Love (of ice cream) knows no gender
May 30, 2015 6:32 PM   Subscribe

The Magnum ice cream company has launched the Be True To Your Pleasure campaign, featuring gender-nonconforming individuals (referred to in marketing materials as "drag queens") as glamorous spokesmodels.

The original ad features the kind of glossy, stylish cinematography you'd expect in a high-end perfume commercial, including slow-motion shots of the models sensuously nibbling the company's ice cream bars, while follow-up clips feature the models (Gregory, James and Blake) talking about gender and what it means to them.

"These films celebrate the spontaneity and joy of letting go," the company says in its marketing materials. "It means turning off that little voice inside our head that compels us to live up to social expectations and say no to pleasure. It’s about saying yes."

It's too soon to gauge the overall response of the LGBT community and it seems all but inevitable that the ads will cause some controversy, but initial responses have been largely positive.

"It might sound silly," Uwern Jong, CEO of LGBTI marketing and media agency, Boutique Marketing, told Gaystarnews.com, "as far a 'It's only an ice-cream commercial', but it’s actually so much more: to see this is our everyday life and make it 'normal' and to celebrate it – it really changes the way people look at us."
posted by Ursula Hitler (52 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Anything with Willam in it is okay by me.
posted by xingcat at 6:54 PM on May 30, 2015 [7 favorites]


Ice cream is its own spokesmodel.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:06 PM on May 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


Given that the brand name sort of identifies them as size queens, this is sort of an eponhysterical choice.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:15 PM on May 30, 2015 [18 favorites]


clvrmnky: "Given that the brand name sort of identifies them as size queens, this is sort of an eponhysterical choice."

Noice.
posted by Samizdata at 7:32 PM on May 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


The ads for these seen in convenience stores look like ads for condoms.
posted by reiichiroh at 8:00 PM on May 30, 2015


This Video Will Touch Your Heart: Until The World's First Trans Ice Cream Ad, Non-Cis People Could Only Be Monetized In A Creepily Sexualized Way Everywhere Else
posted by threeants at 8:19 PM on May 30, 2015 [27 favorites]


When advertisers show the same sort of ad, but with men presenting themselves as men, let's touch base again. Until then it's just another ad showing people who present as women (not sure if this is the correct language), who are one after another putting a phallic-looking object into their mouths.

But kudos to the company for advancing the conversation because, one way or the other, open communication and honest dialogue is the only way to move forward.
posted by datawrangler at 8:33 PM on May 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


The ads for these seen in convenience stores look like ads for condoms.

The part of the commercial linked above where the model is fellating eating the ice cream bar could have passed for a condom ad, too.

I liked that the ad didn't seem to be playing for shock value, and instead looked to me like straightforward glamour and sex appeal imagery.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:37 PM on May 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


When advertisers show the same sort of ad, but with men presenting themselves as men, let's touch base again

Watch every hotdog ad ever.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:59 PM on May 30, 2015 [4 favorites]




finally, an ice cream product i can purchase and consume to express my alignment with anti-patriarchal ideals
posted by p3on at 9:27 PM on May 30, 2015 [19 favorites]


When advertisers show the same sort of ad, but with men presenting themselves as men, let's touch base again. Until then it's just another ad showing people who present as women (not sure if this is the correct language), who are one after another putting a phallic-looking object into their mouths.


in the interview clips, all 3 models who speak emphasize in their own way how they think of themselves as combining male and female elements or on somewhere in the middle of a spectrum, and how they enjoy that.

Also, the ad agency could have easily gone with choosing transgender models for the ad who all look like very feminine fashion models and they went for a mix instead
posted by Bwithh at 9:44 PM on May 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wait. Isn't drag all about exaggerating feminity while maintaining a male gender? I thought that was what made the difference between drag, female impersonation, and transgender. None of those folks seemed to be drag, but people that were seriously exploring a non-assigned gender role.
posted by Samizdata at 9:51 PM on May 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


Until then it's just another ad showing people who present as women (not sure if this is the correct language), who are one after another putting a phallic-looking object into their mouths.

