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December 12, 2012 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Perhaps putting a pro-life message on a coat-hanger is the Worst Marketing Decision of the Year. But there are other nominees. posted by Potomac Avenue (108 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
I dunno, man, I think it's brilliant. They're clearly trying to give the coat-hanger abortionists second thoughts by delivering messages directly to them, which sounds like solid advertising to me.

EDIT: (Yes, I realize it's an awful idea).
posted by Noms_Tiem at 12:19 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pretty great advertising for their competitors: any of them.
posted by oceanjesse at 12:24 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


They're clearly trying to give the coat-hanger abortionists second thoughts...

I thought those were the only abortionists they approved of!
posted by clarknova at 12:26 PM on December 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


I can kind of see where that coat hanger advertisement might make sense, but holy fuck, is that awful.
posted by 2N2222 at 12:28 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh I do love these. Although, my favorite will always be the time McDonald's took a popular (and misogynistic) turn of phrase and turned it into something deeply disturbing.
posted by griphus at 12:30 PM on December 12, 2012 [19 favorites]


I thought that Harvey Nichols "Try to contain your excitement" ad was pretty great, actually. Memorable, slightly shocking, and funny.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:35 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Come for the hanger, stay for the Oxy commercial in the "other" link.
posted by fijiwriter at 12:37 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


something deeply disturbing.

That advert was marketed towards teens who wanted to thrust their erections into hot meaty buns though.

i regret nothing
posted by elizardbits at 12:38 PM on December 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


As per the hanky code, a cheeseburger in your back pocket means you're a "dollar menu guy."
posted by griphus at 12:43 PM on December 12, 2012 [23 favorites]


I don't care what the photo gallery is or what the news story is, can we please not link to the Daily Mail? Not everyone browses with adblock. There are better, more reputable "news" organizations that Metafilter can give ad impressions and potential clicks to.
posted by thewalrus at 12:46 PM on December 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think the phone number in this commercial (from the "other" link) has too many sixes.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:47 PM on December 12, 2012


Or not enough.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:48 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


See my website 666.666.666.666.666.666.666.6666666.66.bz for more info.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:49 PM on December 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Man that Roller Kingdom ad is amazing. My favorite part is the way the guy says "I say NO to UNPLANNED pregnancy" clearly indicating that the child he conceives in the bathroom of the rollerskating place will be intentional.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:53 PM on December 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


The Belvedere Vodka ad - wow. Wow. That had to have gone through more than one person - how many I don't know - and no one said anything. That's fucking insane.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:54 PM on December 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


This one. I mean yes, you're trying to send a powerful message about a serious issue, but holy shit, MADD!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:55 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Nike "Greatness" ad is brilliant. Who the fuck does not get what they are trying to say there?
posted by basicchannel at 12:57 PM on December 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


That Oxy ad. The one that is number 3 on the Business Insider page. Gah.

I thought it would horribly stay in my head for the rest of the day. But that MADD PSA knocked it right out of me. Again, gah.
posted by painquale at 12:59 PM on December 12, 2012


The "Choose Life" hangers mostly just remind me of WHAM! in their heyday, actually. There should be a photo of a fetus with feathered bleached blond hair and fluorescent yellow fingerless gloves.
posted by elizardbits at 1:00 PM on December 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I glad someone else recognized how awful the "Cup of Johan" ads are. For starters, the German version of Joseph is... Joseph. (I guess saying "Yo" instead of "Joe" would have been too subtle.) Also Gevalia coffee is gross; you might as well be drinking hot chocolate.
posted by Cash4Lead at 1:03 PM on December 12, 2012


Thoroughly enjoyed FPP. Off to clean up cookies and shit after RTFMktgA.

this comment was written on 12.12.12
posted by infini at 1:04 PM on December 12, 2012


TheWhiteSkull: We love our disturbing PSAs here
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:04 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Who the fuck does not get what they are trying to say there?

