After watching the new Direct TV commercials with Hannah and her talking Horse, I felt as though Direct TV took the cheap and easy route to try to sell me on their benefits over cable. I was underwhelmed and frankly a bit disgusted by them using the tactic of “sexy, thin, half-dressed woman” to entice me and their other targeted consumers to buy Direct TV. Sure it’s clever to have a talking horse with the tagline “From the Horse’s Mouth,” but why is that not enough to engage someone to buy? Why is that they needed a sexy woman to draw the viewers in? Is it okay that our culture accepts this as a way that they can be sold to?
What’s most interesting is that the industry has trained us to expect this type of advertising. Seemingly it’s somewhat of a shock and even displeasing to see someone on the screen that doesn’t fit the high-standard mold of a hot, sexy, thin, perfectly groomed person. The good news is that there are companies out there standing up for women’s self-worth and disrupting the industry standard of what looks good. Take, for instance, the work Dove has been doing with their campaign for real beauty (http://www.dove.us/Social-Mission/campaign-for-real-beauty.aspx).
Even with the work companies like Dove are doing, I still have the question of where was the expectation set that ads can and should glorify a certain body image in order to sell a product or service? However, the bigger question and the one we influence is: it an expectation that we should keep?
Would it be possible to set a new expectation in which will we no longer buy from companies using degrading tactics, like the “perfect” body to entice us, and, instead only buy from companies that use a more accurate portrayal of men and women using a product or service in realistic and relatable situations? This takes awareness and courage; but wouldn’t it be great if when we looked at ads we felt empowered to buy because we felt better about ourselves, rather than making us buy because we feel worse?
This blog post was sponsored by: Mall of America