The 5 Most Insulting Ways Products Are Advertised to Men
It wasn't so long ago that pipe-smoking men in dark suits could sell their products to women with a patronizing pat on the head and a wink. Those days went the way of the cocktail lunch, but sexism still rages in the advertising world. It's just that now, everybody gets in on it. And just as ads in the 1950s assumed that all women were housewives desperate for new ways to starch their husbands' shirts, advertisers today demonstrate an extremely low opinion of their male customers.
That's why there are so many ad campaigns that ...
Assume Men Are Stupid (And Proud of It)
Most of us aren't old enough to remember back when women were seen as nothing more than baby-making servants with childlike brains, but if vintage advertisements are to be believed, we're lucky humanity didn't just devolve into a species of red-lipped cretins.
Finally, a Plan B for men too drunk on lunch martinis to open their own ketchup.
Thanks to braless hippies and better packaging technology, we're past the point where one sex is perceived as brighter than the other, right? Not if you watch truck commercials. Take this Ford F-150 ad, for example. Denis Leary's voice-over comes right out and says that the truck was engineered by the people "we all cheated off of in science class." As if science nerds would never actually be the ones interested in the F-150. They're too busy driving, what? Mathmobiles?
But you see, trucks are manly, and doing science and math are unmanly. You're not unmanly, are you? "What is that you're reading, a book? Oh, sorry, we thought you had a penis."
"Arrowdie-whatics? That's a big word! Bet I can still carry it in my pickup, though!"
It's not just stupidity that is supposed to make all of the males in the audience nod and say, "That's me!" -- it's childlike laziness, too. Here's an Eggo waffles ad that boasts that it's so easy to make breakfast, even a lazy, stupid male can do it! Even though he quickly gets distracted by a game of kitchen golf:
"Look at this goddamn idiot. Eggo."
That kind of plays into another assumption -- that men resent their lives as normal citizens and want to revert to childhood to live in lazy, stupid bliss. Here's a Dodge Charger ad where the narrator gives a bitter narration of all the routine human things he's expected to do that day that somehow insult his manhood:
"I will shave. I will clean the sink after I shave ... I will listen to your opinion of my friends ... I will be civil to your mother ... I will put the seat down ... I will put my underwear in the basket ... and because I do this, I will drive the car I want to drive."
Smash cut to a muscle car roaring down the track:
The tag line is seriously "Man's. Last. Stand." Written by a person who's never met one.
That's right, males! Basic acts of adult communication and cleanliness mastered by most 15-year-olds are such an insult to your natural state of filth and social retardation that you need an expensive sports car to make up for it!
This frozen pizza ad shows us what happens if you don't give males some kind of vehicular incentive to clean up after themselves. They're basically dogs, obliviously tracking mud all through the house, until the female comes home to scold them:
"Gary, we just had the carpets cleaned yest- is that a turd?!"
Question Your Masculinity
It's one thing to assume you're so shit-for-brains-stupid that car science is out of your realm of comprehension -- at least there, the consumer isn't the butt of the joke. After all, the announcer of the truck ad lumps himself in with the dumb kids, and in the other ads, the dumbass husband fumbling his way through modern life is supposed to be the lovable hero of the story.
But beer companies know better. They've employed some needle-sharp psychology to insist that only confident, manly men have the balls to drink their drink. Anyone else is literally and unintentionally dressed in women's clothes.
How ballsy is that? "When you're done taking off your feather boa, I'll have a cold one waiting for you" (smirk). Miller Lite is starting out with the false assumptions that a) men don't know what ladies' clothes look like and b) if they did, they'd already be drinking the elixir of testosterone, Miller Lite. If not, well, then you're this guy.
He wore the same thing as the woman, see. And that makes him less than human.
But of course, we can always rely on truck commercials to be even less subtle. Another Ford ad warns you against buying a truck that "doesn't have the stones" to get the job done.
"Ford. Because Chevys are for eunuchs."
