Dove ad makes a big before-and-after mistake

 

dove

Image via Sociological Images

Now clearly all the women in this ad from Oprah’s magazine are supposed to be showing off the wonderful “after” effect of using Dove soap. It’s just that the women (who are shaped like actual women – bravo, as usual, to Dove) are arranged by their skin’s melatonin content and therefore seems to say that the woman on the left … Well, you can see it for yourself obviously.

As the great blog Sociological Images notes:

I continue to be puzzled that multinational corporations with resources for large-scale marketing campaigns so often stumble in awkward ways when trying to include a range of racial/ethnic groups in their materials. This seems to occur by not sufficiently taking into account existing or historical cultural representations that may provide a background for the interpretation of images or phrases in the advertising. In this case, the arrangement of the models combined with the text above and below them unfortunately intersects with a cultural history in which White skin was seen as inherently “more beautiful” than non-White skin (not to mention thinner bodies as more beautiful than larger ones).

BTW, have I mentioned what a great blog Sociological Images is, lately? Have I urged you to read it daily, as I do? What’s that? I haven’t? Well, shame on me.

A pictorial guide to why I’m over “Breast Cancer Awareness” marketing

 

A pink oil delivery truck? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? I was driving around Boston the other day and I saw one. Then I Googled it to get a picture and found out it was one of TWO local oil companies doing this. Then my friend Karen sent me a link to the pink recycling can. So I thought I’d put together a pictorial guide to some of the odder pink breast cancer items I could find. VOILA!

Ask yourself a question: Do you know anyone who isn’t aware of breast cancer?

pinktruckoil truck

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From my original post on the topic:

Back in the day – in this case the early ‘90s – I had many friends with HIV and/or AIDS. One of whom, a true gentleman named John Kelley, wore on his jacket a Star Trek badge (right) and a red ribbon which many people were wearing then to show they knew AIDS existed. When asked about this heraldry he would respond, “Because Star Fleet cares about AIDS.” (RIP, dear John.) Which is pretty much where I’m at with all the pink that washes over marketing each October.

Let me make one thing very clear: Like everyone else, I know many people who have had breast (and other types of) cancer. One of those is Mother CollateralDamage. So it will not surprise you to learn that I, like everyone else, don’t like cancer. Now plenty of companies have done a lot to help fund research into preventing breast cancer and to them I say, “You may stop reading now.” The other day the family was driving by the HQ of New Balance sneakers and we noticed a large pink ribbon affixed to the building. Mrs. CollateralDamage: “They’ve earned it.”

But the problem is that many companies are now just slapping pink on the product or advertising and claiming they support “Breast Cancer Awareness.” As a commenter on a wonderful NYT column about Pink Ribbon Fatigue put it, “Buying stuff with pink ribbons will send some money to research and/or outreach, but it hard to tell how much that Yoplait helps. Posting ‘awareness’ status updates on facebook does absolutely nothing – I have yet to meet a person that wasn’t aware of breast cancer’s existence."

Vogue’s hot, new fashion trend: Sexually exploiting children for fun and profit

Here’s what Xeni Jardin said at BoingBoing and I can’t do better (click here if you want to see one of the pictures.):

The December issue of French Vogue, edited by Tom Ford, features an extensive spread of child models presented more or less like whores. The girl above is 6. Lemme spell that for you: s-i-x! I’m a big Tom Ford fan. Or, well, was. Artistic freedom and everything, and no, this shouldn’t be made illegal—but I believe this is Totally Not Cool.

Apparently French Vogue is where they run all the most appalling stuff. They managed to hit #5 on 2009’s list of Top 10 Marketing Blunders with a salute to black-face featuring a photo spread of the very Caucasian Lara Stone painted head-to-toe in dark make-up. Keep up the good work gang! It’s going to take a lot of work to keep them out of 2011’s Top 10.

Why I’m over “Breast Cancer Awareness” marketing

tng-badge10 Back in the day – in this case the early ‘90s – I had many friends with HIV and/or AIDS. One of whom, a true gentleman named John Kelley, wore on his jacket a Star Trek badge (right) and a red ribbon which many people were wearing then to show they knew AIDS existed. When asked about this heraldry he would respond, “Because Star Fleet cares about AIDS.” (RIP, dear John.) Which is pretty much where I’m at with all the pink that washes over marketing each October.

Let me make one thing very clear: Like everyone else, I know many people who have had breast (and other types of) cancer. One of those is Mother CollateralDamage. So it will not surprise you to learn that I, like everyone else, don’t like cancer. Now plenty of companies have done a lot to help fund research into preventing breast cancer and to them I say, “You may stop reading now.” The other day the family was driving by the HQ of New Balance sneakers and we noticed a large pink ribbon affixed to the building. Mrs. CollateralDamage: “They’ve earned it.”