Yeah, as someone who took up running in my late teens to loose weight and improve my health (and discovered a love for endurance sports), I think that ad is fantastic (I wouldn't run in Nikes, but that's a different story).
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:05 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Nike "Greatness" ad is brilliant. Who the fuck does not get what they are trying to say there?

Amusingly it shows up on this list of the best ads that follows one of the linked to lists of the worst ads.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:05 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Many of the "Worst" ads could be seen that way too. Especially that Oxy one. Is generating bad press online a sign of a failed ad campaign? I think the answer depends on what kind of bad press it is.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:09 PM on December 12, 2012


For starters, the German version of Joseph is... Joseph.

What does that have to do with anything whatsoever? Not that the ad is any good. And the coffee is indeed bad. But not German.
posted by Authorized User at 1:09 PM on December 12, 2012


I can't decide which appalls me most -- the hanger, hideously reminiscent to me of one of the pro choice movement's most powerful slogans, the ha, ha, rape is so funny Belvedere ad, or the dreadfully graphic Society for Abandoned Animals "Dead Dogs" ad.
posted by bearwife at 1:10 PM on December 12, 2012


The "Choose Life" hangers mostly just remind me of WHAM! in their heyday, actually. There should be a photo of a fetus with feathered bleached blond hair and fluorescent yellow fingerless gloves.
posted by elizardbits at 1:00 PM on December 12 [+] [!]


To be fair, Wham!'s "choose life" was to raise awareness about drug abuse and suicide, not abortion.
posted by basicchannel at 1:14 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Still, at least one ad professional, Donny Deutsch, defended Pizza Hut. He argued that young people would be attracted to the chain's message, especially in a media environment that conflates news with entertainment. But the trouble with Deutsch's argument is that the young people who subscribe to Pizza Hut's YouTube channel were among the first to take the brand to task for this dumb idea.

This is the crux of the matter. This thinking is dangerous. Feels representative of the divide between the haves and have nots, in an odd kind of way. You can see manifestations of this in the entire article's list of ads. With each example I was wondering whether the cluetrain gang were rofling somewhere at socialmedia by faceless worker bees.
posted by infini at 1:14 PM on December 12, 2012


I love the Daily Mail. The headline:

Pro-life COAT HANGERS used by dry cleaning firm slammed as 'worst marketing decision ever'

The support for the headline from the article:

One blogger called it the 'worst marketing decision ever'
posted by brain_drain at 1:14 PM on December 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Authorized User: Because the ad was setting up a dichotomy between "Joe" = boring American coffee and "Johan" = exciting European coffee. If the character was called "Joseph" (with a Yo sound) it would have fit the pairing more accurately but also been sort of meaningless sounding. So they went with Johan, which is the German version of John, which doesn't make sense as set up opposed Joe. Of course that's only the 7th or 8th most annoying thing about that commercial.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:15 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Authorized User: Good catch, I mistakenly thought Gevalia was a German company, not Swedish. But my point is that Gevalia went with the "cup of Johan" line simply sounds more "ethnic" than Josef.

On preview: What Potomac Avenue said.
posted by Cash4Lead at 1:17 PM on December 12, 2012


And the failure here was Nike's inability to understand the nasty -- often polarizing -- nature of the web.

Oooo...writer doesn't like us.
posted by infini at 1:18 PM on December 12, 2012


To be fair, Wham!'s "choose life" was to raise awareness about drug abuse and suicide, not abortion.

uh, yeah, that's why it is hilarious
posted by elizardbits at 1:18 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I prefer the more practical message of this hanger.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:19 PM on December 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


Worst/Best Ad Ever (scroll down)
posted by brain_drain at 1:22 PM on December 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


But the trouble with Deutsch's argument is that the young people who subscribe to Pizza Hut's YouTube channel were among the first to take the brand to task for this dumb idea.

