NBC pulls slasher parody ad.
September 20, 2000 11:00 AM   Subscribe

NBC pulls slasher parody ad. Could someone please explain to me how this ad encourages violence towards women?
posted by Awol (35 comments total)
i can see it now - in two days we'll see a headline about the Lance Armstrong Nike ad reading "NBC pulls elephant parody add - issues raised about the political correctness of bestiality jokes."

posted by tatochip at 11:13 AM on September 20, 2000

Yeah, I have a hard time seeing anything wrong with the commercial as it relates to violence towards women. But I'll tell you, I was watching the Olympics with my 4 and 2 year old kids, and I really didn't appreciate that ad coming on. I don't want my 4 year old son to have the image of a masked figure chasing a woman with a chain saw in his head, and I sure wasn't expecting for him to be exposed to it while we were watching the Chinese Men's Gymnastics Team ABSOLUTELY MURDER THE REST OF THE FIELD!!!!!!

Seriously though, the ad shouldn't have been shown during the olympics.
posted by ericost at 11:27 AM on September 20, 2000

It's not clear from NBC's response whether people are objecting to it on the basis of the perennial "violence against women" thing, or because as eric says, it's a little gamy for primetime when kids would be watching...
posted by m.polo at 11:30 AM on September 20, 2000

well.... Imagine instead of a masked figure with a chainsaw, it was three fine southern gentlemen(white southerngentlemen). and instead of a woman it was an african american possibly with a chain around his ankle fleeing through the woods. the white gentlemen have guns and a pack of hounds as well...

Imagine a small family running through the woods... each has a star of david sewn onto thier shirt... imagine they are being chased by several darkly clad figures speaking german.

and even with the same result, the jewish family escapes, giving the gestapo the finger. the black man chuckles as he sees the overweight white slave owners gasping for breath.

the good guy still wins. but would these be good ads?

less than 10 years ago the general population still thought it wasnt a bad idea to massacre naked women in the woods for a good chuckle and scary night at the movies.

you will saying I'm pushing it, but why do we need an ad (supposed to be a funny ad) that recreates the fear many women(many PEOPLE) have experience. so she wins in the ad... so what. in REAL life she probably wouldn't. in real life the black man was caught, and the jewish family ended up in a concentration camp.

ps. I really like this blog. this is my first post ever. but I've been reading for quite some time now. I hope you don't think my post is too extreme.

posted by darkpony at 11:51 AM on September 20, 2000

I thought it was over-the-top in the same vein as the "Y2K" ad, where the guy is running as society collapses around him, fistfights break out, missiles fly aimlessly overhead, and giraffes march down Main Street.

When Scream n is a top-selling movie series that makes the same kinds of jokes, this seems a bit specious. On the other hand, the people that go see those movies weren't forced to see them, but TV viewers had no choice.
posted by dhartung at 12:39 PM on September 20, 2000

I can't see how it encourages violence towards women, but it is in bad taste for a general audience.
I don't think it's the commercial that's the problem -- it's the air time. If they'd put this on during The Tonight Show instead, people may have found it clever instead of offensive.
posted by astrogirl at 12:59 PM on September 20, 2000

He had a chainsaw in his head??? Cool! And all this time I thought the US Olympics Broadcast was supposed to be lame!

What I'd like to see is a followup ad (run, perhaps, during X-Games broadcasts) where A hatchet Wielding maniac bursts through the studio door and chops up Bob Costas while the women's gymnastics team springs gracefully to safety. That, or a naked version of the track-and-field events. I'd really like to see that. I mean, if everyone was naked, then there would be nobody to do endorsement deals, right? That way, it'd stop being all commercial and junk and get back to being about the competition. Well, the competition and naked athletic bodies pounding their way down the track, the sweat glistening on their hardened bodies as they edged ever closer to the euphoria of absolute physical abandon ...