Would it be better if they used a spoon? An elongated, bulbous-headed instrument ready to unload a deposit of sweet cream upon the user's open mouth?

it's ice cream it goes in your mouth
posted by mikurski at 9:57 PM on May 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am jealous. The lovely people in the ad have ice cream, and I do not.
posted by MissySedai at 10:00 PM on May 30, 2015 [15 favorites]


MissySedai: "I am jealous. The lovely people in the ad have ice cream, and I do not."

Seconded. Only sweets in this house is half a bag of "Old Tyme Mix" candy I was given, left over from Christmas. Okay it was a full bag until about an hour ago....
posted by Samizdata at 10:13 PM on May 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


if it makes you feel any better, the ice cream isn't that great.
posted by NoraReed at 10:31 PM on May 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


What a terrific way to be exploited! Those crazy corporations, advancing the social agenda out of the kindness of their generous hearts! I can't wait to see the next minority act out their vetted, edited, lawyer-approved honest opinionsmarketing sales pitch!

Excuse my cynicism.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:45 PM on May 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


The ad was especially mind-blowing for me, because when I heard it was an ad for "Magnum" I assumed it was for Magnum condoms, so all the stuff with the models sucking chocolate bars seemed like some unabashed blow job imagery. I think I was two or three videos in before I finally figured out that the ice cream bars were there because it was an ad for ice cream bars!

I made this post because it seemed like a really interesting subject, but honestly I'm not sure what the heck to make of the campaign. I can totally see the argument that this is empowering and awesome, and I can also see the argument that it's exploitation. The shots of the models sucking on the ice cream bars did seem over the top, and would have been a little shocking regardless of the models' gender. Yes, these are tasty treats that go in your mouth, but come on. Everything else about the campaign seemed pretty respectful to me, but I think the ice cream sucking complicates things in a bad way.

Of course, even if you think they're exploitative, an argument could be made that it's progress of a sort for drag queens* to be depicted in the same soft-focus, sexed-up terms as genetic female models, that we've finally broken through to mainstream success. Jesus, I can't think about these ads for 45 seconds without changing my mind six times!

(*I am a lot less particular about terms and pronouns than many trans people, but even I get a little dizzy trying to sort out the terms and pronouns here. I'm honestly not sure if these models prefer masculine or feminine pronouns, if they would consider "trans" an acceptable term, etc. I'm calling them drag queens because the marketing materials did and the models presumably signed off on that. Otherwise I have no idea how to refer to them, other than something like "gender-nonconforming models with a conventionally feminine presentation", and that clunks like 76 Gremlin.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:54 AM on May 31, 2015 [19 favorites]


Wait. Isn't drag all about exaggerating feminity while maintaining a male gender? I thought that was what made the difference between drag, female impersonation, and transgender.


Generally when I think of "drag" I think of it as a type of performance, an art form. There are many different kinds of drag - some rely on creating the most convincing illusion of femininity possible, some of which fall along a spectrum of gender presentation. You don't have to look convincingly like a woman - Hell, you don't even have to look convincingly human. "Female impersonation," if I get your drift here, is simply a sub-category of drag.

Trans* is not a performance, it is when a person's gender identity does not align with their sex. It is who they are, not what they do.

That said, many of the drag queens I have encountered have complicated relationships with their own gender. Some ultimately transition, and use drag performance as a way to explore their own identities. So "drag" is a performance, but not all drag performers wash it all off and become cisgendered manly men when they aren't working.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:13 AM on May 31, 2015 [11 favorites]


I made this post because it seemed like a really interesting subject, but honestly I'm not sure what the heck to make of the campaign. I can totally see the argument that this is empowering and awesome, and I can also see the argument that it's exploitation.

Here in France the ad showing in movie theatres is for Magnum Pink & Black (I actually had to look that up, in spite of seeing the ad the three times I've gone to see "Mad Max: Fury Road" god i love that movie, largely because I know the ice cream is crap). This is the ad.