Also, Donny Deutsch is a fucking moron.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:23 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I’m not even sure I understand half of what they're talking about in the imediaconnection link. And I don’t totally get how the vodka ad is portraying rape. I thought it was just people playing around. Which it seems like it actually was according to the actress in the picture. It’s kind of weird, and could be construed as distasteful, but I don’t know how you look at that and say "rape". Really, not just horseplay, or anything else?

The Harvey Nichols ad though may be the most distasteful ad I’ve ever seen.
posted by bongo_x at 1:24 PM on December 12, 2012


That Oxy ad was so foul. I am completely and utterly squicked out.

(Also, did anybody get the message that maybe the reason so much, uh, splooge came out is because those boys were slathering their faces with the product? Follow the metaphor*, people!)

*to the bitter end
posted by iamkimiam at 1:26 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Browsing the nominees link, those are some terrible ads. Fascinating to compare the american ads for european (or "european") brands. Jägermeister has a different... tone. Also Gevalia (originally Swedish) seems to be having a terrible time finding it's footing, this monstrosity was withdrawn last year. Their ads here are all centered around having an unexpected visit and very harmless.
posted by Iteki at 1:29 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Holy shit what an epic failture.
posted by rorypeppercorn at 1:31 PM on December 12, 2012


I became aware of the coat hanger one a day or two ago. Found myself thinking "is this an intentional statement, or is this guy really just that clueless?"

Haven't seen anything to answer that either way. Still holding out hope for stupid.
posted by Archelaus at 1:34 PM on December 12, 2012


I don’t totally get how the vodka ad is portraying rape.

The copy is: Unlike some people, Belvedere always goes down smoothly.

She's not "going down" smoothly, in fact, she looks horrified and like she is trying to escape having to "go down". It sounds like the original picture was something entirely more innocent, but there is a lot that you can change about the way a picture is interpreted with the right (or horribly, horribly wrong) caption.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:35 PM on December 12, 2012


Holy shit what an epic failture.

Haha. Yep. Speaking of which, this utterly idiotic and pretentious Dewar's ad wins my vote for the worst ad of the year.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:36 PM on December 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've enjoyed the Christmas Adverts in the UK this year. Even the roundly criticised Asda advert is charming. Sure, it shows mum doing everything, but sometimes Mum does everything.

Plus - my favourite advert of the year is the Tesco Champagne ad, which makes me wonder about the assertion in the link that "a Christmas advert featuring only a black family seems unthinkable. "

Of course - I watch more TV than it's actually healthy to watch.
posted by zoo at 1:37 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Really, not just horseplay, or anything else?"

1. the woman is being objectified — as in, literally, she is compared to an actual object, as if they are equally comparable things.
2. The Belvedere is superior to said woman-object, because...
3. Belvedere "goes down" smoothly, i.e., does not require force.

Unlike some inferior objects.

Technically it's not just horseplay, it's wordplay. So smooth, so rapey.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:39 PM on December 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Also Gevalia (originally Swedish) seems to be having a terrible time finding it's footing

That's because packaged coffee is a completely saturated category in North America, with little differentiation between even the "premium" brands.

...this monstrosity was withdrawn last year.

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:39 PM on December 12, 2012


It sounds like the original picture was something entirely more innocent, but there is a lot that you can change about the way a picture is interpreted with the right (or horribly, horribly wrong) caption.

In my opinion the Belvedere web ad was thrown together quickly and the idea was that the person being obnoxious was the one "not going down smoothly" because he was being, um, obnoxious or something. I don't know, I just want to believe the ad was just badly written rather than deliberately making a rape joke. But either way, yeesh.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:39 PM on December 12, 2012


I don’t totally get how the vodka ad is portraying rape.

It's a grinning dude physically restraining frightened woman. Either he's about to shove her into an industrial blender in order to be able to drink her with his vodka, or it's rapey.
posted by elizardbits at 1:40 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


this monstrosity yt was withdrawn last year.