... uh...

sorry. What were we talking about? Oh yeah, children shouldn't watch the Olympics! They're much to young to realize that normal people can't just go running and jumping around - it just isn't safe!!! I mean, if I had a kid, I wouldn't want him watching the olympics and then thinking he could just run down the sidewalk, leap into the air, and do all sorts of straddly-flippy things on random pommel-horse shaped objects, he could be crippled!
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 2:59 PM on September 20, 2000

left-angle-bracket sigh right-angle-bracket

[ Matt? Are we *ever* gonna get the parsing crap right? ]

The only thing wrong with this ad is the stupidity of the people complaining. Sorry; I don't even exempt the "but my kids saw it" group: explain it to your children; then perhaps they'll grow up with a more balanced perspective on things.

The entire point of raising kids is to teach them about the world... you can't do that if they can't *see* the world through those blinders you're holding over their eyes.

Raise Your Damn Kids.
posted by baylink at 4:42 PM on September 20, 2000

The ad is only "funny" if you understand and appreciate the fact that's a slasher-movie parody.

But what if you *don't* get it? Then it's a commercial about a guy trying to chainsaw a woman... not funny at all. Darkpony has a great point: would Nike run an ad with Carl Lewis being chased by a chain-dragging pickup full of bubbas? No. Why not?

Would they run a sequel ad showing what happens to women who *don't* wear their shoes? No. Why not?

> The entire point of raising kids is to teach them about the world...
> you can't do that if they can't *see* the world through those
> blinders you're holding over their eyes.

It's always easy to say stuff like that when you don't actually have to do it. Yes, one part of raising kids is teaching them about the world (no, it's not the *entire* point). But there is a time and place for everything. Generally, the rape-mutilation-torture discussions are best left for older kids. 2- and 4-year-olds have no need for that. In fact, I think it's best to shield them all sorts of violence -- cartoon, tv, real-life, domestic, whatever. We did that with our children and they growing up to be really sweet, kind-hearted individuals. If their lack of violent tendencies means they're unbalanced, then so be it. If they're a little bit naive, then that's ok too.

> explain it to your children

Umm, speaking of naive... Yeah, sometimes kids listen to explanations. Heck, sometimes they even understand them. But mostly children learn by example. Certainly rational explanations don't prevent nightmares.

In any case, I do honestly wonder why Nike would want chainsaw terror associated with their brand. The sport jock image was just fine.
posted by mab at 6:08 PM on September 20, 2000

In any case, I do honestly wonder why Nike would want chainsaw terror associated with their brand. The sport jock image was just fine.

In their next ad, Nike should push the envelope even further by showing footage of labor conditions in their shoe factories in Indonesia. Now that would be really scary!
posted by johnb at 12:44 AM on September 21, 2000

Yeah, sometimes kids listen to explanations. Heck, sometimes they even understand them. But mostly children learn by example. Certainly rational explanations don't prevent nightmares.

So the world should avoid any images that might give your children nightmares? How do you ever take them out of the house?

I wonder if the Care Bears are available for a Nike endorsement deal.

posted by Sapphireblue at 6:28 AM on September 21, 2000

Good lord, I thought it was the funniest commercial I'd seen since the TiVo ad with the bumbling cop.

...Then again, by the arguments against this Nike ad, if kids watch a commercial with a bumbling cop, they'll get the idea that ALL cops are bumbling, therefore TiVo should yank the ad. Right? Right??

I guess I'm really surprised at the adverse reaction. I can't believe anyone over the age of 14 wouldn't associate it with Jason from the Friday the Thirteenth flicks... granted, that was 80s horror schlock, but still. It's certainly no more tasteless than those Reebok Finish Line ads aired during Survivor's run with the guys drinking their own urine or getting poison ivy on their ass or sucking snakebites. Ugh.

Advocating violence towards women? Because we have so many problems with mask-wearing chainsaw-wielding murderous maniacs running about? What Wes Craven fantasy world do these people live in?
posted by evixir at 7:44 AM on September 21, 2000

Why do people need some high-minded explanation to complain about this ad? They're free to say, "This is unpleasant; I don't want to watch it. If I wanted a tasteless slasher parody, I'd rent Scary Movie instead of watching the Olympics."

