It's not just dudes in the Chicago ad scene. But promos for the city's American Advertising Awards show, happening next Wednesday, certainly seem to think everyone has a penis.
"Who measured up?" says the headline on the ad below, as we see men and women all lined up at urinals. See, they're all sneaking a peek at each other's privates—a metaphor for gauging each other's creative worth as though it were their penis size.
In an industry with a famous lack of female creative directors, you'd have to expect some backlash against something like this. And indeed, a number of women have complained on Twitter that the campaign is disrespectful.
— Jean Batthany (@jeanbatthany) February 28, 2015
— Alma Klein (@AlmaLKlein) March 4, 2015
Copywriter Susan Morris wrote a scathing blog post about the campaign that's been circulating in the community. "The Chicago Advertising Federation is one of America's oldest and largest ad organizations," she writes. "On its Board of Directors, 12 men and 16 women. Apparently all of them think this ad is funny. I don't."
We reached out to the Chicago Ad Federation, whose executive director, Patrick Farrey, strongly defended the campaign.
"Great advertising is almost always risk-taking, if not occasionally irreverent," he tells us in a statement. "There is no doubt that the promotional campaign for the 2015 CAF American Advertising Awards competition pushed the envelope. Our intent was not to offend anyone, but rather to inspire the Chicago ad community to submit their best work into our long-standing, highly respected competition."
He adds: "This campaign did exactly what good advertising is supposed to do—get noticed, start a dialogue, raise awareness and generate sales. The Chicago Advertising Federation received a record number of competition entries this year!"
What's your take on the campaign? Does it actually measure up?
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