What is the Future of Advertising?
No more will the dart’s walk on girls have to exploit themselves for advertiser’s gains. Good riddance, I myself can’t take my eyes off the likes of Phil the Power Taylors tiger like focus as he struts on or Peter Wrights Mohawk…Although I do worry for the advertisers, how will we know which betting shop to go in with no breasts pointing the way to go?
In light of the recent ban of walk on girls in darts and F1, we must ask ourselves where is the (very fine) line between ‘sex selling’ and sexist advertising? It could be argued that all advertising is sexist if you look at it from a certain angle. Everyone knows that a pair of underwear is going to sell more modeled on a beautiful person but is this discriminatory in itself?
In an age where a pay discrepancy and heeled shoe uniform policy still exist, this story should be a kick start for greater action for Equality and representation across all industries. If it is degrading to be employed as a walk on girl as your only job is to be looked at and you were selected purely for your appearance, isn’t advertising as a whole sexist? It uses beauty and sex to sell. Perfume adverts, for example, use beautiful women often in sexualised scenarios to advertise their product. The women have no lines, they don’t endorse the product in any way and they often aren’t even shown using said product.
The advertisers purely use sex appeal to grab attention and make the consumer think ‘if I use this perfume I’ll be sexy like the woman on the TV’. No ‘this product smells nice’, ‘has a fruity and sweet aroma’ or ‘lasts longer than other perfumes’, just a sexy woman or man. From a different view, the shirtless man who all the ladies lust after in the Diet Coke advert could be seen as sexist as if the roles were reversed and it was a load of men lusting over a scantily clad woman I’m sure it would cause extreme offence. There has been some improvement with a move from the ASA to ban sexist adverts which show men and women doing stereotypical domestic roles. However, there is still a long way to go.
All adverts are airbrushed and photoshopped to make people look as desirable as possible in order to create a jealousy angle with the consumer longing to be/look like the people they see in the media. Some could argue that this is degrading for the individuals in the adverts as well as causing extremely low self-esteem in women and girls. <ahref=”https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/6662958/Women-suffer-poor-self-esteem-due-to-airbrushing-in-advertising.html”>Research from Dove shows that women feel inadequate and self-conscious due to the unreachable standard of Photoshopped women in advertising. As Hollywood begins to makes waves it will be difficult for the advertising industry (U.S 2nd biggest earner after arms sales) not to address the gender divide in the hierarchy and when <ahref=”https://www.theguardian.com/women-in-leadership/2016/feb/03/how-advertising-industry-fails-women”>85% of purchasing decisions are made by women it makes the under representation in all industry baffling. Maybe we would see less sexist advertising if there were more women in creative advertising roles. Perhaps the answer is to switch from the sex angle to one of real beauty and emotion? …Or practicality and quality.
Although some like Guinness for example focus on art story and music, others cannot resist ol’ reliable “sex sells” line to push a product. But there lies the problem for advertisers as “SEX SELL’s” has been the motto since the dawn of the business.Pepsi recently tried to deviate from the “norm” having Kendall Jenner calm a protest with a Pepsi Max. Trying to appeal to ideals of freedom or revolution I’m not quite sure, but the ad caused great controversy and has subsequently been withdrawn. The point being what else is a tangible focus on which to advertise? And what if anything can be done to rebuild consumer trust as scandals role out across all sectors?
However, with all the controversies in the news it is a non-story, just another drop into the ocean of almost “accepted” injustice and discrimination. As with most bad news the consumer sees no need to react unless affected directly, seeing an assault on a female server at a charity ball for example as a brief storm of injustice to be forgotten in a system built and designed for people no matter how rich/poor/white/black/male/female/non gender specific to be exploited in some form or another for another’s gain. How long will the consumer tolerate such blatant exploitation of themselves for another’s profit when quality or even authenticity of the product cannot be fully trusted?
Everyone was appalled when Starbucks released there tax statements yet no mass boycott? Starbucks suffered
a 4% drop in sales and later a £15mil payout to UK tax authorities after only paying corporation tax once in a 10 year period.
When horse meat was mis-sold to consumers and our food chain compromised was there any outrage or job losses or arrests at a high level? Tesco was primarily caught up in the scandal but only <h3<ahref=”http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22778145″>suffered a 5% drop which you could argue as rather merciful.
VW knowingly poisoned our air and a 20% drop in sales followed and hefty fines but are once again making gains in the market.
Female friendly Doritos crisps, IPA for girls a rather tactless attempt to apologise.
What will it take for the consumer to take action? Could it be that the consumer/electorate have been lulled to contentment and lethargy or have Governments hands been tied by <h3<ahref=”https://www.theguardian.com/…/lobbying-10-ways-corprations-influence-government”>corporation/lobbyists? Maybe in a dog eat dog world a few dogs getting eaten does not surprise or sicken the consumer to the extent it should. Who knows what the future holds but maybe in the future the conned, ripped off and exploited will be treated as national heroes for keeping the economy ticking over. And God Save the Queen will be blasted out over images of the Yemen conflict every time a British made missile explodes. How will future economic wars, corrupt governments or even incompetent presidential candidates be sold to the masses?
Rightly or wrongly that is the way it is.
And rightly or wrongly it is the consumer who holds the power to influence the future.
By Tom Owen