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January 28, 2005 09:46 AM

Broken: Denigrating advertising

In today's New York Times: Men Are Becoming the Ad Target of the Gender Sneer. Said one Richard Smaglick, "We're trying to wake up the industry to get business leaders to recognize that this isn't the way to build relationships with their customers."

My two reactions:

1. This is definitely broken. Though granted, this is just the latest stereotype to be hammered on in advertising... there have been many over the years.

2. Who's watching commercials, anyway? TiVo is so much better (and not broken at all)!


Regarding the TiVo comment -- even though you fast forward through the commericials, you're still absorbing the message, or at least that's what some say. This NPR report (

discusses the phenomenon.

Posted by: Steve at January 28, 2005 10:10 AM

I have two words for Richards Smaglick and his friends: "Lighten. Up."

Geez, it's a TV ad, folks. Let's not give it any more attention than it deserves (and it deserves about as much attention as I give it while it speeds by on my TiVo).


Posted by: Steve H. at January 28, 2005 11:57 AM

"Lighten. Up."

Um, no. Why is it ok to insult men but not women? Oh that's right I forgot, men are the root of all evil in this society.

Heck, look at sitcoms where the main characters are married. Tim Allen/Pat Richardson, Jim Belushi/Courtney Thorne-Smith, Ray Romano/Patricia Whatshername. See a pattern? Dumb guy/hot chick who always saves the day.

Posted by: Jacques Troux at January 28, 2005 12:43 PM

There is a simple tivo mod that skips 30 seconds at a time. You hit a few keys on the remote and then you don't use the fast forward anymore, it pops every 30 seconds. 3 clicks and the show is back on. Do a search for TIVO mods. It's easy.

Posted by: Mike at January 28, 2005 01:03 PM

Ah...found it. several remote commands will fix that fast forward problem.


Posted by: Mike at January 28, 2005 01:12 PM

Not that it's related to the issue at all, but my DishNetwork PVR 508 has a "skip 30 seconds" button on it that allows you to skip commercials without seeing even a single frame of them. (If you're good at the timing; if not, it also offers a "back 10 seconds" button.)

But anyway, Ebert also writes about the bungling father issue in movies that come out now. Have you noticed how in almost every movie the dad is either gone, or a complete jerk/alcoholic?

Posted by: James Schend at January 28, 2005 01:45 PM


You miss the point. It's NOT ok to make fun of men and not women. It IS ok to make fun of everyone.

Since when do we let portrayals in the media define us?

And Mike, thanks for the Tivo mod. I knew about it, but I actually like watching commercials at high speed...must be a "stupid man thing" ;-)

Posted by: Steve H. at January 28, 2005 02:02 PM

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only guy that has noticed this trend of male-bashing. I see it more and more in many of the 'humorous' commercials. For instance, one Dodge commercial shows a woman talking with her friends about how she convinced her husband to buy a Dodge because of the safety, space and reliability (implying that the man new better than to go against her wishes). Shift to the men, out at the barbecue, where a stereotypical redneck man grunts that he decided to get the Dodge because of the 'Hemi' (implying that he is the man of the house)... then he starts his oven mitt on fire and puts it out in the beer cooler.

I have no problem with making light of men's misgivings or our perceived simple-minded nature. All I want is for the simple freedom to reciprocate the act, or to see it displayed in more of a public manner, without fear of not being P.C. When was the last time you saw a commercial making fun of blondes or minivan driving soccer mom's??

Posted by: Tyler Denning at January 28, 2005 03:15 PM

I watch all my TV through TiVo and I still watch commercials. I use the double FF (blip! blip!) and hit play when the show comes back on or play rewind if an interesting ad appears. I usually watch promos for upcoming shows I already watch, trailers for movies I might be interested in and commercials which (ahem) catch my attention somehow.

The "TiVo watchers don't watch commercials" meme is just so wrong.

Posted by: ruidh at January 28, 2005 03:37 PM

Steve H.,

How does your second post explain your advice to "Lighten Up" in any way?

"Since when do we let portrayals in the media define us?"

Uhhhh, since kids watch a lot of tv, including ads, and in the absence of parenting will tend to model the behavior they see on tv. Yes, parenting is obviously not available to many children.


Posted by: Schuyler Hausmann at January 28, 2005 04:52 PM

are becoming? Don't you mean "have been since 1974/women's lib"? In my lifetime, the only place I've seen men not portrayed as buffoons is on the Spike channel, during one of the car shows. Which, ironically, most women I know find repulsive. It turns out the buffoon character is lovable to women or something, more so than a man that has some kinda brain or talent.

Posted by: sir_flexalot at January 31, 2005 10:42 AM

>"Uhhhh, since kids watch a lot of tv,

> including ads, and in the absence of

> parenting will tend to model the behavior

> they see on tv. Yes, parenting is obviously

> not available to many children."

But these are buffonery spots - comic relief. Everyone knows an idiot when he/she sees one, and most don't model their behavior on one. I agree with Steve H. The points of Richards Smaglick and his Society for the Prevention of Misandry in the Media are silly at best.

