Have you seen Nike’s Soccer Stars commercial from 2015? It showcases first-person videography in a stunning way. It’s different; it sticks out. Additionally, Nike embraced images in this commercial. It correlates with Sullivan’s philosophy, “Start with images. Stay with images…The eye will remember what the ear will forget” (Sullivan, 2012, p. 201).
Having said that, I personally did not care for this commercial. I wondered where the female creatives were in the development of this ad as the ad is sexist. Women were portrayed as objects (see female asking for autograph on her chest and the butt/crotch shots of the female in the pool). The athlete’s female companion is shown as jealous. The athlete’s mom is shown serving the men in the room. It surprises me that as far as Nike has come to resonate with women (like with the The Better for It campaign), it has backslid with a macho indulgent ad like this one.
The target was clearly young, male athletes who respond to age-old notions of masculinity (losing teeth for the sport, throwing up, fast cars, women). But does this targeted ad come at a price? For as much as Nike is casting a net for this niche group of young men, it alienates and has the potential of running off another segment it has been trying to win (young, female athletes).
I worry about writing this for fear of sounding like the crazy feminist in the room. But I am not the only one who frets over objectification of women in advertising. Badger & Winter introduced a campaign earlier this year called #WomenNotObjects. In an interview, Badger posited,
Our goal was to now come forward and say, ‘This is from an advertising agency. This is from the people who have been guilty quite frankly in the past of objectifying women and men in a way that was not acceptable.’ We’re coming forward and saying, ‘We’re not going to do that anymore. We know that it does harm, and our job is to do no harm’ (as cited in Donovan, 2016).
The campaign started with this video to highlight sexism in advertising. If it doesn’t play, you may have to go to YouTube to watch it as it has a content warning on it.
Donovan, L. (2016, January 29). This ad agency just took a bold stance against sexism. Retrieved from http://www.attn.com/stories/5512/women-not-objects-fights-sexism-in-advertising
Sullivan, L. (2012). Hey whipple squeeze this!: A classic guide to creating great ads. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
WomenNotObjects. (2016, January 11). We are #WomenNotObjects. [Online video]. Retrieved from http://www.attn.com/stories/5512/women-not-objects-fights-sexism-in-advertising