Breast Ad Controversy

Breastad072505Ok – I promise in my next post about an ad campaign I’m going to say something positive. Really. I mean it. The moniker “Nancy Negative” simply doesn’t fit well with me. But some of this is just too good. I mean….you just can’t make this stuff up. 

So who’s the offender this time? Some good old boy investment firm? Another fast food restaurant? A motorcycle ad? Nope – this week’s offender is – Advertising Week. No kiddin. The offensive ad? The advertisement they ran to attract attendees to “Advertising Week” an annual advertising conference that attracts over 40,000 industry people from all over the world. Read the full article.

Advertising Week, an organization that aims to improve the image of the advertising business, has promoted itself with an ad deemed so “sexist,” “moronic” and “tired” that many felt it actually tarnished the industry’s reputation.

The ad, which was created pro bono by Omnicom Group’s DDB Worldwide, New York to getpeople to attend the event, and appeared in the July 18 issue of Advertising Age, featured a tightly cropped shot of a woman’s chest in a black bustier. Positioned directly beneath the women’s bust are the words: “Advertising: We All Do It.”

Ok – my biggest complaint here is – I don’t get it. “We all do it”-  are they trying to say “Sex – we all do it” “Staring at women’s chests – we all do it” I think the biggest problem is the message just isn’t clear. There are, of course, two problems here. (sorry – that was bad. descending to their level) The second one being – yes – this ad is going to be offensive to a lot of women. Not all – but definitely many. The article quoted top female ad execs, some who were majorly pissed, and others who were ok with it.

But I must say, my favorite quote came from Jennifer L. Pozner, director of Women In Media & News. Who said

“This sexism isn’t new, but shouldn’t national advertising conferences be celebrating creativity, rather than tired boob jokes?”

You go girl!

Why guys still find boob jokes funny is completely beyond me. It reminds me of my days as a radio creative director.  We had a grunge rock station that had every strip club in town advertising. Being the only copywriter- yours truly had to write all the strip club ads. A male colleague suggested we write an ad with nothing but euphemisms for women’s breasts. “Yeah” I thought. “And what do we do for the other 55 seconds.” But this guy was resourceful. After polling every male in the station from the GM to the UPS delivery guy he came up with 27 different terms.

I just don’t get it. Guess it’s a guy thing – fine for strip clubs, but not the best choice for a national advertising conference.

This entry was posted in Stereotypes of women in the media, What Were They Thinking. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Breast Ad Controversy

  1. Mary Schmidt says:

    I just sighed and rolled my eyes when I saw this one. It’s sooo tired. It’s not the sexism or the breasts – it’s the lack of creativity. Oh-hum.
    And, yes, we have to chalk it up to a “guy thing.” I once asked a boyfriend what the tongue-lolling, drooling fascination was with huge obviously fake breasts (that I’ve been told are also unpleasant to the touch)…he said, “it’s all the visuals.”

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  8. Yeah, boob jokes definitely don’t cater to everyone. I think they should have been more sensitive with the ad, considering that women may feel somehow harassed by it.

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