Lizl Morden

Dear Advertising Agencies – part two

Lizl Morden
Lizl Morden

By Lizl Morden

Hello, advertisers. Me again. It has been almost a year since I wrote voicing my opinion of your opinion of gender and its stereotypes. I thought it would be fun to have a look at your work since then. Well I was wrong; it was not fun at all. It was rather disheartening.  Since this is an article and not a book I’ll just go over the highlights.

I’m just going to point out that these are ads I did not mention last time , so this excludes sexists ads from last year that are still airing. All-new sexism in your lounge. And these are only TV ads, not including print and radio. (Any takers to cover sexism in those media?) Let’s get straight into it:

• Vodacom – Errol. The nagging wife and hen-pecked husband. Does this poor woman not know how to use a lawn mower? I don’t, but if I were married to man who was as reluctant to mow the lawn as Errol is you bet your sweet ass I’d learn. Ain’t nobody got time for ticks. Does Errol not know where the off button on his phone is? (Google it brah. Or ask Siri.) Do the people at this agency have a creative bone in their bodies?

• KFC (you again, hi!) – double down (aside from a heart attack in foil and tasting like a bad 80s action movie from what the ad tells me). Men, real men, eat manly food. Yes, there is such a thing is manly food. #sarcasm. And real men cannot verbally express themselves. They are basically cavemen with bad hairstyles.

• and then we have Spur – Daddy bear. A hungry man is literally an animal! I think I see a trend…

• Lays – Brazilian police officer in a traffic jam. This is plainly sexual harassment! “Aw c’mon”, I hear you protest, “it’s just a little bit of fun”. Try this: if the sexes of the parties involved were switched, I’m pretty sure there would be many complaints. While I do agree that the man is way hot, I do not think that is any reason to feel him up (without his permission and as a person in a position of authority) and steal his chips.

• Paco Rabanne – Lady million. Gender stereotyping. Of course, all woman only want tons of shoes and big diamonds.  Another ad is objectification pure and simple. When the man clicks his fingers the woman does something (strips), plus she ends up as literal golden object.

• Handy Andy – cleaning knight. It’s a cleaning knight! Smile face …. and the knight is a woman. Frowny face. It’s great that the knight is a woman but a male knight doing domestic chores would be even better.

•Vanish – embarrassing for my husband. I did mention this ad last time but now I have video evidence. You know what is embarrassing? This ad. For all humans everywhere.

• CTM – cheapskate husband , easily offended wife, man is offended when he is told his womanly side is coming out. As if only (and all) women have an eye for tiles.

• Shield – Do more. The men do physical things like playing table tennis while the women do physical things like walking down a catwalk. The passivity of women and some male gaze, anyone? Or, at the very least, different levels of physical activity.

But it’s not all bad! Shout out to:
• Toyota for having a woman driving a bakkie in their ad
• Omo for having a girl kick a muddy soccer ball
• Sunfoil: A man is cooking! And he’s not braaing.
• Dettol cream cleaner: Usually in ads for domestic products (omo, knorrox and ariel spring to mind) women are the consumers and men are the scientists. But this dettol ad shows a woman (who is also the consumer) in a lab coat. Progress. I like it.

I included links where I could find them so you could see the sexism I speak of with your own eyes. And I really did not go looking to find ads that offend me. They just appeared on my screen with their offensiveness.

As a somewhat related aside, I would like to challenge beer companies and their advertisers to produce an advert that features women actually enjoying beer. Actually enjoying it of their own volition, not as a guilty pleasure or as a guy thing. Do this and I will figuratively do a song and a dance about it (and maybe even support that brand and its gender-neutral beverage…).

As ever, yours sincerely


4 thoughts on “Dear Advertising Agencies – part two”

  1. The best part of the Handy Andy ad is at the end where they say the woman is “the ‘ruler’ of her kingdom” and she’s standing in the kitchen! Ouch!
    Thanks for pointing out these ads! We could make up a book full of sexist ads on tv right now there are so many!


  2. Thanks J 🙂 Very true Christie. Just this weekend I saw two more ads with this gendered nonsense. I did not even notice that the kitchen = her kingdom in the handy andy ad! That is awful. Sometimes I wonder if companies even know who their market is…


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