The 4 Most Misogynistic Marketing Campaigns Of All Time
No demographic is too scummy that an advertiser would pass them over in their never-ending efforts to hawk terrible sodas and noxious body sprays. In fact, there have been several (thankfully short-lived) ad campaigns aimed squarely at bottom-feeding creeps. For example ...
Danish Tourism Commercials Encourage You To Bang Their Women
Like other cold places that faintly smell of fish, Denmark is having a small depopulation issue. Not enough tourists are popping in, and not enough babies are popping out. So in order to kill two birds with one stone, the country tried to entice foreigners to come over and exploit their greatest natural resource: hot Scandinavian women.
In 2009, a YouTube video went viral of a beautiful Danish single mother trying to discover the identity of her baby daddy, a foreign tourist she had unprotected sex with. The video received 800,000 views in just five days, and audiences were moved by her account of their romantic night, though she was but one of many women who wanted to show the tourist the famous Danish concept of hygge (their local precursor to Netflix & chill). But Karen wasn't making a sincere plea for a lover's reunion at all. It was actually a stealth commercial from the Danish ad agency Grey Group, one made on the taxpayer's kroner.
Commissioned by none other than VisitDenmark, the government's official tourism organization, the video was a brazen attempt to lure male tourists to Denmark with the promise that its women are all both pretty and pretty easy. The video was quickly taken down, yet Grey Group still defended their choice to pimp out the nation's women and boasted of finding a cheap way to go viral -- which is exactly the attitude you'd expect from an organization that promotes not wearing condoms. The sordid revelation spawned a slew of terrible parody videos, including one with the original actress getting it on with a fish -- probably a stealth marketing scheme to entice more merman tourism.
Nonetheless, after plenty of public outrage, the Danish advertising industry learned its lesson. Which is why, a few years later, they came up with a completely different tourism campaign encouraging Danish women to travel abroad and get knocked up over there instead.
Bacardi Wants You To Use Unattractive Women As Props
For centuries, ads have shoved unrealistic beauty standards down women's throats to sell more makeup and diet products. But no more, said Bacardi in 2008, when it launched a campaign which assured women they didn't need all that claptrap to feel beautiful and confident in a bikini. All they needed was a Bacardi Breezer in their hand and an ugly girlfriend at their side.
In order to market Bacardi Breezer, the equal-opportunity Jagermeister, the Tel Aviv branch of ad giant McCann-Erickson came up with perhaps the most anti-women print ads of all time, pretending to offer an escort-like service that let women order "ugly girlfriends" to accompany them to all the hot summer spots so they'd look attractive by comparison. Going to the beach? Better grab a Bacardi Breezer and Sally, the comically overweight broad whose "lumpy rolls" will make you look extra skinny!
Taking a trip to the mall? Nothing will make you feel better about putting on uncomfortably tight jeans than bringing along Lucy, a "freckled pile of cellulite."
Unsurprisingly, these cruel ads mostly mock plus-sized women, though they did also throw in a flat-chested girl with gland problems as well -- you know, them being champions of diversity and all.
In case you didn't get the "joke," the pages are also laid out like a Playboy edited by pickup artists, with unflattering stats and bios to drive home just how utterly un-bangable these women are. And remember, this "funny" catalog letting you order women like chattel wasn't aimed at men, but other women -- the kind that a very regretful Bacardi assumed drink its bottled vape juice.
Reebok Would Rather You Cheat On Your Girlfriend Than Skip Leg Day
In 2012, a shocked German gentleman posted a video showing that Reebok -- the official footwear of MMA, CrossFit and every other large gathering of anger management problems -- had placed misogynistic ads in his gym's men's locker room, marketed straight at the Ashley Madison crowd. In bold, masculine font, the ads screamed "Cheat on your girlfriend, not on your workout."
After the ad went viral, internet outrage quickly followed. Reebok disavowed their home-wrecking advice, however, saying it was only shown in a single gym and was removed as soon as the company "became aware" of the ad they had ordered and paid for. So we'll never know if these were the actions of one rogue Reebok ad man, or if this was an obvious attempt to counter slipping sales by shocking people into giving them attention. But if you're the kind of person who values sick gains above trust, human connection, and intimacy, then you should still probably buy Reebok.
A New Zealand Airline Turned Cougars Into Actual Predators
In 2009, Air New Zealand decided to partner with the coupon site Grabaseat to create a scandalous and mildly horrifying vacation contest named "Cougar Pride." The idea was for women over the age of 35 to send in pictures of their friends hitting the town like sex-starved cougars, which is basically the marketing equivalent of soliciting nudes. And to show them how it's done, the agency released a short video portraying the stereotype by having women act like literal cougars.
Shot in the style of a nature documentary, complete with a narrator pulling his sketchiest impression of David Attenborough, the ad shows desperate women hunting for young men to satisfy their more carnal appetites. Unfortunately, the 60-odd women who entered the contest (everybody loves free stuff) never had that dream come true, as both the event and the ad were pulled due to public pushback, which included several anti-rape groups. But a spokesperson for Air New Zealand still insisted they were overreacting and it was all "light-hearted" fun, though he didn't specify if he was referring to the full-on depictions of sexual assault ...
... or the gag that men can prevent rape by flopping their wrists about and pretending to act "gay."
E. Reid Ross has a book called BIZARRE WORLD that's due to be released in September. He's practically on his knees begging that you pre order it now from Amazon or Barnes and Noble and leave a scathing/glowing review. Truth Venson is a writer of weird stuff that nobody reads and a very inept and reluctant user of Twitter. Eric Nolff is a terrible rapper, and wants you to berate him on Twitter.
For more, check out 7 Racist And Sexist Ads That Are Shockingly Recent - The Spit Take:
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