And if enough people say that, it's sensible for Nike or NBC to pull the ad.
posted by straight at 8:54 AM on September 21, 2000

If you can't understand why a parent would not want a 4 year old to see that commercial, I imagine you're not a parent.

It is not about fooling your children, not about tricking them into some sanitized view of the world. It is about protecting them when they are young so they are better equipped to deal with the world as it is when they mature. Putting frightening images of chain saw wielding maniacs into my son's head is not going to make him a more mature, balanced person.

I am amazed by the arrogant posturing of some of you who think you know what is best for other people's kids. You must have watched too much TV when you were young.
posted by ericost at 9:01 AM on September 21, 2000

> So the world should avoid any images that might give your
> children nightmares?

No, the point is that there's a lot more to teaching kids to cope with the world than just explaining things. It's really more about character-building, which takes time.

But yes, as a parent I have to always be aware of what kinds of things are getting into my kids' heads. Although part of parenting is exposing kids to the world, it's just as much about protecting them from it. And that's my responsibility, not the world's.

> How do you ever take them out of the house?

Interestingly, we have to worry about what comes *in* to the house (through tv and videos mainly) much more than what the kids might see when we're out running errands or going to the park.

> Care Bears

Believe it or not, there's an age when a child's whole world is stuff like Care Bears and fluffy bunnies. Innocence is ok. Beautiful, even.

posted by mab at 9:10 AM on September 21, 2000

As a new Dad, stuff like this is just popping up on my radar. I guess the most objectionable bit about the ad to me was its placement. I found the ad to be funny, but was surprised that it would be placed amidst all the fluff & Norman Rockwell imagery that Coca-Cola, NBC and other sponsors seemed to be using. It seemed more like an inappropriate placement (family-oriented programming) than a poor ad.

Now - as to whether the Olympics are or should be classified as "Family-oriented" is anyone's guess, it just seems that NBC has decided it should be a lot more like the "Today Show" than anything you'd see on ESPN.
posted by kokogiak at 10:00 AM on September 21, 2000

I, as a chainsaw owner, feel particularly offended by the representation of chainsaw wielders as unfit and slow.


sigh. perhaps I'm too flippant about stuff like this, but maybe it's only in a world so @#^%! as this that we always want to place the blame on the media, instead of each and every one of us being responsible for our own actions. on the same note, perhaps Nike should've just stuck this as a precursor to some slasher flick in the theaters, I s'pose that have been more appropo.

just this morning I was listening to a boy who has recurring nightmare about Rosie O'Donnell eating him alive. we should all lobby against her then, too.

p.s. just in case anyone wonders, I don't really own a chainsaw
posted by SentientAI at 10:14 AM on September 21, 2000

Oh man, now *I* am going to have nightmares about Rosie O'Donnell and her cannibalistic ways. You can just rock me to sleep tonight, AI!
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 10:29 AM on September 21, 2000

No! No! Innocence is bad! The world is a vampire!


If you don't want your kids seeing things you can't control, turn off the television. And before anyone gets up on his or her parental soapbox to tell me that *obviously* I *don't* understand, please consider that I didn't invent the system whereby for the privilege of your free teevee channels, what you're exchanging is some control over what passes before your eyes. It was in the news a while back that last year, there were more ad minutes per hour on the big US networks than ever before. That's how it is. If you object to that you can make sure they watch nothing but children's educational programs, which are required by law for licensed broadcasters and otherwise regulated to hell and gone already. Or go rent kiddie movies. If you know what's playing in the VCR you don't have to sit at attention with the remote in case the orgasmic-shampoo ad comes on ("mommy, why is that lady rubbing her hair all over herself and moaning?"). But a lot of people who watch TV and a lot of people who make buying decisions based on advertising are grownups, and while I'm here stomping insensitively all over the hallowed institution of parenting, I might as well go all out and say that I am tired of the notion that everything that comes across the television screen needs to be suitable to four-year-olds.

