Not Stupid Ads

Every day, we drown in advertising. In terms of sheer quantity, the torrential downpour of commercials, billboards, bus panels, web ads, outweighs (probably by a factor of 10) all of the other media we are likely to intentionally consume. For every NYT article or blog post or magazine profile or short story or sitcom or song we deliberately read, watch or listen to, our eyes and ears are skimming pounds more advertising ephemera. This, in a nutshell, is why I think the reinforcements (or not) of gendered, racial, socioeconomic stereotypes in advertising are so important to pay attention to. It’s why I love this ad:

from Women's Health magazine

I’m not saying that they aren’t trying to sell me gym clothes. They are. And I’m not saying that I’m not their target audience. I am. But if a few drops in the advertising downpour (how are you liking my aquatic analogy? I think it’s working) support this messaging, I am all in favor.

Compare to the Reebok Ree-tone ads:

Athleta: This woman likes running. She is beautiful, yes, but strong… look at those arms! She is out for a run, by herself, because she likes exercise. Consequently, she likes exercise gear that is functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Ree-tone: This woman likes talking on the phone. In her underwear. In her messy apartment with all those clothes and high heels, which she’d rather be wearing. Exercising sucks. She’d rather talk on the phone. Maybe these magical shoes will do all the work!



Filed under Advertising, Body Image, Sports

12 responses to “Not Stupid Ads

  1. I always liked this fake ad from What Women Want for that particular reason.

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  11. Amanda Mck

    Really funny you posted this athleta ad. I had it hanging on my wall for the last 3 months while I was training for my half marathon! Love the image/message

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