That is easily the most racist ad made since 1970 or so. Wow.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:40 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


They also could have one that says “Don’t lock your keys in your car!” and one that says “Don’t park somewhere your car antenna will get stolen!”
posted by Floydd at 1:40 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Haha. Yep. Speaking of which, this utterly idiotic and pretentious Dewar's ad wins my vote for the worst ad of the year.

Looks like Claire Forlani has gone off her meds again.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:41 PM on December 12, 2012


Also, I love how the Jagermeister ad includes, amongst its manly men, Freddie Roach given that Jager bombs can't be beneficial for his Parkinson's.
posted by basicchannel at 1:41 PM on December 12, 2012


I didn't read the Belvedere ad as being about rape when I first saw it; it certainly looks to me like it's about oral sex, but first and foremost I see her as gagging (I can see that the guy is grabbing her, too, but it looks mostly like gagging to me). I assumed the joke was "Belvedere goes down smooth, unlike this woman who is bad at oral sex."

That said, enough people read it as rapey that I'm not really going to argue with them. It's not like it's a clever or interesting ad either way. If people are seeing it as rapey, they ought to pull it.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:44 PM on December 12, 2012


Lousy marketing idea, but really, it seems like some sort of weird avant guard artistic statement there. If they wore the right kind of shirt and specs and adopted the right kind of arrogant sneer, they could swap dry cleaning for the gallery circuit...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 1:45 PM on December 12, 2012


By "going down smooth," they mean the guy. He's not smooth- he doesn't have moves. But yeah, it comes across as totally rapey.

That being said, I can easily see how it might have got buy some of the grinning idiots who are a little too common in ad agencies.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:50 PM on December 12, 2012


The fact that Dee Snyder is still doing his thing is remarkable. My Price is Right bid for him to be in a carpet cleaning commercial at this point in time is USD 25,000.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:51 PM on December 12, 2012


Oh goody! A perfect excuse to re-post the excellent and relevant Graham Parker and the Rumour song: "Coathangers"
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:56 PM on December 12, 2012


By "going down smooth," they mean the guy.

I can kind of see that _now_ but I really have to stretch. And I'm not usually the kind of girl who gets offended by rapeyness on these here interwebs (I would totally have worn a Team Dickwolf shirt at a con, had I been given the chance).

So, if _my_ first reading of the ad was that the girl wasn't going down smooth, you know that the ad is broken.

And either way, even if it is the guy who isn't "smooth", him physically restraining a girl is really not ok.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:57 PM on December 12, 2012


what happened to the days of Bond looking guys sipping whatever with armcandy?
posted by infini at 2:03 PM on December 12, 2012


I like how according to the article, the Kitchen tweet about Obama's grandma dying, the bad thing was that the person mistakenly tweeted a person tweet on the corporate account, and not, y'know, the fact that they had a racist piece of shit in charge of their twitter account.
posted by ShawnStruck at 2:03 PM on December 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


They lost me with the scare quotes around pro-life and the term "anti-choice".
posted by koavf at 2:04 PM on December 12, 2012


the idea was that the person being obnoxious was the one "not going down smoothly" because he was being, um, obnoxious or something.

That’s how I read it. He’s being obnoxious. Rape would have never occurred to me if I hadn’t read the article.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a terrible ad, I just think the watering down of the meaning of "rape" is dangerous. I think the reading of the ad as rape is in the eye of the beholder, but it still should have been pulled. Or not put out.
posted by bongo_x at 2:24 PM on December 12, 2012


I think the copy was definitely meant to indicate that the obnoxious drunk guy did not 'go down smooth', but I think most people's natural first read is the extremely rapey one which, yeah, makes it an exceptionally awful ad.
posted by Think_Long at 2:26 PM on December 12, 2012


I don't quite understand the controversy over the Nike commercial though, could someone explain it to me? I suppose if the obese kid had been revealed as sort of a record-scratch surprise for laughs I could see how it would be problematic, but the nice slow reveal and the narration seemed kind of inspired I thought.
posted by Think_Long at 2:27 PM on December 12, 2012


I thought the writers found issue with the Nike commercial because it was polarizing. The same site lists the commercial among their "best" so I took it to mean they had issue with the reaction than with the content.
posted by CancerMan at 2:32 PM on December 12, 2012


Rape would have never occurred to me if I hadn’t read the article.