Background: it's a running joke for me to point out that every single goddamned car ad shown in cinemas is of a hetero dude snagging a woman, and obviously he's the one driving the car, her doe-eyed gaze unable to leave his face as he watches the road.

This ad? The "protagonist" woman is turned on by... another woman. Driving a hot car. And when they drive off, they're both looking at the road. And it's presented as normal. You watch it and you get something of why they're together, even though it's a second or two. All in their attitudes.

Stunned speechless, I was.
posted by fraula at 1:55 AM on May 31, 2015 [6 favorites]


It really does need to be a good ad because the choc ice is horrible
posted by glasseyes at 3:38 AM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Are Magnums different in the US? Because the ones I've had here are divine and sucking them off is totally appropriate regardless of gender because they are sex on a stick.
posted by billiebee at 5:17 AM on May 31, 2015 [10 favorites]


Of course, even if you think they're exploitative, an argument could be made that it's progress of a sort for drag queens* to be depicted in the same soft-focus, sexed-up terms as genetic female models, that we've finally broken through to mainstream success.

I'm actually more put off by the Huffington Post covering this than I am by the marketing campaign. I'm not exactly thrilled with the ad (disclaimer: I only watched 30 seconds), but the idea that this might appear on my Facebook feed (and that of however many other people) courtesy of the Huffington Post trumpeting "progress" is leading me to be increasingly worked up as I write this comment.

(Yes, my ire is directed at HuffPo and not Gay Star News. Gay Star News is writing for a gay audience. The Huffington Post, even on a page called "Gay Voices", is not. They're writing for mass Facebook shareability.)
posted by hoyland at 5:33 AM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Magnums in Australia are pretty nice, better than Dove bars.
posted by gingerest at 5:40 AM on May 31, 2015


Ohhhh. I saw one of these ads on a bus stop in Madrid the other week, but all it was was a photo of a chocolate covered ice cream pop stuck in the back of a torso-lacking person's jeans pocket, plus the text "Magnum: claim your pleasure" (or similar) in Spanish.

So I assumed it was a weird ad for condoms.
posted by deludingmyself at 7:13 AM on May 31, 2015


I liked that the ad didn't seem to be playing for shock value, and instead looked to me like straightforward glamour and sex appeal imagery.
I was pretty relieved when there wasn't a punchline.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:17 AM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I see I'm on metafilter. I can tell by the cynicism.

And I certainly understand. Corporate use of any given cultural phenomenon that's outside of the mainstream makes me feel a little icky and part of a demo.

On the other hand, the fact is, we have work to do. It doesn't mean we've arrived. I'm not trans, but I don't consider myself completely cis. I exist as cis - I retain all my cis privilege. But like - if you look at my profile it's "mostly male with certain feminine qualities", and for a while my LJ user subtag was "Mama Bear".

So I appreciate this. Making an ad campaign is part of a normalization process. If someone makes an ad campaign and it's honest (as this seems to be, I mean - it's not played for laughs, and it's talking to actual people who don't feel gender-conforming (as opposed to talking about them), and letting them speak their mind) then I say sure, it's an ad, and it's also a small PSA.

What I like is that they ARE talking about gender non-conformity and a spectrum, they are neither making it just about "drag queens" or even trans folk. And both groups of people are 100% legitimate, but, just like bisexuality, which opens up the idea we can have a sexuality that is not dualistic, here we're opening up the idea that we can move beyond duality when it comes to gender identity and expression - frankly, that's more bold than it appears on the surface, IMO.

I think the future is going to be open with regards to gender expression and sexual orientation. The fact that we're seeing this is a social signifier that in some small way, we are moving the goalposts. There will certainly be reactionaries and moves against it, as there always is, and just like Homophobic Chikn, there will be other corps who push the opposite message, the fact the message is being said IS a good thing. Or would you rather we all pretend that this doesn't exist and that we must live in a dualistic gendered world?

The perfect is the enemy of the good, and all that.