There is a lot worse out there than this ad, and this ad wouldn't even be *possible* if back before you all were saints^H^H^H^H^H^Hparents, you hadn't wasted all that money on sequels to "Friday the 13th"---because the commercials made 'em look soooo cool.

I'm not objecting to parents' trying to raise their kids to be untroubled and carefree younguns; obviously that's as it should be. I'm objecting to the absolute randomness with which the Collective Voice of Parenthood selects the targets of its outrage. This commercial was a fresh and clever spin on a tired and tawdry theme, and although it's clearly more suited to adults than to children, the same can be said for much of television, and the media, and the world, and life.

... insensitive AND wordy. oh, I am in for it now :>
posted by Sapphireblue at 11:33 AM on September 21, 2000

posted by thirteen at 11:39 AM on September 21, 2000

As a child my bedtime was 8 pm until maybe the third grade, which is what, 8 years old? By which time I was fully aware of the Friday the 13th movies, though never allowed to see them, and had been hearing campfire ghost stories for some time. The Olympic coverage starts at 8pm, and the only times I saw this ad before it was pulled was during that primetime coverage.

Maybe it was on earlier, I could never vouch either way. But Olympics or not, if your 3 or 4 or 5 year old is up at nine o' clock and watching television, that's your problem, not NBC's. Now obviously NBC felt swayed enough by public opinion to pull the ad, so any debate is purely academic, but it seems to me that the imagery of the ad was no worse than one hiker fellating another, or the latest BMW doing 80 mph on a wet road, or Al Roker's maw inviting to watch tomorrow's morning show with his evil big teeth and jiggling jowls just waiting to take a hunk out of my back.
posted by Awol at 11:41 AM on September 21, 2000

Okay, little Jimmy. I want to explain to you about that scary advertisement. See, it's a parody of slasher movies. What are slasher movies? Well, those are movies that became popular in the late seventies and continue to be popular today for their wanton violence and murdering of innocent people. The reason why this advertisement is funny is because women make up the bulk of the victims in slasher movies. That all goes back to a history in our society of patriarchy and devaluation of women. We, as a culture, enjoy seeing women scream and run in terror. It's what makes the world go round. Often, we like to see women fleeing naked through the woods while screaming before being cut to little ribbons by an insane man.

What is funny about this commercial and the reason it is a parody is because the woman got away! See, the women never get away because they maybe twist their ankles or fall down or are simply too stupid to get away.

I just wanted to explain that to you so that you would understand.
posted by amanda at 12:20 PM on September 21, 2000

Note: the following in no way declare whether I'm pro or con for Nike commercials. Quite honestly, it's personal preference and some will never agree. What it is, however, is sheer mockery of Amanda's silly post.

Okay, little Jimmy, most of what you see on television, especially that commercial, is not real. People get in costumes, and make believe. It's like when you play cops and robbers with your friends.

These people who are running and jumping and gymnasticking though, they're real. They're people who've worked really really hard to be really really good at running or jumping or gymnasticking, and if you work really really hard, maybe one day you'll be able to do that.

And if you don't want to do that, you can work really really hard at stuff that interests you, and maybe even someday make money doing it! Wouldn't that be fun Jimmy?
posted by cCranium at 1:18 PM on September 21, 2000

Okay little Jimmy, the reason this commercial is supposed to be funny is that it lampoons those old slasher movies where women were helpless victims. You see, in the nike ad, the woman is strong and athletic, and doesn't sit idly by to be victimized by a hostile patriarchy. In a way, little Jimmy, this commercial is a sign. A sign that in the not too distant future the chainsaw wielding maniacs may not all be men, and their helpless, semi-clad victims may not be women. In fact, little Jimmy, it's possible that by the time you have kids of your own, the balance of power between the sexes may not only have equalized, it may have shifted. In the dark, dystopic future presaged by this commercial it may be YOU, little Jimmy, who is the victim. And not just for having wanton premarital sex, either... you see, men have always been the victims in horror movies when they have wanton premarital sex with beautiful women, but in the powerful woman future of the nike commercial, they may be victims *just for being men*... Don't worry though, little Jimmy, daddy has called the bad television station to tell them he doesn't approve of their evil woman-empowering parodies, even when they are shown after good little non-slasher-victim children should be in bed.