It's the first thing that occurred to me. So, while an alternative explanation will be out there, a significant portion of the population is seeing that and thinking "rape." And that doesn't strike me as watering down the meaning of the word -- the image is of a man holding an agitated woman in place forcibly, and "go down" is a common euphemism for oral sex. For those of us who combine those two things into an image of a man forcing a women into oral sex -- which is neither a stretch nor an uncommon interpretation -- then, from that entirely reasonable perspective, the ad is very literally a depiction of a rape. Perhaps an unintentional one, perhaps a jokey one, but the meaning is not being diluted by applying it to this ad.

I am not arguing that this was the intention of the ad, or it absolutely is what the ad represents, or what people must see when they look at the ad. I am saying, regardless of what was intended, for a significant number of people, this was an ad that seemed to be a rape joke. If intended, that's terrible, and, if unintended, it's a catastrophic failure of communicating a message.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:34 PM on December 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


Gevalia (originally Swedish) seems to be having a terrible time finding it's footing

Good. As an email administrator, I cannot overstate the amount of ill will they have generated over the years with their aggressive spam campaigns. They're right up there with the University of Phoenix in my book. I am actively rooting for them to go bankrupt and disappear forever.
posted by Fnarf at 2:36 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


That’s how I read it. He’s being obnoxious. Rape would have never occurred to me if I hadn’t read the article.

I'm actually a little surprised because I could not come up with a single explanation for what the fuck the ad was even getting at unless it was a rape joke.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:43 PM on December 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


"[not] smooth" referring to the guy is an interesting take, one that didn't even occur to me as a possible interpretation. It makes me wonder how the ad relates to male gaze. There's a lot going on...the woman being the focus of the shot, the sexualization of the frightened face, the words, the way he has his arms around her...all of this to me added up to a much more salient interpretation, immediate and unignorable. It was still from the male perspective, but about how he sees her and the bottle, not how he sees himself, or how this imaginary audience (which may be a male gazing audience) sees him. It also makes me wonder how much of the salience of my interpretation is due to that ever-present "look out for danger" mechanism that is every interaction. Which reminds me of The Question.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:53 PM on December 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Rape is the only thing that occurred to me.
posted by brundlefly at 3:01 PM on December 12, 2012


Metafilter:
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 3:06 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just think the watering down of the meaning of "rape" is dangerous.

Physically restraining a woman in order to force her to perform oral sex on you is, in fact, rape, so there is no watering down of any meaning at all whatsoever.
posted by elizardbits at 3:07 PM on December 12, 2012 [19 favorites]


The first thing I see in that Belvedere ad is the phrase "Unlike some people," followed by the woman's face. As a result, I have the initial impression that she is the subject being referenced by the aforementioned phrase. The woman does not appear to want to be in that man's arms, either trying to move forward and away, or is being pulled towards. Her expression is not one of annoyance or irritation at some fellow being obnoxious; it appears panicked and frightened. And that man's face indicates she is losing this battle, or he finds it otherwise amusing and seems to be enjoying the whole thing.

I'm sorry, but I fail to see anything in that ad that does not display a brazen lack of consent and respect, so I'm going to have to go with rape. Maybe there isn't any connection between the sexual aspect of rape and the wording of the ad itself, but the power dynamic is definitely portrayed.
posted by CancerMan at 3:14 PM on December 12, 2012


I think we can all agree its a shitty shitty stupid ad that makes everyone feel bad. The fact that the photo was stolen from some improv groups website makes me think some lazy copywriter threw it together for web campaign and like 2 people looked at it before it went live. Important Lesson: Hire funnier copywriters who have a sense of tone.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:18 PM on December 12, 2012