Also? Yeah - what's up - is Magnum in other countries not as good as the US, because HOLY GOD DO I LOVE MAGNUM CHOCOLATE. Or maybe chocolate ice cream in other countries is so mindblowingly amazing that even Magnum, which is pretty damn good - sucks in comparison (in the same way that Hersheys sucks, for example).
posted by symbioid at 8:13 AM on May 31, 2015 [7 favorites]


Just wanted to note that at this time "trans" without the star is generally thought to be more respectful of all the different kinds of trans folks in the umbrella of gender non-conformity.

This is highly, highly context- and community-dependent. The exact opposite is true (I.e. star to signal explicit inclusion, no star a toss up) in some places.
posted by hoyland at 8:51 AM on May 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


Anyway, I've given up and read star and no-star the same.
posted by hoyland at 8:58 AM on May 31, 2015


I'm not trans, but I don't consider myself completely cis.

Look, symboid, I'm sorry that you're the person I'm boiling over on this one at, but someone says something to this effect in a good two thirds of threads where it might make sense and it inevitably reads as "I'm a bit gender non-conforming and can't accept that I receive cis privilege."
posted by hoyland at 10:24 AM on May 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


But symboid said "I exist as cis - I retain all my cis privilege."
posted by billiebee at 10:46 AM on May 31, 2015 [5 favorites]


louche mustachio: "Wait. Isn't drag all about exaggerating feminity while maintaining a male gender? I thought that was what made the difference between drag, female impersonation, and transgender.


Generally when I think of "drag" I think of it as a type of performance, an art form. There are many different kinds of drag - some rely on creating the most convincing illusion of femininity possible, some of which fall along a spectrum of gender presentation. You don't have to look convincingly like a woman - Hell, you don't even have to look convincingly human. "Female impersonation," if I get your drift here, is simply a sub-category of drag.

Trans* is not a performance, it is when a person's gender identity does not align with their sex. It is who they are, not what they do.

That said, many of the drag queens I have encountered have complicated relationships with their own gender. Some ultimately transition, and use drag performance as a way to explore their own identities. So "drag" is a performance, but not all drag performers wash it all off and become cisgendered manly men when they aren't working.
"

Wow. You SO explained the distinction I was trying to make better than I did. I mean, I grok trans better than a lot (having a trans ex I am still good friends with), but I just couldn't make my point very clearly. Cheers!
posted by Samizdata at 11:06 AM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, hooray for queening the culture by putting drag queens* in an ad.

On the other hand, when I think "Magnum" in terms of brands I really just get "condoms". Which makes this ad pretty befuddling what with it never saying "ice cream", the fact that the ice cream thing is rather longer than its wide, and gets a lot of sensuous sucking, makes it look like an ad for condoms to me. Which feels pretty fucking uncomfortable.

* or whatever term they may prefer, hell if I know any more, I barely know what word is acceptable to describe myself these days and I'm a transwoman. Maybe I'll just start using Spivak pronouns for everyone.
posted by egypturnash at 11:32 AM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, the previously cited bag of hard candy didn't make it past lunch today.

Also, when discussing the ex to other people, I just refer to her as a transgirl (although, truthfully, she's more of a transwoman, but don't let her hear I said that).
posted by Samizdata at 11:37 AM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


if it makes you feel any better, the ice cream isn't that great.

The double caramel pop is pretty damn tasty.
posted by jonmc at 12:04 PM on May 31, 2015


I want to gripe so much about this. I mean, I generally cheer at the slightest suggestion of gender irony, so why do these ads make me sad and grumpy? It's ice cream, and I'm sitting here thinking, what, they couldn't find a single fat drag queen in crappy thrift-store clothes who likes ice cream? Or would that be a punchline to people? Why glamour and thinness, what about those makes drag okay? It sucks because I don't want to take anything away from these very beautiful people and what they're doing, but jesus, it's always beautiful people who get to do everything. Beautiful, young, thin.