Sleep tight, little Jimmy. Don't let the bedbugs bite... and don't let the powerful olympian women cut off your little wee-wee before it even has a chance to mature.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 1:56 PM on September 21, 2000

> If you don't want your kids seeing things you can't control,
> turn off the television.

We do, at least. In this case, NBC decided it would rather have us watch.

> outrage

I guess some people are outraged... probably more so with the folks who say this kind of stuff shouldn't be on tv at all. I do sympathize with that camp to a degree. But my feeling is that there are plenty who are more matter-of-fact about it: you air this; we won't watch.

> if your 3 or 4 or 5 year old is up at nine o' clock and
> watching television, that's your problem, not NBC's

It's my problem if they see stuff I object to. It's NBC's problem if we turn off the tv because of it. (I hope you realize that the Olympics is a special case...)

The fact that little people can have this kind of power vs. big corporations is a Good Thing.

posted by mab at 3:51 PM on September 21, 2000

Okay little Jimmy, the reason these posts are supposed to be funny is because they're using a cute little literary device I can't remember the name of in which the author is supposed to be addressing a person other than the actual intended audience for his/her words, in this case a (assumedly fictitious) small impressionable child that the author is attempting to explain the ways of the world to in very simple and easy-to-undertand terms, but the author ends up getting caught up in one really long run-on sentence and getting totally off the track of waht he really meant to say, which is, little Jimmy, don't ever touch Daddy's chainsaw, and don't ever tell anybody if you see some weird red stuff stuck to its blade.
posted by wendell at 4:31 PM on September 21, 2000

everyone's better at the Little Jimmy Tales than me.
posted by cCranium at 4:22 AM on September 22, 2000

John: only if you're my running mate. :))
posted by Sapphireblue at 8:40 AM on September 22, 2000

John & Saph: Get a (smoke-filled) room!
posted by harmful at 8:43 AM on September 22, 2000

There's an idea. We can run on an anti-kids, pro-smoking platform. Hey, if Pat Buchanan and his scary running mate have supporters....

harmful, there's a Cabinet post in it for you.
posted by Sapphireblue at 10:15 AM on September 22, 2000

Hey! How about *ME*? I mean, after all, it was *me* who touched off the scandal... don't I get something for my trouble too? :-)

Thanks for your thoughts, BTW, Saph; it's nice to know I'm not completely nuts.

And yes, mab, granted the Olympics are a special case... but c'mon; I give children credit for a *lot* of resilience, even at young ages. If *you* don't make a big fuss out of it, they're unlikely to, either, in just lots and lots of cases...
posted by baylink at 1:35 PM on September 22, 2000

Without a doubt the nicest thing that has been said to me all day. I should warn that my closet is bursting with skeletons. We could turn the West Wing on it's side and make it spin like a top. Cool. Here is some pro-smoker propaganda to get us started. I don't smoke, but my dislike of children is legendary.
I think we'd have a pretty good shot, what with all the people who'd pull the Clinton lever out of habit.
posted by thirteen at 2:11 PM on September 22, 2000

ouch, that was bad.

but no lower i guess than it would be to point out that with baylink's reputation for persistent self-promotion, he's perfect for politics...

mommy, why is that lady drifting the topic?
posted by Sapphireblue at 8:00 PM on September 22, 2000

3 times in 6 months is "persistent", Michelle?

And, for that matter; Gordon was "self-promotion"?


Followups to MetaTalk, obviously.
posted by baylink at 10:27 PM on September 22, 2000

"reputation", I said! down boy. it's all good.
posted by Sapphireblue at 9:01 AM on September 23, 2000

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