The air smelled of wood-burning fireplaces and the twinkle
lights on my street, white and blue then red and green, wished
me holiday cheer, but I was still fuming from the woman in
the burgundy Le Sabre who saw me waiting for that space outside
of Sears and took it nonetheless. Bah-humbug.
Tired of circling the mall parking lot searching for a space,
I decided to go home and watch TV instead. What I needed was
to stir those little white marshmallows into a cup of cocoa
and settle down for this year’s airing of the Grinch
who I sometimes lovingly think of as my soul mate. So instead
of Christmas shopping, I found myself pulling into my driveway.
I turned on the TV, and there he was, green and grumpy,
just like me, but as I watched, I found myself more fascinated
by the commercials than the show itself.
But perhaps I should qualify…I wouldn’t say I
was as fascinated by the commercials as I was repulsed
by them. What’s with this new tendency? “Let’s
show men lying to women to sell more of our product.”
The commercial that first opened my eyes to this disturbing
trend was the one from Taco Bell. It seems the geniuses in
the advertising department believe that the most direct way
into a woman’s heart is to lie to her and tell her that
you are cooking fajita steak on your grill in the backyard,
from an “old family recipe” no less. You then
pull the “Taco Bell switch out” which means you
pull their fajita steak tacos out of their bag and serve them
to your unsuspecting prey on a plate from your kitchen and
pretend that you cooked it. Boy, look how smart you are and
how dumb she is. What a fabulous way to start a relationship.
Lie to her.
Another commercial that follows this same philosophy is
the masterpiece from hotels.com. In this little gem, a flushed
and excited bride calls to tell her mother how nice her honeymoon
hotel room is while her groom whispers to a bellhop in the
hallway something like, “My bride thinks I spent a fortune
on this room, but I only spent ninety dollars on hotels.com.”
Wow, what a fabulous way to start a marriage. Trick your bride.
(Honey, you better get that diamond engagement ring appraised.
It just may be cubic zirconia.)
Later that night, I had the misfortune of seeing yet another
commercial of this type brought to us by our esteemed friends
at Michelob. A hot girl is looking for her luggage as a potential
suitor steals it and shoves it in a garbage can. She heads
over to baggage claim services where he has strategically
placed a “back in one hour” sign. She has nothing
to do. A-ha, a dating opportunity! He takes her for a Michelob
at the airport bar. “Gosh,” I thought as I watched
the end of the commercial, “I hope he goes and gets
her luggage out of the garbage can and returns it to her after
this drink.” Fat chance. Guess I won’t be drinking
Michelob this holiday season.
Now I know that advertisers are trying to be more entertaining
and commercials are trending towards looking like a scene
from Friends, but isn’t there a way to do this
without showing women as gullible idiots and men as lying
pigs trying to get…well, you know what? Does anybody
remember the name of that group that grants raspberry awards
for negative images of women in advertising? I have a few
nominations I’d like to send along.