AdAge ran an article about a group of guys called Fathers and Husbands who are fed up with the way men are potrayed in advertising these days. Post Superbowl, the group sent emails to the CEO of Pepsi, BBDO, AdAge and The New York Times complaining about the “balls-banging treatment of Justin Timberlake” in their latest commercial. Bloom puts the smack down:
“Nor was this the first such assault by this gaggle of men who feel the need to defend white men against ads (mostly) by white men that sometimes portray white men as somewhat stupid or incompetent.”
“The fear of offending anyone anywhere at any time has contributed to the mediocrity that is TV advertising today.”
Bloom goes onto point out that:
“…the saddest thing about all this is the time and energy diverted from the more important ways advertising must be held to account. Right now, there are financial institutions with aggressive campaigns pushing credit to consumers whose debt loads are already crushing. Advertisers are spending billions to support an Olympics in a country with an abysmal human-rights record. There are companies with shocking environmental records making claims to environmental friendliness. There is a debate to be had about the merits and pitfalls of advertising drugs directly to consumers.”
Alright Bloomie, this last point is well noted, but there are plenty of consumer groups out their yelling about prescription drugs ads and eco-concerns. Why not champion them instead of wasting pages on these characters? Plus, if this had been a group called Daughters and Wives, we doubt you would come out with such a scathing assessment of consumer concern.
By Bloom’s own admission, this group has very little power considering that they tried unsuccessfully to get Volvo not to hire Arnold Worldwide in a previous campaign. Hunh… that Justin ad is still running, so… why are you spending inches on a group that is ineffective and employs tactics that have been going on for years now? Consider the Parents Television Council, for starters.
Bloomie, you are missing the larger point – yes, it sucks that a comical ad can get people ready for fisticuffs. However, we are now in a world in which consumers have a method in which to make their opinions heard immediately through news outlets (like yours, ours, the NY Times) and we should not deny them that right. It has a good side – brands being forced to be more responsible with their business practices, better customer service, better products, etc. It’s up to marketers/advertisers to hold down the fort when 100 emails come through the gates. Since the dawn of time, every ad has been offensive to somebody. It comes down to communications and CMOs to figure out what is superficial and what is going to bring down their business. Not easy, but necessary. There’s no need to get your feathers in a bunch. Didn’t your grandma ever teach you that everything good, comes with a little bad?
Sorry, but sometimes, we don’t understand editor Jonah Bloom’s columns. We’re often thinking – why did you bother to write this?[source]