But the problem is that many companies are now just slapping pink on the product or advertising and claiming they support “Breast Cancer Awareness.” As a commenter on a wonderful NYT column about Pink Ribbon Fatigue put it, “Buying stuff with pink ribbons will send some money to research and/or outreach, but it hard to tell how much that yoplait helps. Posting ‘awareness’ status updates on facebook does absolutely nothing – I have yet to meet a person that wasn’t aware of breast cancer’s existence."

pink-your-drink1-250x255 My current favorite bizarro pink item is the Chambord special breast cancer edition liquor bottles. They were brought to my attention via this wonderful blog post at Change.Org by Brie Cadman entitled “Pink Ribbon Hypocrisy: Boozing It Up For Breast Cancer.” Ms. Cadman is understandably irate over companies that contribute to the causes of breast cancer then trying to earn good will via the Big Pink:

The biggest offenders are fast food and alcohol companies. According to the National Cancer Institute, both obesity and alcohol are associated with an increased breast cancer risk. Yet that hasn’t stopped these companies from claiming their goods help support or even prevent the disease. First off is KFC, the company that seems to know no bounds when it comes to using women to sell their products. The last time we checked in with the fried-chicken-slinging folks, they were using college women’s bums to promote their own buns. But they’re also capitalizing on breast cancer by selling pink buckets and donating $0.50 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

While I don’t agree with all Ms. Cadman’s arguments, I think they are part of a much needed dash of reality. Consumers need to be a lot more diligent about what a company means when it says it is “supporting” a charity.

Some parts of this all this pinkosity I enjoy: Like the sight of professional baseball players having to make the Freudian subtext obvious by playing with pink bats. I just wonder how much good this actually does. I would be more impressed if more emphasis was put on helping an actual person cope with cancer treatment. Bring them a meal, if they want one. Hang out after the chemo when they have no energy and feel like crap and don’t want to be alone and are afraid they’re of being a burden to family and friends. Take them to a movie. Be available for middle of the night phone calls. Run errands, etc., etc., etc. Let’s move “cancer awareness” from the generic, wholesale level to a more personal, retail experience. It’s easy to support “people” with cancer, it is much harder to support an actual person.

And remember, Star Fleet cares about people with breast cancer.

Or, to quote DeathStarPR: “Earth, we can help you #beatcancer. Side effects may include loss of: sunsets, life on Earth, Earth itself. Because we care.#deathstarcares

Chevy harkens back to a time when women were things

Chevy stupidity

Chevy used the above last month as a billboard to celebrate last month’s Woodward Dream Cruise classic-car event. But if you missed it you can get your own copy at the company’s online store.

Ah, yes. The good old days. Back before the voting rights act and when you could still legally pay women less for doing the same work. Also, there were more Polack jokes. It’s been so long since I heard one of those. And carmakers didn’t have to add all those pesky (and expensive!) car safety features like … seat belts.

Can I get my money back from GM? And I don’t mean the bailout “repayment” they made by borrowing money from the US government to payback the US government.

Via AdFreak

Abortion foes breathe life into Pro-Choice ad

Abortion is illegal in Poland. To no one’s surprise this doesn’t mean abortions aren’t performed there, it’s just moved them to the back alleys – unless, of course, you’re rich. Or maybe not. A pro-abortion group has been up hanging posters which claim it’s cheaper (and less dangerous) to leave the country than to get one in country. And they did it using the MasterCard “Priceless” trope.

AdPlane ticket to England – 300 zloty. 

Accommodation – 240 zloty.

Abortion in a public clinic – 0 zloty.

Relief after a procedure carried out in decent conditions – priceless.

There’s a line at the bottom which reads: "For everything, you pay less than an underground abortion in Poland." (FYI: $1 = 2.81 zloty)

Some of the Brits have their knickers in a twist and claim this promotes “abortion tourism.” (Headlines like “NOW POLES GET FREE ABORTIONS ON NHS,” make me suspect the press has manufactured at least some of the alleged outrage.)

Several stories from UK news organizations include the following claim (or something much like it): “Thousands of Polish women travel to Britain for an abortion each year, taking advantage of the reciprocal agreement for the provision of free medical care under EU laws.” However the closest any of the reports come to citing the basis for this claim is by identifying it as coming from “A Polish source.

A church publication called The Trumpet says, “A report by the Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning stated that 10,000 Polish women had abortions in Britain in 2007—costing the National Health Service (nhs) between ₤5 and ₤10 million.” Oddly, the most recent report in English on the group’s website is dated 2002. Also it is hard for me to understand why a Polish group in favor of liberalization of the abortion laws would have calculated the cost of all this to the NHS. But what do I know?

