Super Bowl Commercials: How Women Fare
It’s Super Bowl day. Some people are ready to root for their favorite teams (Me, not so much. I’m still really bitter about the Vikings’ loss.) Others are excited to drink and eat. And of course, everyone is mad about Puppy Bowl.
Just as more people are known to watch the red carpet on Oscar day than the actual awards show, many more are expected to watch the commercials during the Super Bowl broadcast than see the actual game itself. That’s why retailers, service industries, and this year even advocacy groups fight so hard to buy these coveted (and hugely expensive) ad spots.
With so many dollars at stake, it’s expected that creative teams bring their A game, so to speak, when crafting their ads. Yet it’s interesting to see how women fare in these spots.
Focus on the Family, with their $2.5 million ad buy during the game and now their reported additional ads purchased in the pre-game show, has brought a lot of controversy to the big game. But a commercial about a mother and son discussion of abortion makes one pretty big assumption of it’s audience: that there are enough women watching the ad to make it worthwhile. An ad celebrating women choosing to carry a child to term despite a doctor’s warning of birth defects isn’t of much interest to an audience of men who will never need to make that sort of choice.
That is the one piece of praise that I can give Focus on the Family for their Super Bowl buy: they aren’t assuming that everyone watching is a sexist male.
Of course, we can’t say the same for Go Daddy. They’ve made such a name for themselves with their ads that people already can guess what they are going to see.
GoDaddy.com will have 2 30-second ads in the first and fourth quarters and will feature Danica Patrick. We imagine she’ll probably get almost naked and they’ll tell you to go to their website to see more but there really won’t be a whole lot more and you’ll leave, disappointed but 3 domain names richer.
Super Bowl ad campaigns appear to make the assumption that every man watching has regressed to age 15, and that no stereotype is too easy or too crass. Last year’s most sexist commericals involved a woman’s clothes ripping off as she walked down the street, flowers that tell a woman that no one wants to see her naked and she’s going to always be alone, or the stereotypical nagging woman driving a (potato) man crazy.
And that’s without counting the GoDaddys…
So inherently, is there really any reason to expect commercials this year to respect women? From objectifing them like GoDaddy does to talking down to them and telling them they can’t make their own choices for their own bodies like the Focus people want to, I really don’t feel much hope.
Want to really respect women? Join the campaign to donate $5 to a women’s group to counter the anti-women messages in the Super Bowl. Or, turn off the program altogether.
Even better, do both.