Posted by: nick a at January 31, 2005 04:49 PM

No, almost all television programs include men being buffoons, or idiots, and this of course sets a standard to viewers, "its alright for men to be idiots, because thats how they normally are", to excel and exceed beyond being that of an idiot would break the publicly displayed norms of men in society, and thus we feel alienated because we're not stupid. Also, young girls see these too, and in their minds men become stereotyped as such. Its bad enough having your gf thinking your an idiot isnt it?

" Everyone knows an idiot when he/she sees one"

im sorry, personally i didnt think idiots had outstanding physical features, please describe these to me so i know who to watch out for.

Some of the most intellectual looking people are absolultely clueless, and vice versa, some slovenly bums know more about programming a computer than you do about making toast.

Certainly "SOME" men in society fit the stereotype, but it is quite insulting to place all of them there.

Posted by: Dragon at January 31, 2005 06:10 PM

That's why I love the Simpsons; nothing is sacred there and they attack absolutely every stereotype and topic to the point that it isn't offending when they segregate one group, because when it happens to everyone on the show it isn't segregation.

Posted by: Ilan at January 31, 2005 09:54 PM

> im sorry, personally i didnt think idiots had

> outstanding physical features

What I meant was "everyone knows an idiot when he/she encounters one." Not, "all people can be judged by their appearance" as you interpreted. Sorry for the confusion, i guess.

Posted by: nick a at February 1, 2005 10:05 AM

This has been going on since Ricky and Lucy, Fred and Ethel, Fred and Wilma. As Tim Allen says, "too damn bad we own everything".

Posted by: Tom M at February 12, 2005 02:30 PM

I just thought I would point out that advertising companies are trying to target a certain group...women. That's what they do!!! These companies are trying to appeal to women to get more business out of them...what is so difficult about that concept?!

Some of you really need to lighten'll make the world a better place. We girls have been bombarded with similar ads for many years. Buy this and you'll land yourself a better man, this and you can look like a model, this and you'll be a better wife and mother, this and you'll be the envy of all the other wives and mothers. Welcome to our world boys!!!

If people automatically put that stereotype on you, then their opinion is null and void now isn't it...because that just proves that they're the idiot.

As for concerns about the impact that this will have on young boys, perhaps it's time that society got out of this sad habit of allowing television to raise their children.

Posted by: c at March 20, 2005 01:56 PM

"Buy this and you'll a better wife and mother"

You consider this an insult?

"Welcome to our world" you say, C. Ha! Not only does the "our world" of which you speak not exist. It never did.

Why don't you consider for a minute an ad where a father demands that his wife wash the dog rather than continuing her incompetent efforts to assist her son with her homework, where the son speaks disdainfully to the mother, where the mother continues her attempt to work with the son, where the father demands in a threatening tone that the mother leave the son alone and where the mother ultimately submits sheepishly. Sounds like an ad for a domestic violence shelter, doesn't it? Reverse the gender rolls and its mainstream marketing aimed at appealing to women.

Now C, consider showing ads and programming material that depict situations like this to the American public 300,000,000,000,000 times every decade. Don't you think this affects socity?

If all of the televised male bashing of this level of severity had to be paid for, it would cost America approximately .5% of its gross national product.

When Verizon, McDonalds or Proctor and Gamble spend a billion dollars on advertising, they get a billion dollars or so worth of altered human behavior.

Do you really believe that if I buy Tivo everything will be ok?

It's not about me. It's not about you. It's about all of us.

Fatherlessness is having a profoundly detrimental affect on our socity. Adjusting for family configuration eliminates the correlation between race and crime. It also eliminates the correlation between socioeconomic status and crime. Fatherlessness is far and away the leading cause for juvenile deliquency.

C, get over yourself. The disfunction of mainstream American culture and the mainstream American family now mimics the disfunction of the fatherless, matriarchal, degenerate culture of the 60's ghetto. Look at the current state of marriage, crime, drug abuse, prostituion, degenerate entertainment, and teenage pregnancy. We now live in a culture where 55% of girls graduate from high school with just one particular STD. If in this culture a 14 year old girl gets pregnant, many of our schools are required by law to provide facilitation for abortion, including transportation to the abortion clinic, and prevented by law from informing the 14 year old's parents of doing so.

The University of New Hampshire just had a patriarchy bash at thier student union. Women wearing scissors around thier necks chanted about castrating men and demanded that men witnessing this leave the event.

Congratulations ladies. You've won...for now... and you've done quite a job with "our world".

Posted by: Joe at April 17, 2005 02:38 PM


Can't we all just get along?? I understand what some are saying about the mockery of men (and women) being ingrained in our children who are left with television baby-sitters all too often. I also understand the terms "Lighten Up" AND "Get A Grip." Maybe it's time people started being more concerned about spending time with their children, actually bringing them up >themselves

Posted by: PeppermintPatty at August 10, 2005 07:44 PM

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