I never understood the correlation between phones and sexy ladies. In fact, I don’t get half the ads that still use hot women to sell things, but then I suppose I’m not a heterosexual man still running the ad world a la Mad Men. Every time I think we’ve moved past this base, sexist objectification of women, something like this pops up again. Thankfully, this particular commercial was banned before it even hit the air, but its mere presence online is enough to send me into an outraged whirlwind.
Now let’s play a little game. Watch the ad again, and this time, pretend you didn’t know it was for a cell phone. What would you say was being advertised? Underwear? Jeans? An iron?? The actual thing being advertised doesn’t come on screen until three quarters of the way through the ad! Even if I tried to think like a chauvinistic male, allowing the sexy lady to grab my attention (schwing), I would still have no idea what I was supposed to buy in the end. So not only does the ad fail by equating women to phones, it also does a horrendous job of selling the actual phone in question. Well done, Kazam!
Furthermore, the Tornado 348 (the offending phone) is being marketed as “the world’s thinnest phone,” which is not even a remotely accurate claim. Needless to say, the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had plenty of reasons to ban the ad. They reportedly said “much of the ad focused entirely on the actor in her underwear, including scenes that featured several close-up shots that lingered over her breasts, buttocks and lips.” My response to this was, “duh.”
Kazam’s response to all the complaints and ultimate axing by the ASA was pretty infuriating as well. They did not apologize for their obvious objectification of women, but instead tried to argue that the ad was just exhibiting an everyday scenario of ironing one’s clothes before going out. I mean, sure, I always iron in my underwear while stroking my breasts before heading out on the town, who doesn’t??
They claimed the whole ironing the shirt part was saying that the phone is so thin, the girl doesn’t even notice she’s ironing it. That is interesting, because all I saw was a skinny girl juxtaposed against a skinny phone that was receiving a call from a guy, or to put it more simply, skinny girl + skinny phone = boyfriend. Yeah, no objectification there whatsoever.
All feminist outrage aside, sexist ads, especially in the tech market are still a major issue in both the U.S. and abroad. Perhaps it’s because the technology world in general is predominantly run by men. Or the fact that the ad world is also still predominantly run by men (smelling a trend?). Regardless of the reason, it’s a problem that needs some serious attention. However, banning a U.K. company’s misogynistic phone ad is definitely a step in the right direction.