The "stones." As in slang for "testicles." That's right, men of the world. We know you're constantly worried about your inadequate scrotum. And that's OK, because this truck will make up for it. It has balls for both of you. If you go with a lesser truck, one with smaller male genitals, you will fail, and all of your fellow males will know that you were sexually inadequate.
For probably the saddest attempt at this, Vespa tried the same psychology on their little tiny scooters:
"Look, we're trying everything we can here. We're not above just blowing you for cash."
Look at that cute little baby motorcycle calling itself "manly!" If that Vespa were a movie, it would be Look Who's Talking, all the way. Or maybe The Little Rascals. Any movie where little babies do grown-up stuff is what Vespa would be. But shhhh ... don't tell them that. Let them have their fun questioning your manhood.
Dress Ordinary Products Up as Manly Industrial Power Tools
For as long as men have had beards, they've used razors of some sort or another. So you've got to pity the person tasked with putting a new spin on such an ancient product. One technique that might work (if your audience is composed of cavemen) is to attach a cutting edge technical name to a rock-simple product. Which is why we get razor blades with names like Quattro Titanium and Fusion Proglide Power Razor.
The Jackhammer Beastfuck Beard-Assassin. It doesn't even have blades -- just fists.
It's almost like they put a whole bunch of made-up words in a hat and then picked them out at random, kind of like Secret Santa. Take Gillette's Mach 5, for example. What makes a razor deserve the name Mach 5? Do they know how pants-shittingly fast that is? What exactly was Gillette going for by naming a razor blade after a speed that will literally remove your colon?
Hey men, do you like to be clean? Are you embarrassed about washing your body with neutral-colored loofahs? Of course not. That's a crazy way to think. But the same people who made Axe Body Spray are convinced that by transforming a basic cleaning apparatus from just, you know, basic to a "detailer shower tool," men will be more likely to buy them. Maybe they're right. After all, men like cars, and this definitely looks like something for cleaning a car.
Take away the loofah and just admire that fully erect penis of a bottle.
Hardcore, yeah? Look again:
It's a loofah encased in rough-looking plastic that could "detail" the first layer of your dick skin off. Because that's what men want, right?
Hey, are you emasculated by the fact that you have to iron your own clothes? Because that's ladies' work? You need this badass iron for men marketed by Philips. THIS IS THE GODDAMNED CORVETTE OF IRONS!
"If you don't make engine sounds while using this iron, TURN IN YOUR BALLS, YOU PUSSY!"
And forget about that prissy "deodorant" that merely "makes your dried sweat not stink so bad." You need Silver Protect for Men, the ad campaign for which demonstrates with a CGI animation how it unleashes a barrage of "silver ions" that launch themselves at your armpit like cannonballs, exploding odor in a horrific bombardment campaign that leaves no one alive:
They then form a protective garrison of metal bars and balls across your armpit:
It's the Iron Curtain of BO.
Holy shit, the warning label on this stuff must be a foot long! Aim this deodorant at the family dog and all that will remain is a smoking hole in the carpet.
Turn Regular Foods and Flavors into Sausagefests
Food is food. There's nothing feminine or masculine about it, technically speaking. Yes, yogurt might have some properties that are particularly beneficial to women, but the yogurt itself is vaginaless. Look it up. It's true.
Yet somewhere along the line, somebody figured out that most yogurt customers are women, so they've decided that the eating of yogurt must be the bloodiest battlefield in the war of the sexes. Yogurt ads aimed at women portray them celebrating their sisterhood by gathering to have a group yogurt eat, with men hilariously confused by the mere concept of flavored yogurt. "This is our food, men. You wouldn't understand it."
There's nothing like the feel of a warm bath while smiling and almost eating things.
So now, if you want men to spend any of their money on a product that at this point is the equivalent of dairy tampons, you need to dress that shit up. Just ask the Mammoth Supply Co.
Unless our food contains the words "chunk" or "warning," we won't eat it.
