Friday, June 19, 2009

Why TV sucks: Part nine

I've been meaning to blog about this for a while because I saw this commercial almost every day when I was at home for a week, earlier in the month.

The commercial is for Go Daddy, a web hosting company, which apparently has been criticized before for its sexual commercials. The following is the version that I saw on TV.



The above version prompted me to look online to "see what happens next." This is what I found (probably NSFW).



Now I admit, I am a harsh critic of most advertising. But even the casual viewer should be able to determine the absurdity of this commercial. The overt sexuality, even in the abridged TV version, has no connection to the services offered by the company. In fact, after viewing this commercial two or three times on TV, I still wasn't able to say exactly what Go Daddy was. I have a huge personal problem with advertisements that do not even attempt to focus on the product/service they are promoting. Isn't that the whole point of advertising? I know people will say that "sex sells," but what exactly is it selling if we're too distracted by the sex to know anything about the product? Either way, exploiting women's bodies and their sexualities to sell web hosting is unacceptable. Period.

Parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Exploit? Honestly? Wow.

Were the women paid? Yes.

Did they agree to do this for money? Yes.

Were they forcibly coerced into a commercial? No.

Were they exploited? No.

Amelia said...

I said nothing in the post about coercion. That would be another problem all together. Even if the woman in this ad made a conscious choice to participate, it doesn't mean that the company responsible for the ad did not exploit her. They did, IMO, because they asked her to behave in a sexual way that is absolutely unrelated to the product they are promoting. That's selfish on their part, and problematic in that it contributes to the larger scheme of objectifying women (by turning them into sex objects) to sell every type of product imaginable.

Your conflation of coercion with exploitation is problematic and resulted in an incorrect reading of this post.

Vetiver said...

Totally agree with you, Amelia. These ads are definitely exploitative. Using female bodies to sell products is incredibly problematic and harmful. They are essentially selling her body to sell the product. It's misleading, manipulative, and it helps maintain a culture in which women are valued solely for their bodies, as objects rather than as full human beings. Women become decorations, ornaments on shiny objects like cars. Women become the pretty packaging in which your new purchase is wrapped up. It's sad.

Trolls, it seems, have more success with anonymity than logic.

Amelia said...

haha! Love your last line, Vetiver! How true.

Anonymous said...

Nice!! I could watch that all day! sexy!

Amelia said...

The fact that that appeals to you, Anonymous #2, is lovely. But it seems as if you missed the point of it - it's an advertisement...and it's not advertising something meant for your sexual gratification. So...advertising fail.

heavyarmor said...

This set of commercials are a prime example of 2 different concepts at work.

The first comes from a victim of GoDaddy.com's success with their Superbowl Commercials. In the case of this set, this was supposed to be the edgy yet ironic (with the over-the-top auditioning by the cop and Danica's reactions to it) commercial followed to its "logical" conclusion. Unfortunately, this is a case where the punchline is lost because no one knows what the joke was supposed to be in the first place.

The second concept goes to the very heart of why this commercial was made. These commercials were designed to get people talking about GoDaddy.com. It doesn't really matter what the subject matter at hand is being discussed; the mentioning of GoDaddy.com, however, is the only part that is important. The fact that they push the edge of "sex sells" is irrelevant to marketing at the end of it all; the specific advertising will be forgotten with the passage of time, but the name of GoDaddy.com will live on with each mention. These commercials are their primary weapon of choice to get the name cemented into the heads of the viewers. So while their immediate publicity may be slightly negative, the objective is to be remembered down the road for future passing mentions for whatever reason.

This is also marketing taken to its "logical" conclusion. The name being spoken (and remembered) is the only important thing here. And in that regard, this commercial was a success.

Anonymous said...

Point is, she knew the terms, and agreed to them.

It's not really exploitation if the "exploited" has no issue with the material and is duly compensated for performing it.

