Let’s talk about ads, they are a big part of living in this world and they shape a big part of what we perceive as normal. We are seeing more and more advertisements that are inclusive and companies taking a public stance of accepting gay people, transgendered people, people of color, and addressing real life issues. Millennials are then mocked because how dare we think that any company could care about social issues and how stupid we are for liking it when companies include a gay couple in their mattress ad. It’s all just a sham to get us to buy anyway. (like we can afford Tempurpedic mattress ha) I don’t understand how people have not held companies accountable, and demanded that they do better both in practice and in their advertisements.
I want to compare two advertisements, the Gillette ad that everyone is discussing at the moment, and a Pepsi ad from a few years ago. So from the outside these ads are doing the same thing “rah rah millennial movement rah rah buy our thing” but let’s take a closer look.
The pepsi ad is all fluff, there is endless color branding and pepsi being consumed throughout the entire add. it has a march where everyone is holding signs that don’t actually mean anything stuff like “join the conversation” Pepsi crams in as many minorities into two minutes and 39 seconds as they possibly could and some sexual tension because why not I guess? The hot model lady who is so controversial walks up to a police officer, hands him a pepsi and everyone cheers. This is some real They Live bullshit right here. They are trying to appeal to the millenial ideal without actually committing to any standpoint. Then ending with why consumerism will fix all the things. There is hints a conflict between police and protesters without actually addressing the fucking horrendous police brutality that people of color face every day in this country.
Now let’s look at the new Gillette add. It does not actually show a razor at any point in the add. It has real news footage of the Me Too movement, it takes responsibility excepting that as a shaving brand they helped shape what it meant to be a man, and that this is what it means to be a man now. It also shows real video of men who have helped stop bulling, and fathers who helped build their daughters up. It actually calls out men for behaving inappropriately and then challenges men to do better to protect anyone who is being harmed, and to be a better example for the next generation. This is incredibly powerful, and beautifully done.
So here are these two ads, one a hot fucking mess attempting to latch on to what it thinks young people want, and the other actually making a beautiful point and using large scale advertising to discuss something important. Now, does Gillette handle assault allegations correctly? Does either company actually care about these issues? There are more and more young people getting hired at these companies who are trying to make a difference from the inside, but large companies in general probably don’t really care as long as they make their next profit margin. But this is still a super important thing to have in the media because it shifts our perception as a culture. I can be thrilled when we take a step forward, and still hold Gillette who charge a pink tax on woman’s razors accountable, and demand they do better. But every time a mainstream media ad has a transgender person, or a gay couple, or a muslim family it reminds minorities that their existence is valid, that they should be seen and heard and listened to, and it reminds everyone that we are a beautifully diverse world and we all should be respected and represented.