Apparently, the only way men will have the balls to ingest fermented milk is if they play it up like it's bear guts ("Thick and chunky and built to tame a man's hunger").
Meanwhile, everything has to come in bacon flavor now, because bacon is man food, apparently having become the male version of yogurt ...
And if you don't cook it on an open grill, you might as well start breast-feeding things.
... and if you're thinking, "I know plenty of women who like bacon, this doesn't have to be a masculinity thing!" let us present you with this fast food ad portraying a man marrying some bacon.
"After the wedding, I'm gonna have sex with you until you turn into bacon bits."
It's just the way men are -- right, advertisers? They have incredibly simple and unrefined tastes, like little kids. They only like smoked meats, cheese and beer. So even if you're a cupcake maker, you have to put out a line of bacon-, beer- and cheese-flavored cupcakes:
Oh, and it's served on a football field? Because all men like football, we guess?
Are you in the business of scented candles, like these guys? If you want to tap into the male market, you need manly flavors -- like "bacon," "fresh grass" and, no kidding, "dirt." No word on if "ass" or "burned tires" will be in the next collection.
But the whole bacon thing brings on another point ...
Assume You're Hungry for a Heart Attack
One way you know this isn't the '50s anymore, besides the whole deal with the way society treats women and minorities, is the way we eat. We now know that eating a ton of red meat will get you a quick ticket to Coffintown, but apparently this trend has made all of the world's males fear for their balls. Food marketers are here to help.
In Burger King's "I am Man" commercial, for example, a guy is sitting in a fancy French restaurant with his girlfriend. When the food arrives, leafy green and in tiny portions, he makes a stand and takes off for Burger King, claiming that he's "way too hungry for chick food." That's right, they totally call it chick food. Dozens of starved men join the mob in an orgy of violence and song -- and in search of Burger King. Yes, it's just a joke -- but it's one that only works if "Is my food manly enough?" anxiety is a real thing.
Wait, are they confusing "man" with "douchebag"? That would explain so much.
And manly food means two things: fat and size. It's quantity over quality all the way, since men are apparently like huge farm animals that just eat the biggest pile of edible matter they can find. See this Hungry Man commercial, where men eating yogurt and Jamba Juice, or whatever it is they're consuming in the commercial, are accused of being straight up women. The accusation, by the way, comes in the form of the men taking a trip to the bathroom together, so you know we're dealing with some subtle marketers. You can tell they're subtle because a pound of fried chicken CRUSHES the girl food into smithereens. Get it? The part about a ton of chicken being better than girl foods?
Blended fruit is for pussies.
This of course becomes a problem when the man's doctor gives him the "You need to lose 100 pounds or else you will die" speech. How do you convince a guy to start dieting when giving up huge burgers literally means his genitals will retreat into his body? Well, if you're Nutrisystem, you put football players in the ads and assure him that the diet will let him eat "man food."
That commercial means something so different if you pretend that's his nickname.
Otherwise, any time you're dealing with healthy stuff, men have got to be bamboozled into eating it. Like when Fiber One slaps some chocolate on their wood chip bars and tells him it's candy.
And hey, have you ever wondered why products like Coke Zero exist, when Diet Coke is already a thing? It's because the word "diet" is too feminine, because dieting is something only chicks do. So they invented completely separate lines of low-calorie colas with manly sounding names (like "Pepsi Max") and gave them manly, black cans:
You see a guy drinking one of those, you walk away, because there's about to be some shit.
Now there's a diet cola that will let everyone in the vicinity know that you have one hell of a penis.
That's what that Dr Pepper 10 "It's Not for Women" ad campaign is referring to. It's an inside joke about the fact that dudes won't drink a sugar-free soda unless they spend millions giving it a new name and can just so people won't think you're a girl.
Hell, maybe they're right. They presumably wouldn't do any of this otherwise.
And stop by LinkSTORM to see what the best way is to huck your remote at the TV when ads like these come on.
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