So, just to make things fair, there should be an ad campaign for ice cream devoted to gender-nonconforming people who are old and pudgy and generally very bad at portraying any sort of gender! And the ice cream would be gritty and taste like tears.
posted by mittens at 12:31 PM on May 31, 2015 [6 favorites]


I know what you mean, mittens. It has bugged me for a long time that Pretty Makes It OK. (That should be its own page on TV Tropes.) If you're pretty, everybody, probably even your own freaking family, will be much more accepting of your transition. And that's hugely fucked up, really.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:25 PM on May 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


But symboid said "I exist as cis - I retain all my cis privilege."

I did see that. And did also say that I was boiling over on the issue rather than addressing their particular comment (which is why I didn't mention that sentence because I wanted to having a go at them specifically) Unfortunately, mentioning it doesn't mean you're actually acknowledging it.
posted by hoyland at 1:45 PM on May 31, 2015


It's sexy and problematic.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:20 PM on May 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is it me, or did some of those walks look a bit wobbly at the ankles in the beginning of the ad? Is it a prejudice that I would have expected drag queens to be better in heels than that?

Anyway, really I just came in here to say Magnum GOLD?! is the best punctuated ice cream treat I have ever had. (But it's still not as good as the double caramel.)
posted by maryr at 2:44 PM on May 31, 2015


It's sexy and problematic.

Problematic isn't sexy, but, all too often, sexy is problematic.

Is it me, or did some of those walks look a bit wobbly at the ankles in the beginning of the ad?

Now that you mention it they do look a little wobbly. Maybe that comes from being in semi-slow motion, though.

I used to love wearing heels, but I had to give them up because I have a bad back and heels kept giving me back spasms. (But I'm so tall that even without heels I look like I'm wearing 9-inch heels, so there's that.) Anyway, after hearing all the stuff about how high heels were so hard to walk in, I was surprised how quickly I learned to do it. I'd imagine these models have plenty of experience in heels, so yeah, I'd expect drag queens to get along without the wobbles too.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:31 PM on May 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have no idea if this is true, but I think being used to swinging your hips as a natural part of your gait makes wearing heels much easier. So I think they may be legitimately easier for (many but of course not all) women to become accustomed to than (at least some) men.
posted by maryr at 5:33 PM on May 31, 2015


Anyway, I've given up and read star and no-star the same.

It's almost as if, especially given the uncertainty and disputes surrounding terminology, charity is paramount.
posted by kenko at 6:18 PM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think being used to swinging your hips as a natural part of your gait makes wearing heels much easier.

Or is it just that shoe designers think heel-wearers are descended from Deinonychus? TEACH THE CONTROVERSY.
posted by mittens at 6:35 PM on May 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


that dinosaur looks hella pumped about something
posted by NoraReed at 7:29 PM on May 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


Raveosaurus Rex
posted by Dip Flash at 7:53 PM on May 31, 2015


It's a pretty fancy chicken too.
posted by maryr at 9:19 PM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


PS: Thriller is now stuck in your head.
posted by maryr at 9:21 PM on May 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, the ad agency could have easily gone with choosing transgender models for the ad who all look like very feminine fashion models and they went for a mix instead

But then they couldn't score their bold "look at us with our gender-bending!" points. I mean, what would the point of using trans models be if nobody could tell?

/cynical hamburger
posted by Dysk at 5:57 AM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Shopkeeper: [Homer has agreed to purchase a Krusty doll for Bart's birthday] Take this object, but beware it carries a terrible curse!
Homer: Ooh, that's bad.
Shopkeeper: But it comes with a free Magnum bar!
Homer: That's good.
Shopkeeper: The Magnum bar is also cursed.
Homer: That's bad.
Shopkeeper: But you get your choice of toppings.
Homer: That's good!
Shopkeeper: The Magnum bar is enjoyed by gender fluid flamboyant performers.
[Homer looks puzzled]
Shopkeeper: ...That's good.
Homer: Can I go now?
posted by exparrot at 7:22 AM on June 1, 2015




« Older A café setting that makes birds relatable...   |   Beau Biden Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments