Thursday, January 15, 2015

Using tired "beer goggles" clichés to sell taxi service

Via Daily Mail 

You know, we advertising practitioners really should adopt something like the popular conception of the Hippocratic Oath, starting with the words, "First, do no harm."

We're here to represent our clients, but we are also contributing to the language and imagery of popular culture and media. When we create something that gets attention by promoting stereotypes — or worse — unearned scorn towards our fellow humans, then we are being irresponsible.

Via Daily Mail 

These bar ads, by West Quay Cars taxi company of Southampton, UK, are an example of this. They use the hackneyed old idea of beer goggles to imply that this large woman and tacky man are unworthy of love.

Note the difference. The man is a cartoonish stereotype of a disco-era lounge lizard. The woman, on the other hand, is mostly implied to be unattractive because she is fat.

The Southampton University Feminist Society wrote an open letter to the advertiser, stating:
This advert is a form of body policing and an example of fatphobia. It is making fun of someone because of the way they look. This objectifying, judging lens is something we are well aware of in the media, for both genders, but especially for women. Therefore seeing the female version of this advert by itself, as it first was, some members branded it sexist. It was only later that the male version was posted. Members immediately voiced their dislike of the male version also, noting again that it was an unacceptable form of body-policing.

The company issued the standard non-apology:
"We apologise for any offence that may have been caused by either of the posters,” manager Lee Haynes told The Tab. 
"We recognised that the campaign may be controversial, but in our opinion, our obligation to try to reduce the amount of lives devastated by drink or drug drivers ever year was overriding. 
"We refute the claim that either our advertising or West Quay cars as a company is sexist or discriminatory in anyway.
They mentioned that 16 of their staff of 22 are women.

I'm sure that some of their best friends are also Black.

Related: The goggles do nothing (


  1. There is also some subtle racism that can be construed with the male poster, as it seems to fall into a over-the-top mock 'latin lover' stereotype.

    That was just my reading though. YMMV.

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