It seems to me that the people defending the Belvedere ad are imagining a usage of the phrase "go down" which doesn't exist in culture. The ad was a rape joke, purely and simply.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:51 PM on December 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am familiar with the term "go down" to also refer to how something is received, for eg: "That joke didn't go down too well, eh?" but this is a horrible ad, and I think it's pretty obvious that what is not going down smoothly, is the woman pictured.
posted by thylacinthine at 3:59 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I want to go on the record by saying this year's Levi's "Go Forth" campaign has sworn me off of Levi's forever.
posted by hellojed at 4:17 PM on December 12, 2012


I’m not defending the ad, it’s a terrible ad. I just don’t think it’s a rape ad. It certainly could be interpreted that way, but a lot of things can be interpreted in ways that aren’t intentional. You shouldn’t put out ads that even look like they might be joking about rape though.

I’m not seeing the oral sex part, except the phrase "goes down". Which doesn’t fit the picture, there is no implication of oral sex there. "Goes down" I read like "goes over". That move is not going down like he thought it would, he is not smooth.

If it was a rape joke "goes down easy" or "goes down without a fight" would have worked a lot better than "smooth" and been really creepy. Smooth doesn’t make any sense in this context. It does make sense in the "smooth operator" context. As in; he’s not one.

I’m not making excuses; this is how I read the ad. I saw a picture of a guy horsing around, inappropriately, and a girl reacting shocked and annoyed, as you would expect her to be. Something that would happen at a party. That move is not going down like he thought it would, he is not smooth. His friends are saying "way to go, asshole". Of course the picture was not made for that ad so it’s all in how you see it.

I had to read the article, and the comments here several times while referring back to the ad to even understand where the rape idea came from. I can see it now, but it seems a bit of a stretch.
posted by bongo_x at 4:23 PM on December 12, 2012


Alright. I've never to my knowledge heard "go down" used like "go over" but I trust y'all that you're seeing that interpretation.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:28 PM on December 12, 2012


I was initially incredulous about the Belvedere Vodka advert bein' rapey, since a lot of people will go right to the "rape culture allegations first", but on looking at the ad, that's what it is.

I considered all other interpretations, including spewing, and could find no other interpretation.
bongo_x probably has the intent down, but clearly they were hella drunk and didn't engage brain.
posted by Mezentian at 4:36 PM on December 12, 2012


That move is not going down like he thought it would, he is not smooth. His friends are saying "way to go, asshole". Of course the picture was not made for that ad so it’s all in how you see it.

This would make a lot more sense if the ad said 'unlike some moves' rather than 'unlike some people.'
posted by shakespeherian at 4:39 PM on December 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


Adding: I don't mean that you are being dishonest about your reaction to it.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:40 PM on December 12, 2012


Adding: I don't mean that you are being dishonest about your reaction to it.

I’m not getting paid enough to be dishonest. Seriously, I think it’s fascinating how people see things differently.

What’s more fascinating to me is that these things get made in the first place without someone shutting them down and saying "that just sucks". How many people had to sign off on this?

The consumers demand (or the advertisers think they do) that the ads be more and more "edgy". Of course "edgy" really just means "pushing the boundaries of taste". And then people get offended because, you know, it’s in poor taste. Go figure.

You can’t just advertise the freakin product anymore. Most advertising now is like listening to that kid in High School that couldn’t stop repeating Monty Python bits. Quit trying to entertain me. I grow nostalgic for a time before I born when I see the ads from the 50’s. "Buy our coffee, it’s good". Hey thanks, maybe I will. So many ads today make me note to never buy that product.
posted by bongo_x at 5:48 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


When I was a graduate teaching assistant in studio art, I had a student who did exactly this.
posted by ducky l'orange at 6:24 PM on December 12, 2012


I’m not making excuses; this is how I read the ad.

I think you're totally making excuses. You're stretching the meaning of a term to make it fit something that 99% wouldn't see, given the juxtaposition of the phrase "unlike some people" and the image of a woman with her mouth open.

