Idiots and Objects: Stereotyping in Advertising
Complete the Media Literacy Case Study in Chapter 11
Complete Applying the Critical Process
Idiots and Objects: Stereotyping in Advertising
Are you ready to work out and have a beach-ready body? This is the UK's slogan used by Protein World to advertise its products and the sports nutrition program (O'Reilly). The advertisement was written over a model wearing a yellow bikini. It was placed on a poster (Luke). The fitness and health campaign was supposed to help people achieve the same fitness level as the model in the picture. However, many people did not like the campaign because they felt it was shaming women for not having the same body type as the model. As a result, there was a protest against the campaign. Fifty-six thousand people signed a petition demanding that the ad be removed. On the internet, people created a hashtag called #eachbodysready to fight back against the ad. People came out to protest the ad because they felt it reinforced the idea that all women are beautiful no matter what their body type is. Many people took photos of themselves to show their body flaws, for example, stretch marks. This ad perpetuates the idea that the perfect body is what is shown in the ad. However, Protein World did not take down the ad; they achieved brand awareness and profit from it.
In 2018 Nike created an ad campaign to celebrate its 30th anniversary. The campaign featured the NFL player Colin Kaepernick, known for his controversial protests against police brutality. The ads were placed as billboards in various locations. Colin Kaepernick was dismissed from the NFL for protesting the mistreatment of minorities and African Americans in America (Lapin). He refused to stand when the National Anthem was being played. He said he could not stand to show pride in a country that oppresses black people. For him, the national anthem was more than just football. It is an important part of any national ceremony. He was proud to stand for the anthem at every football game. Nike featured Colin Kaepernick in an ad campaign. People saw him as a traitor and thought he should have done things differently when he declined to stand for the national anthem. However, Nike reported that its sales went up by 10%.
Gillette's ad "We believe" also sparked controversy because people questioned the company's commitment to the #MeToo cause (Bartiromo). The feminist did not think the ad-supported the campaign. The #MeToo campaign was against sexual harassment, abuse, and rape culture. On the other hand, the ad encouraged men to be themselves and be their best. The ad also said that they should continue fighting against sexism. Despite the criticism and backlash, the ad successfully achieved brand recognition and awareness among its target audience.
Spycops was an ad on social media by Lush, a British retail retailer that sells cosmetics. The business spent a lot of time-fighting social movements and anti-establishment ideology. However, they later apologized for the ad and said it was not meant to offend anyone. As a result, their product became unpopular until they created an ad that exposed the illegal behavior of undercover policy (Brandwatch). As a result, the company received a lot of backlash and scrutiny from social media. Some people called for a boycott of the company's products. However, this did not affect the company's sales; in fact, the company realized an increase in sales.
I have realized that these companies continue to make good sales despite facing backlash and criticism. Some companies, like the protein world, even make double the profit. This means that their ads were effective. However, if I had the chance, I would redesign the Protein world ad and remove the lady in the bikini. I would instead put a lady/man in the Gym energetically lifting weights. This ad takes attention away from the perfect body that is often shown in the media and instead focuses on the hard work and effort needed to create a beach body.
Bartiromo, Michael. "Gillette's 'We Believe' Ad Focusing on 'Toxic Masculinity' Gets Mixed Response, Sends Upset Customers to Seek Other Brands." Fox News, FOX News Network, 15 Jan. 2019, https://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/gillettes-we-believe-ad-toxic-masculinity-draws-mixed-response-sends-upset-customers-to-seek-other-brands.
Brandwatch. "Lush #Spycops Campaign: Breaking through the Backlash." Brandwatch, 2022, https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/lush-spycops-campaign/.
Lapin, Tamar. "Nike Releases Colin Kaepernick's 'Just Do It' Ad." New York Post, New York Post, 5 Sept. 2018, https://nypost.com/2018/09/05/nike-releases-colin-kaepernicks-just-do-it-ad/.
Luke Graham, special to CNBC. "Beach Body Ready: Watchdog Investigates Protein World." CNBC, CNBC, 1 May 2015, https://www.cnbc.com/2015/05/01/beach-body-ready-watchdog-investigates-protein-world.html#:~: text=A%20controversial%20%E2%80%9Cbeach%20body%20ready%E2%80%9D%, 0advertising%20caweight-loss company20the%20ad%20for%20weight-loss%20company%20Protein%20World.
O'Reilly, Lara. “This 'Fat-Shaming' Ad That Sparked a Protest and Was Banned in the UK Has Been Brought to America.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 1 June 2015, https://www.businessinsider.com/protein-world-are-you-beach-body-ready-ad-launches-in-new-york-city-2015-6?r=US&IR=T.
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