Saturday, February 16, 2008

Advertising- when the line is crossed

A recent article in Advertising Age discussed the Super Bowl and the many ads surrounding it. The ads play a large role in the Super Bowl every year. People look forward to seeing what advertisers have come up with and advertisers spend lots of time and money to impress their viewers.
A Bridgestone ad this year has received some extra attention. In this ad, a driver is twisting down a dark road. He is able to avoid a couple of obstacles like a deer and Alice Cooper. His last obstacle was Richard Simmons. Initially the driver acts as though he is going to speed up and hit Simmons, but swerves at the last second. Many found this commercial humorous, but there were others who felt it was sending a negative message.
Critics of this commercial believed it had a homophobic message. By displaying Simmons as a potential target for a car, they felt the commercial had the underlying message that annoying, flambouyant hyperactive men should be taken out.
I really did not see anything wrong with this ad. I saw it and laughed. I find Simmons to be very annoying and ridiculous. I had never associated him with being a homosexual though. I was very surprised to hear these accusations.
Since the Super Bowl, the ad has been pulled, being cited as being too offensive. I personally do not think that Bridgestone meant to be offensive in any way. I could see if critics were upset about the fact that a car sped up when it saw a person, but tying in the homophobic message to it is maybe reading into it a little too much. Advertisers have an extremely difficult job in trying to reach such a vast audience. As one website pointed out, Simmons did this ad out of his own free will. Maybe some critics need to remember that and calm down about the 'underlying' messages in commercials.

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