Advertisements are everywhere. People see them on TV and hear them on the radio. They’re on busses and billboards and websites. Companies call people just to tell them they need to switch phone or cable companies and nearly every free phone app has ads.
Someone would need to lock themselves in their home and turn off all electronic devices in order to not see or hear any ads for a full day. At this point, advertising has become a mass competition between companies, each one trying to be the one that is most noticed by consumers. To attract attention, companies have tried too hard to be funny or sexy, which can end up offending a lot of people or scaring them away.
One example of companies trying too hard to be funny is Doritos ads. Their commercials display that people will get so addicted to the product, they will do anything for it. The company released a whole chain of commercials where people got crumbs on their pants or the edge of their mouth and other people would come lick or eat it off.
Of course, the commercials probably made a lot of people, including me, laugh, but does seeing someone licking crumbs off of someone else’s pants really make people want to buy the product? It just grossed me out.
In addition to taking humor too far, companies also create extremely sexual ads. American Apparel, a company that is incredibly anti-sweatshop, got in trouble for creating too many provocative ads that most often displayed young women and girls topless and in strange positions.
One of the ads in question was of a girl 13-16 years of age wearing nothing but American Apparel tights and bending over to show her butt. According to ABC news, someone had written graffiti that read “gee, I wonder why women get raped” on a billboard displaying this ad in New York. The article also stated that most consumers are being pushed away from brands with sexual ads, including this one.
Many Super Bowl ads this year are prime examples of trying to be sexy or funny to the point where people got offended. The Super Bowl Doritos commercial this year showed a baby who wanted a Dorito so bad he shot out of his mother’s womb. In response, social media filled with comments about how Doritos supports late abortion. I’m pretty sure none of those people are ever buying Doritos again. Also, Peta launched an ad trying to convince people to be vegetarians. Their argument? Vegetarians last longer during sex. Their commercial actually showed two scenarios of a couple having sex, one with vegetarians, and another with meat eaters. Why would you show a scene that is almost pornography on a television program that the whole nation, including little children, is watching? It’s irresponsible in my opinion.
Anyone who has been to a beginner’s marketing or advertising class has been taught that funny and sexy sell.
I spent half of a year in Intro to Marketing with that idea being embedded in my brain. “Funny and sexy sells” is seen as one of the basic rules of advertising, but this view may have to be changed if companies don’t want to scare away their potential customers. People who liked American Apparel because of its anti-sweatshop policy decided not to shop there anymore after they saw their provocative ads. Doritos commercials have been gross enough to scare customers away, even when people think they’re funny.
Maybe instead of sexy ads, companies should create ads that talk about how their clothes help you show who you are, since clothes are a form of self-expression. Instead of licking Doritos off of people and their clothing, Doritos should maybe try something less disgusting. Also, advertising any humanitarian projects, like and anti-sweatshop policy or donations to charity, has really attracted a crowd in recent years. My point is, companies have gone too far with some of their advertising ideas, and for once, I would appreciate a commercial being simple, smart and appropriate.