Monday, October 03, 2005

Men are Idiots

Men are idiots. Thats what advertising exectutives would like to have you believe. Here's the memo that apparently went out to all advertising creative directors about 10 years ago.

How to make a commercial.

Have a white man and a woman. Have the man do or say something stupid. Have the woman give the man or camera a disgusted yet benelovent look. Then say, “buy our insurance/copier/cereal” – whatever you may be selling. Never, ever, ever reverse the roles, because it is funny when the man is a dope, but making the woman a dope is insulting.

An incredible amout of American advertising follows this formula. As I type this, there is a commercial on for IBMs biz hub. The man (older, white, the boss) is showing the new hire (whipsmart young woman in a suit) the new bizhub. He doesn’t know that the bizhub stores email digitally until the woman, with a knowing look, tells him. And we all laugh at the idiot man-boss who doesn’t know anything. Who is their target audience. Obviously it is the people who buy or lease things like bizhubs.Are there no white men that have that job?

You know what, I’m pretty sick of it. Not “I’m going to boycott all these companies” sick of it, just tired of the whole thing. I’ve been in the ad game. I was the creative force behind lots of advertising, most of it print, but some TV and Radio. And never once did it occur to me that we should use the man-stupid/woman-clever formula. Again, I’m not a mad-as-hell, gun-totin’ uber-conservative white-power reactionary, it is just lazy advertising. I guess it is because most creative directors are middle aged white Americans, and they figure it is easier to make fun of themselves than risk the stink that might come back to them if they made fun of women, or black guys, or gay guys, or lesbians or Asians or midgets or transvestites.

I am a 42-year-old white guy in America. I know it doesn’t get much better than that. Why do I have to be protrayed as the bumbling fool? Is it payback for my controlling, pillaging, intolerant legacy? I don’t know. What's wrong with being a big ol' goofy lumbering lilly-white dude?

I’m 6’2”, 210 pounds. I go to the gym. I am not metrosexual. I’m “barrell-chested.” I like beer. I like bacon. I like boobs. I like chicken wings. I will be hosting a poker game on Wednesday. If it itches, I scratch it. My daughter thinks that “pull my finger” is the funniest thing ever. Do women really think I would become a better man if I were to watch “Queer Eye”? I don’t think so. I am brutally honest. I don’t want to be sensitive. However, that doesn’t make me insensitive. I was raised to treat women with respect and politeness. I hold open doors. If I am on a date, I try to be witty, handsome and charming at all times. I will pay for dinner. So who decided that being a man meant being a buffoon?

I was talking to a pretty young bartender who told me that I had no chance of ever getting a date with any woman if I didn’t get either a motorcycle or a puppy. A guy with a puppy will certainly get chatted up. But, a quick unscientific survey of the bar showed that yes, guys with motorcycles have a much greater chance of getting laid. Sensitive guys get chatted up, bad guys get laid. Not that dating is all about getting laid. Wait, who am I kidding? Of course it is.

So what’s a guy to do? Fortunatley, I am old enough now that I do not let “the media” influence my thinking. Especially advertisers. As much as I can help it, anyway. I will continue being a man. And let’s get something straight. If you are a woman, I want you to have every opportunity I have, get paid what you are worth, and live a full and happy life. I also want you to be beautiful and sexy. And I want you to appreciate the fact that, as I said before, I love your boobs.

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