Did you see the "shiny suds" ad? It was pretty effective at both telling consumers something they didn't know, and going full viral on YouTube.
But according to AdAge, for a few viewers the image of scrubbing bubbles leering at the showering women wasn't really about chemical residue, but something even nastier:
"Little did attendees at the ANA [Association of National Advertisers conference] or most commenters on YouTube and Twitter know, however, that the Shiny Suds were really about degrading women and promoting rape, at least in the opinion of commenters on one blog, Shakesville, which posted the video in its "Today in Rape Culture" section."
Here's one of them:
"I have issues with being seen naked. I even have to turn over books or magazines that have pictures of people looking out on them when I'm undressed because I feel like they are staring at me. So, reading the transcript for that last commercial? Freaks me the fuck out. My skin starts crawling again even thinking about it."
In response to "the sensitive nature of [concerned viewers'] concerns", the advertiser, Method home care and personal care products pulled the official online placement of the ad. But, of course, copies live on forever.
So, what do you think? In my opinion, there was no ill intent in the spot. It fit within Method's cheeky brand, which speaks to "people against dirty", and the perverted bubbles were obviously meant to make people think about the nasty stuff they share their showers with — after using mainstream competitors' cleaning products. It's over the top, for sure, and the woman does look victimized. But this is cause marketing (in support of the Household Product Labeling Act of 2009) — and while self-serving for Method, touches on an important issue of home health.
Maybe the lesson here for advertisers is just to realize that everything out there will be deconstructed to the Nth degree. The shakespearessister online community's reaction to this ad was oddly paralleled by a post on Brand Freak where a poorly-executed Swiss Chalet Xmas commercial that concluded: "The girl seems depressed, and it's heart-wrenching to contemplate what kept them apart so long and why they're so tentative around each other. Did he molest her? Was it divorce? Did the mother die? This is a lot to consider in a 30-second ad."
Some ads just bring out people's inner demons, I guess. But this is a lot to consider in a Friday blog.