And...

The consumers demand (or the advertisers think they do) that the ads be more and more "edgy". Of course "edgy" really just means "pushing the boundaries of taste". And then people get offended because, you know, it’s in poor taste. Go figure

Advertisers don't even think people want ads to be more edgy. Most people want ads to go away. Advertisers want their ads to be edgy and controversial. They want people to talk about their vodka ad with the (at best) oral sex innuendo or (at worst) allusion to rape.

I mean, I know you say you're not making excuses but, boy, you seem to be making a lot of excuses.
posted by crossoverman at 6:26 PM on December 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I know and have met a fair number of people in advertising and at least at the level of those whom I met, they mostly wanted to make ads that other people in the agency would like.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:35 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter:
posted by Pruitt-Igoe


If that's meant to be some kind of cryptic eponymous comment on post-modernism, memes in online social media, and the relation of signifier to the signified; then well done sir or madam.

And since I'm sure we all enjoyed that zit cream ad:
PIMPLETUBE: A site for zit, pimple and cyst popping fans

posted by eurypteris at 6:35 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


What’s more fascinating to me is that these things get made in the first place without someone shutting them down and saying "that just sucks". How many people had to sign off on this?


I'm an interactive producer in advertising - a lot of people probably saw this. The copywriting/design team (two people), senior creative team(two people), account team (2-5 people depending), producer (1-2), client (at least two, up to eight or ten), social media agency (about another five). And that's actually a small number - considering it was only on FB and Twitter and didn't have a specific media buy behind it, it was probably put together pretty fast and had less review. That's the thing that gets me about people who are like, "they oughta fire the guy who thought up that one!" Like a ton of people are involved in every ad decision.

I can't believe this Belvedere ad got through all those people. Even stealing the image ALONE is a really huge deal, and then that copy, "edgy" ad or not. I mean that is just unreal.
posted by sweetkid at 6:55 PM on December 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


The woman in the picture that Belvedere used without permission certainly viewed it as a rapey joke. I know her, and she was really very far from pleased about the whole thing, on every level.
posted by flaterik at 7:29 PM on December 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I mean, I know you say you're not making excuses but, boy, you seem to be making a lot of excuses.

I think you’re confused; I didn’t make the ad, nor am I trying to defend it. I actually have no stake in the ad. I was stating how I viewed it. It’s an interesting position to claim that I must be engaging in some sort of deception if I state that the first thing that came to mind was not "sexual violence".

You're stretching the meaning of a term to make it fit something that 99% wouldn't see

I’m not sure what term you’re talking about, but I suspect your research numbers are off.
posted by bongo_x at 7:38 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just as a data-point, I initially had an identical interpretation of the ad as bongo_x. I had to come back to this thread to realize the implications of "goes down" (and I'm not an idiot, it just seemed like a typical tagline for a liquor ad and I tuned it out). No offence intended to anyone who immediately spotted the much more reprehensible scenario, but it just didn't cross my mind on first viewing.
posted by figurant at 8:12 PM on December 12, 2012


I didn't make the connection between the ad copy and oral sex, but the look on her face was enough to tell me what the ad was about. He thinks it's funny, she's terrified, and he's keeping her from escaping. How else do you interpret that?
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 9:53 PM on December 12, 2012


Perhaps she's terrified by how much she loves fruit loops? We're talking about people's personal interpretations of a single image that belongs to a medium that thrives on unlikely actions and reactions.

I think we've established that some people saw rape quickly in the Belvedere ad, some people didn't see it immediately (unless they're LYING LIARS! but maybe they are not?!?!) and everyone agrees it's inappropriate and rapey. And now I'm bored with that conversation, because nothing new is being said.

