Two cents blog

Advertising Like A Woman

by Deb Enright on 6 March 2015

Some say it started with a pimp in ancient Rome, a bright spark who attached bells to his prostitutes’ sandals to ‘advertise’ their availability. Others say it began when the godfather of modern advertising, David Ogilvy, delivered his classic foot-in-mouth clanger: “The consumer isn’t a moron. She’s your wife.” Whatever, it seems that sexism in advertising has existed since Eve was a girl.

Now, the reason I bring this up is because this Sunday is International Women’s Day. The day when we celebrate the progress that women have achieved. A day when the ad industry should probably hang its crass commercial head in shame. Because, let’s face it, how many other industries can you think of that have promoted patronising and demeaning stereotypes of woman with such reckless abandon? An exaggeration? Take a look at these…

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Appalling aren’t they? Hard to believe that ads like this helped shape the world that our mothers and grandmothers grew up in. A world where many of them felt they had no choice but to hide their dreams in their back pockets, put on a happy face and stand by their men.

Thankfully, the ad industry has come a long way since then. Sure, we’ve had stumbles where we’ve told women they ought to have been congratulated for using a particular brand of margarine (what an achievement, hey?). And we’ve tripped up from time to time with condescending nonsense like “Good on you Mum”. But we’re beginning to see things like Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, the Always “Like a Girl” video, and the Pantene “Not Sorry” ads. Yep, for the most part, we’re making progress, aren’t we?

 

I’m hoping we’ll have evolved even more by International Women’s Day 2016, aren’t you?

Deb Enright is a Senior Creative at BCM

- Alessandro on March 9

Unfortunately the stereotype woman/good-housewife is still existing. Oh yes, Dove’s Real Beauty campaign is pushing beyond the boundaries, but what about all those ads showing men who are stupid at domestic tasks? I am talking about the endless list of ads where a very smart woman/housewife is managing an incompetent male/husband. Those ads are just a clear example of subtle form of patriarchy. Why? Well, if you pay attention, the "stupid man" is always portrayed as useless at doing any form of "domestic task". Exactly those "domestic tasks" that a woman/housewife can manage without any problem. Here is an example (Fiber One Snack Bar): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s18TtmNmioQ

- Gillian on March 6

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