Even if somehow these statistics were true, it means 2007 was a banner year. The UK’s Office of National Statistics said only 30 Polish women took this course of action in 2008.

The only truly priceless thing here is the free publicity all this has given to SROM, the group behind the ad. Hard to see how else a bunch of street posters in Lodz would be making international headlines.

Air New Zealand is early leader for worst marketing of 2010

It’s only January 25th but Air New Zealand has already launched and crashed a major marketing campaign.

The campaign was based around the “mating habits” of Kiwi cougars (older women seeking younger men, for those of you lucky enough not to know).

I really, really can’t top the News of Australia’s description:

In the Discovery Channel-style documentary clip complete with David Attenborough-esque voiceover, a so-called cougar is shown "starving itself on sparse vegetation during the day then hunting large slabs of meat at night" by stalking a young man at a bar. Despite the man’s attempts to ward off the woman’s advances, the cougar has "not tasted fresh meat for days" and drags her prey to an inner-city apartment. In the ad, the women, aged in their 30s, 40s and 50s, routinely prey on men in their 20s, many who "pretend to be gay" to avoid them, says the voiceover. The promotion encourages women 35-plus to send in photographs of themselves out on the town with their "cougar mates" to go in the draw for a deal including a flight and ticket to a sporting event.

The campaign was pulled last week after taking heavy fire from rape prevention groups who said it belittled the experience of male rape survivors while at the same time managing to be offensive to women. Now that’s the kind of twofer you don’t see every day!

While these are very good and valid criticisms, there is one question no one is asking: What the BLEEP does this have to do with getting people to buy tickets on your airline?

Air New Zealand claimed it ended the campaign because it had been “overwhelmed” by the number of entries. Right. You’re stopping it because it’s successful. Right. I hope they fly better than they lie.

Via Adfreak

Brand fail? American Apparel employed 1,800 not-so-American workers

AmApAd American Apparel – which runs “the largest garment factory in the United States, at a time when most apparel production has moved offshore” – has been employing 1,800 people “not authorized” to work in the United States.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency found that some 1,600 current employees at American Apparel’s Los Angeles factories appeared to have gained employment due to "suspect and not valid" eligibility documentation.

Perhaps this explains CEO Dov Charney’s support of immigration reform? In fairness to American Apparel, the company gained no financial advantage using the illegal workers. All workers are paid above minimum wage, receive subsidized health care and meals, and can participate in free English classes. The company has also long been on record for complaining how easy it is to fake the papers needed for employment.

Also in fairness, I would be remiss in not mentioning that Mr. Charney has more recently been in the news because he is being sued by Woody Allen over the use of an image from Annie Hall. The irony of these two “personal boundary impaired” men going to court is wonderful. Mr. Allen of course married his step daughter a few years ago. Mr. Charney, whose brand specializes in near-pornographic advertising, is frequently the photographer for these campaigns which use employees as models.

Do not accuse of Mr. Charney of asking more of his employees than of himself, let it be noted that Mr. Charney has publicly defended his practice of walking around his company wearing only American Apparel-made underwear. "There is no evidence to say that you can’t walk around in your underwear all day anywhere in the United States of America."

Given all that you may not find it surprising that Mr. C has been the subject of four sexual-harassment lawsuits brought by former employees, though none have been proved in court. This however is surprising: “In 2004, an article in the now defunct US women’s magazine Jane accused Mr Charney of masturbating in front of the reporter. He never denied the allegation, saying it was consensual.

The ultimate in targeting the women’s market: The Hello Kitty AK-47

This puts that pink shotgun all to shame. Does HelloKittyHell* have one of these?

Hello Kitty AK

GlamGuns is the best satire site I’ve seen in a long time. Be sure to check out My First Carbine.

glamgunsLadies! Has your daughter succumbed to societal brainwashing? Does she refuse toy soldiers for Barbie and pass up BB guns for My Little Pony or Hello Kitty items? Have you despaired of interesting her in the practical aspects of life, such as weaponry and self-defense?

If so, this site is for YOU!

At GlamGuns.com, we’ve combined the girliness of glamor with the practicality of military expertise and have created a collection that will make your child shriek with joy! From the My Little M4 Carbine to the Hello Kitty “HK-AK-47”, you’ll find something for the little girl in everyone!

And we haven’t forgotten the Moms!

From the rocket launcher inspired by Mother Theresa to the Martha Stewart colors Claymore mines, the Glambo Signature Collection has something for you as well!

Hmmm, SSG Big Brother Collateral Damage is having a birthday this week… hmmm…

*Not only does HelloKittyHell have it, they have the whole freakin’ Hello Kitty arsenal.

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