Monday, December 20, 2010

When it comes to offending people, this ad goes both ways

According to AdFreak, this Publicis Milan ad for the Renault Twingo is under attack for its sexiness, or heterosexism, or both, having managed to get banned by both state TV and Silvio Belusconi's media empire, as well as gay rights groups.

So, what was the issue? We're talking about Italy here, where TV and outdoor ads regularly feature very naked female models. And where people make out (as well as argue) passionately in public, and beaches are topless. And it's a land where Big Man Berlusconi himself is said to pay for all kinds of love.

So what's the big deal? They don't even kiss. If the victim of the bondage carjacking had been a man, it probably would have been seen as a good joke on him (although the perp would not be as nicely dressed for her getaway). By the way, the tagline is "Competition is feminine".

Well, I think Publicis has managed to find a way to outrage Italian social conservatives, by normalizing homosexuality in a mainstream ad, while at the same time exploiting hetero male fantasies about gay women in a way that pisses them off too.

It's like the worst of both worlds, embracing the softcore porn ethos of "Yeah, we're cool with the whole gay thing, as long as it's two hot women getting it on while we watch!"

And that's also why this saucy commercial will ultimately be a success. With young, heterosexual men.

But will they want to buy a pink Twingo?

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