Monday, March 15, 2010

BFs Vs. the Third R

This Norwegian social marketing ad (via Ads of The World) about proper recycling procedures is pretty amusing on first viewing:

But then, of course, the whole "double standard" thing ran through my brain. Can you imagine this ad with the gender roles reversed? With a man handling a woman like that, and discarding her when she's "used up"? It would be torch and pitchfork time in Oslo.

But you wouldn't see that version of the ad, because the fact is it's still okay to pick on "the man". Even in the modern Western World, there is enough perceived power disparity between man and women that men are expected to be able to take a little satirical abuse. Hence all the dufus husbands and boyfriends that are a staple of advertising aimed at adult women.

What do you think? Harmless fun, or sexism against men? Or both?

UPDATE: Adfreak's post of their take of this ad on Facebook provoked one fan to offer a link to this Czech ad that does, in fact, switch the gender roles in a similar situation (but much less violent):


  1. Each advertisement cleverly appeals to its target audience. Non-targeted audiences are not a concern.

    It'd be like my mother complaining about a sexy letter from my lover, which was never intended for mother to read.

    Sexism sells. It's the new trend, ever since women started having a good time male bashing. When they realized it was fun, the men kept quiet for a while and now that sexism creeps back. We're both slinging a little mud, but only under the premise that the message is between us girls/guys.

    IOW, it's not a message for you!

  2. Hi Anon. Thanks for commenting. Although I have to disagree with your statement "non-targeted audiences are not a concern".

    If this was deeply offensive to the average man, I think that would be a concern. I don't think it is, but the way people share funny, shocking or "WTF" ads now, I don't think there's such a thing as "between us girls/guys".

    You have to assume that anyone can see everything, and manage your (and your client's) expectations accordingly.