Gender Issues: Sexism Sells

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Feb 11, 2013    •    782 Views

By Lilli DeBode, guest blogger, senior at Kent Place School

Basically everyone saw this commercial. And if you didn’t see it, consider yourself lucky. You were one of the few who were spared the experience of uncomfortably squirming around your couch, accidentally kicking a plate of nachos off of the coffee table in the process, whilst trying to shield your eyes and cover your ears simultaneously, and then possibly screaming around the seventh second of the commercial in the attempt to purge your body of this terrible spectacle that has befallen before your poor eyes (at least that’s what I experienced). Overly dramatic? I think not.

If you have not yet figured out what I am talking about, I am referring to the scarring Go Daddy commercial that aired a week ago on the Super Bowl. Yes, the one with supermodel, Bar Rafaeli and some random archetypal nerd making out, close up with high def. cameras and sound (oh, so much sound).

After their smushed together faces finally left my TV screen, (and after I was finished screaming) I was left speechless. “That was possibly the single most sexist thing I have ever seen” I said in a stupor to my mother who was crouching next to me, picking up the nachos that had flown across the room when my foot struck them a few seconds beforehand. How could anyone actually think that this commercial was a good idea? The whole basis of the ad was that Go Daddy has succeeded in combining brains and beauty, (two traits that usually don’t mix) and to demonstrate this, they needed a beautiful woman and a nerdy man. I could delve into why that commercial was so wrong on so many levels, but I can’t analyze it any better than they do in this article so let’s skip into the economics of this… shall we say… mistake?

It costs approximately 3.8 million dollars for a 30 second ad on Super Bowl Sunday. About 108 million people watched that night, and since then, more than 10 million people have watched the ad on YouTube. Sure, if its publicity Go Daddy was looking for, they certainly got what they wanted. After all, if you only have thirty seconds to make a lasting impression on millions of people, you’re going to have to do something risky. Although Go Daddy definitely did something extreme, they did it at the expense of half of all their viewers. Another minor fact that may have slipped Go Daddy’s mind is that the people who are going to use are not 13-year old boys.

Of course this was not the first time blatant sexism was used in a Super Bowl ad. It seems that every year there are at least four or five exceedingly offensive ones, but what will it take for these companies to realize that misogyny is not really selling like it used to. Today, women control about 75% of consumer spending, so maybe instead of insulting more than half of the world’s population, next year we could see more from Amy Poehler or the talking E-Trade babies. One can only hope.

I do leave you with this one plea though: For the sake of all women—no—all decent human beings, please never support Go Daddy by giving them your business.

Sources and Resources: This Forbes article is very interesting and it talks about five of 2013’s worst commercials. CNN’s article also discusses the commercial, focusing on the twitter feedback (#notbuyingit by Miss Representation) Go Daddy received.

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