Shall we move on?
posted by tychotesla at 10:27 PM on December 12, 2012


No wire hangers!
posted by homunculus at 10:27 PM on December 12, 2012


There's at least three kinds of bad advertising at work here:

1. Unethical messages. —> Belvedere
2. Ads that annoy or disgust us. —> Oxy anti-zit
3. Ads that actually backfired. —> Afghan Scarf

It jars me a little when I see all three categories mixed together into a single list: here's a really effective ad, here's an ineffective ad, here's one we hate, here's one we love (to make fun of), here's one that's just plain evil.
posted by tychotesla at 10:40 PM on December 12, 2012


On a lighter note, how about an inappropriate ad juxtaposition instead.
posted by figurant at 10:58 PM on December 12, 2012


Choose life.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:06 AM on December 13, 2012


The misogyny in the Belvedere ad reminds me of this gross BMW used car ad I saw in my FB feed the other day.
posted by like_neon at 2:19 AM on December 13, 2012


I think you’re confused; I didn’t make the ad, nor am I trying to defend it. I actually have no stake in the ad. I was stating how I viewed it. It’s an interesting position to claim that I must be engaging in some sort of deception if I state that the first thing that came to mind was not "sexual violence".

Actually, I didn't think "sexual violence" at first - but I did think oral sex, because pretty much that's how the phrase "going down" is used these days. I can't imagine anyone under 80 using the phrase "going down" to mean anything else; but hey, even if my stats are wrong, I'm still fascinated by your redefinition of "going down" and "not making excuses". Because you seem to be trying to excuse the ad for a subtext that pretty much everyone else in the thread sees at text.

Regardless of whether you first saw it as "rapey" or not, I find it a bit troubling that you still don't see what the rest of us see. Because sometimes things aren't about first impressions but what impression we are later left with.

First I thought, "Heh, bawdy frat boy humour about going down..." Then, I thought, "wait a minute. She looks a bit distressed. This ad is pretty offensive." Then I came here and saw people describing it as rapey. Because it's rapey.

You really only see it as some single-entendre about the guy not being "smooth"? You really think advertising works like that?
posted by crossoverman at 3:31 AM on December 13, 2012


I find it a bit troubling that you still don't see what the rest of us see.

I find it extremely troubling that you feel it's ok to prod at someone else to the extent you're doing now. This isn't a struggle session and you are not the Chief Inquisitor, let it drop.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:00 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is that Claire Forlani in that Dewar's ad?! If so, I am sad.
posted by ifjuly at 5:21 AM on December 13, 2012


Actually knowing something about how creative agencies operate, I don't think the Belvedere ad was meant to be intentionally rapey, and I can easily see how it got past several levels of approval without anyone realizing.

But, yes, it is super rapey.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:43 AM on December 13, 2012


Speaking of inappropriate ad juxtaposition.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:20 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


but I did think oral sex, because pretty much that's how the phrase "going down" is used these days.

This has been said a couple of times, and it’s a weird statement. Try doing a Google search for the phrase "goes down", safe search off even. Maybe it’s the language skills of the people around you?

I find it a bit troubling that you still don't see what the rest of us see.


I find it annoying that you keep arguing things that I didn’t write. Try reading slower.

He thinks it's funny, she's terrified, and he's keeping her from escaping. How else do you interpret that?


I think this ad is a Rorschach test.

She looks surprised to me. I didn’t immediately view the woman as helpless. Why does the fact that he thinks it’s funny signify rape? Do rapists laugh a lot? Is he Snidely Whiplash or something?

It’s a bad ad. The people who put it out should have realized that people could misinterpret it.

I’m tired of defending the pro rape lobby now, it’s not worth the money and the guilt is getting to me.
posted by bongo_x at 8:56 AM on December 13, 2012


The ad that stuck out most to me, in terms of amusement was the Brad Pitt Chanel No. 5 ad, on account it looks, sounds, and feels like a scene from "Sons Of Anarchy".
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:45 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brad Pitt is utterly confused.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:27 PM on December 13, 2012


My cousin is their freelance graphic designer, I'll have to ask him about this.
posted by Mick at 4:55 PM on December 13, 2012


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