Thursday, 8 October 2009

Racism and sexism top Kiwi ads

Last weekend, I watched the Fair Go awards for the best advert. I don’t know why I bother because it always depresses me. Actually, I do know why; it’s because I’m interested in marketing and advertising which frequently combines some of the best wit and humour a country has to offer. If this is the best New Zealand can offer, then it’s a pretty sad place.

Mitre 10 is a DIY store. Clearly it attempts to appeal to the LCD (Lowest Common Denominator) and does so successfully. This advert features precocious children, an attitude that spending time with your family or some alternative pursuit to manly prowess is somehow suspect, and a barely concealed racism. Welcome to New Zealand. The tourism board must be so proud. I’m only surprised it didn’t include sexism.

Not to worry – there are plenty of popular adverts that do.

These ads are obviously designed by blokes who don’t care whether women buy their products – the answer is no, we won’t, unless we’re still trying to be 16 and fancied by sleazy older blokes fiddling in their pockets. Sex sells, right? Yes, to men. They may remember the bouncing boobs, but not what was on sale – most of them are probably rushing out to buy spacehoppers. But this stuff is aimed at teenage boys. I am not their market.

This one, however, annoys me for a variety of reasons.

And I am not alone. There were complaints. They largely centred around the copycat behaviour in which parents worried that their darling little toddlers would scratch the paintwork on their Khandallah tractors while stealing the keys or worse, actually attempt to drive the killing machine.

I hate to see children advertising adult products. Not all of us think ‘littlies are gawjus’ – that’s a direct quote from the type of person who does. Nauseating isn’t it? I understand they have to be on television to sell nappies and baby shampoo and mushy food, but when it’s adult time and they’ve gone to bed (hopefully around 6 o’clock) can we be free of them please? Why would a child make me want to buy a car? Or a drill? Best not to answer that.

But above all that, it’s simply sexist. So he is driving the car. He picks her up because he thinks she’s cute – if it were an ugly kid he wouldn’t stop – plus she’s in her underwear, which is clearly a bonus for him. He takes her to the coast (which is admittedly where her sign suggested she wanted to be taken) and then she sits in the back of the truck like a diminutive towel rack while he gets to surf in the waves. As a reward for her adoration of his jock-like prowess, he puts his arm around her.

Final line – ‘the next generation is here.’ More like, ‘the next generation has gone back to the 1950s – the feminist movement might never have existed’. Okay, so it’s just an advert and I’m taking it too seriously and blah, blah, blah – but this is plainly sexualising and stereotyping infants. And the crime statistics for paedophilia are rising and everyone’s horrified. A coincidence? I think not.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely brilliant Kate. I've linked back to you on my blog. I couldn't have put my feelings down better about the state of crap advertising in this country - and how we all docilely put up with it.
pipi x.

Anonymous said...

Just back in NZ after living overseas for a few years. Bloody brilliant advert. Kate - you should try living in the real world sometime - take on Fred Dag's wisdom "we don't know how lucky...."

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