look down at their consumer and play to the growing ‘The Sun’ tabloid culture of treating people like kids. Be warned, the following videos are not a great reflection of the (sometimes brilliant) British advertising scene.

My anger has started because of one advert and it is most certainly the hair that broke the camel’s back. So it is only right that I start my CSI analysis with the hair in question (weirdly enough as I am writing this The Smiths ‘HOW SOON IS NOW’ on the radio – weird).

Wall’s Sausages (May 2011)

Imagine the scene, your wife has fried you some cheap sausages, which do not contain enough meat to be labelled ‘Pork’ or ‘Beef’, and you the dominant male want to say thank you. But there is a problem; you can’t because you’re a bloke. So naturally the next best solution is to do the following:

I’m sure that there are several issues which have annoyed you about this ad, to list all of them would be pure tedium. The two issues which have forced my hands into typing this blog are the following:

1) Tabloid Sexist Generalisations

The Sun and many tabloids tailor their editorial content to relate their audience which has an average reading ability of an 8 year old (I know this is rich coming from a dyslexic blogger who often buys The Sun). The fact remains that media like this ‘dumbs’ down content in order to ‘appeal’ to what they view as a simple-minded / unsophisticated members of public.

‘Dumbing’ the content of an advert down means that you lose several devices which can be used to create an affiliation with the viewer. Irony, wit, charm, poise, fear, love, romance and other dramatic foils are removed the advertisers’ arsenal. This forces advertisers to type-cast their audience in to pathetic stereotypes in order to create the connection. The ‘Blokey Bloke Bloke’ image portraits British Men as slobs, oaths, lazy and emotionless.

Walls are not the only ones, there are plenty of examples, but he is a sample of the ‘British Bloke’:

So let me get this right, all I want to do as a bloke is perve on my sister and sit watching TV whilst someone else (or my removable hovering finger) brings me my delicious meaty snack. So in the first ad, I’m a slob who lacks emotion and only wants to eat imitation meat and now we are lazy. At least these Ads are a one-off though, there won’t be more surely not.

2) Gimmicks

No. There are. Lots. The Rustler ads have been running since 2009 spying upon females in their households and bringing food to masters. They have done this via their gimmick finger character. Walls are set to be worse than the lecherous digit, because they now have a mascot which they will pin their colours to. His name is Alan and here is a bit about him:

“Meet Alan…

He’s no musical genius, but when it comes to thanking you for serving up hearty down-to-earth honest grub, our 2 inch high mascot really is man’s best friend.

Alan puts into words (and music) just what your average bloke finds difficult to show – his appreciation. So, on behalf of the menfolk of Britain, and Mr Wall himself (well, he’s a bloke too you know), please accept a big meaty ‘Thank You’ for serving up Wall’s. After all it’s what we all want.” – http://www.wallsproperfood.co.uk/

This SEXIST mongrel is on a campaign to enslave women in the kitchen and get them to serve us up a meaty treat before we fob off doing the dishes by asking the dog to say thank you on our behalf.

The use of the dog is a desperate attempt to recreate the recent and astronomical success of Alexander Meerkova of Compare the Market fame and Gio Compario of Go Compare. Although Gio is very annoying he is original and connects with the audience by using various types of emotion meaning he can offer several brand strategies. Alan neglects his audience and assumes they are uneducated and have the same brain density as the sausages he is selling.

I do believe though women face far more daunting advertising than men. I will review this issue in my next blog after my holiday. Until then, I thought I would leave you with a genuinely brilliant advert to show how you can turn something as emotionless as an internet browser into a warm visual hug.

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3 thoughts on “Objectification of the sexes and dumbing of the senses”

  1. Totally agree. These adverts are not only sexist, degrading towards both genders, and playing on ‘stereotypes such as the ‘blokey bloke’ as you suggest, but Walls and Rustler are also narrowing their target audiences with these adverts, as well as patronising the customers they are trying to attract. Here is one of my favourite adverts of the year so far, despite the rather outdated and sexist mother and father stereotypes! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLUkpyTUi5M&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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