The era of Mad-Men advertising is officially over. The hit TV show captured the industry at a time when adverts were made by men for men, where images of chaps coming home from work to a slaved-over supper from their stay at home wife were a mainstay.
That is of course changing, so much so, in fact, that now men are kicking up a fuss at their being objectified on billboards and screens. A TV advert for fashion house Paco Rabanne’s new fragrance has just been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority – despite 120 complaints that its male protagonist was the victim of sexism.
The spornosexualised Adonis is seen undressing in front of a one-way bathroom mirror, while a collection of women are seen trying to claw through the glass from the other side – presumably to devour him like something from the Serengeti.
If the women of the Paco Rabanne ad are looking for some other screen totty to get hot under the collar about, here are other offending ads in which blokes are the subject of objectification in adverts…*ahem* my eyes are up here – with a light sprinkling of the dozy dad stereotype just for good measure.
Diet Coke ‘Mowing the lawn’
There was even a debate on blogging forum Mumsnet over whether this 2013 advert from Diet Coke objectified men, as a man mowing the lawn takes off his flimsy shirt before downing a bottle of the product he is advertising in front of a group of flustered women. Without reading too much into it, we’re pretty certain those ladies aren’t admiring his fine horticultural skills.
Zesty salad dressing
Commentators have called this objectification of men to sell products ‘hunkvertising’, and if an Italian man getting steamy over a pile of sausages is what it takes you to buy salad dressing then so be it. Maybe.
Old Spice ‘Nightclub’
Ok, so our chat-up lines might be getting a bit stale, but calling us brainless robots is a little unfair. “I love roller-blading and pepperoni pizza,” says the robotic man, just before his face falls off. I may hold onto that line for Tinder.
Bulk Powders ‘Reveal Yourself’
This advert by health supplementation retailer Bulk Powders was devised to promote body positivity, and the well kept gentlemen in the advert certainly seemed to have brightened a few people’s morning underground commutes. Parallels were drawn between the advert and that of Protein World’s campaign the same year. That advert of a female model in a bikini with the question “are you beach-body ready?” drew 400 complaints, and some men wondered whether there were double standards at play.
Dorito ‘Time Machine’
According to this advert, middle aged men are such dunderheads that they’d be easily duped by a small child into believing a cardboard box can take them into another dimension. We all know that time machines come in the form of a Delorean, anyhow.
The dozy dad is a well-trodden trope on our TV screens, so of course that would filter into the way we are sold something. Instead of a box of KFC chicken, this father thinks he has hit the jackpot with a novelty clown lamp, much to the ire of his eye-rolling family. D’oh, there dad goes again. Etc.