I was very happy to see this article in the NY Times over the weekend. Milk bowed to consumer pressure and has pulled the incredibly offensive ‘PMS’ campaign. When the ad first appeared (I was introduced to it by a very upset co-worker) a Twitter storm erupted. I wrote a post about the campaign, below.
I’m still left wondering how the agency thought the campaign was a good idea in the first place. Are the people working at these agencies media-illiterate? The agency folks I’ve worked with would have - for the most part - understood where the line between humour and racism/sexism/insert your own -ism is. It’s their job - they are the media experts. I wouldn’t expect anything less from any other agency.
BTW, the link has been replaced with this: http://gotdiscussion.org, an overview of the discussion that led to the campaign being pulled. Good idea, I thought.
But after I read the comments, etc. I still think they don’t get it. It’s clear they pulled the campaign because it was demeaning to women (yes, it was). It’s also important, I think, to realize that portraying men as self centred, bumbling idiots is also unacceptable. Real equality is just that - equality. The advertising world seems hell bent on putting one sex in a position of power or over the other, be it over-sexualization of women or showing men in a negative light.
Portrayals such as this hurt us all.
A couple of summers ago I was on a road trip with the family through Quebec. In a roadside restaurant between Montreal and Quebec City, I ordered a mojito. A few minutes later the waiter came back explaining that a mojito was not possible because the restaurant was currently out of mango.
Likely something was lost in translation, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t want that mojito anyway.
That said, here’s a great mojito recipe that doesn’t include mango:
Muddle eight to 10 mint leaves with two tablespoons of quick dissolving sugar. Add the juice of one (room temperature) lime. Stir. Stir more, because mojitos shouldn’t be crunchy at the bottom. Add three ounces of white rum.
Strain into two glasses filled with ice. Top off with sparkling water, add a straw and share one with a friend.
Best way to get people to spread what Michael Geist (or any opinion leader) is saying about your business? Send out a media release telling people not to share it. Good luck, Xplornet Communications Inc. *snicker*
If you haven’t read it, here’s Geist’s original post.
I spent a great deal of time thinking about Eska’s Eskan Warrior commercial today and how it has raised the ire of quite a few people. If you haven’t seen the ad or heard about the controversy, check out this video. In short, to promote their water, the ad uses stereotypical images of ‘generic’ Indigenous Peoples.
I’m not going to spend my time explaining why this ad is offensive; Clifton Nicholas does a pretty good job of that in this video. What interests me is the fact that there are now calls to boycott Eska’s products.
This call for a boycott doesn’t exactly sit right with me. Eska hired an agency to produce the ad because, after all, Eska makes bottled water. The people at Eska knew that their skills are in bottling water, not making ads.
Does this absolve Eska of any responsibility for producing what is - let’s face it - a racist ad? Of course not. But the fact that they hired an agency to produce this ad should mean that this doesn’t happen.
Shouldn’t an agency - whose entire existence is built on managing reputations and understanding media - have the knowledge and expertise to help their clients avoid mishaps like this? Shouldn’t a part of their skill set be an understanding of what is acceptable and what is not? I think so.
I say, boycott the agency. They clearly aren’t doing their job.