That said, it's a little telling when some feminists complain that ads like this don't feature fat, unattractive women.

I hate to trump out the old "unattractive feminist bothered by attractive woman" line, but, if the shoe fits...

I just notice a lot of fighting against "objectification of women", and a lot of enjoyment of objectification of men.

In almost any situation where a man might find a woman physically attracted, I see feminists having a problem with that. As if you really hate the very idea that a man might look at a woman and enjoy her appearance.

Amelia said...

@heavyarmor: I was actually thinking about your second point as I wrote this post, that name recognition and discussion are important. But I still have a problem with settling for that because, isn't the ultimate bottom line supposed to be selling one's good/service? And if people are talking about Go Daddy's commercials, but no one is talking about Go Daddy's services, isn't it self-defeating? I don't know. Maybe the one leads to the other, but I know there has to be other, more efficient ways to advertise a product than by objectifying women. Hmm.

@Anonymous:

Half of what you said was irrelevant to this particular post and consisted of generalizations that do not apply to me as a person or a feminist. So, frankly, you're lucky you got through moderation.

It's not really exploitation if the "exploited" has no issue with the material and is duly compensated for performing it.

Again, that is more about coercion than exploitation. This company is selfishly using the idea of female sexuality to sell a product completely unrelated to such sexuality. That is exploitation.

I just notice a lot of fighting against "objectification of women", and a lot of enjoyment of objectification of men.

Oh really? Well, I'm pretty sure you're not seeing the "enjoyment of the objectification of men" here at this blog. So you can take that concern elsewhere.

In almost any situation where a man might find a woman physically attracted, I see feminists having a problem with that. As if you really hate the very idea that a man might look at a woman and enjoy her appearance.

See, I personally find nothing wrong with people of any gender finding women physically attractive. But that is something that, I strongly believe, needs to be left to the realm of personal interactions. Using it to sell products is, as I have stated before, objectifying and exploitative.

lindsay said...

I find this to be exploitation of women for a male gaze. Again, female sexuality is performed for men (the intended audience) and in a style that's common in strip clubs and porn videos.

@Anon
In almost any situation where a man might find a woman physically attracted, I see feminists having a problem with that. As if you really hate the very idea that a man might look at a woman and enjoy her appearance.

I hate the idea that some men look at women only for their appearance, not for any of the other qualities that make up a human being.

Allyson said...

I recently purchased a domain name and hosting service for the website I'm creating for the company I'm launching. When I was deciding which company to purchase hosting service from, I rejected GoDaddy.com outright because of their disgusting, sexist ads. They will NEVER get my business.

heavyarmor said...

Amelia,

In the modern world of advertising, especially in a field as ubiquitous as web-hosting, the first company that can etch themselves into the minds of the general public, regardless of specific services offered, is the winner. The reason is because there are a large number of companies that offer the same thing, and one thing to notice with ads is that the larger the pool of competitors, the more likely this kind of advertising will appear.

GoDaddy.com has decided to go with the edgy, sexy route of advertising their name. In other words, the same route usually associated with alcoholic beverages (namely beer). However ill-served the ads may be, the goal is not to sell a service as much as it is to establish long-term brand awareness.

Also, understand that marketing does not necessarily follow any kind of real-world logic in the US. The same environment in the development of television and Hollywood film is present in the creation of commercials (often owned by the same entities); As such, the same stereotypes, the same bigotry, the same objectification, and the same chauvinism can be found throughout the commercial realm.

Amelia said...

heavyarmor,

What you said makes sense. It does. I guess what bothers me is that we have come to a point in American society where this is seen as logical by advertising standards. That it has it's own messed up reasoning. It's still wrong and sometimes thinking about it just boggles my mind.

Anonymous said...

I hate the idea that some men look at women only for their appearance, not for any of the other qualities that make up a human being.

Well, I hope you never, ever look at a man and think "hmm, he's good looking".

Ever.

Lest you be a hypocrite.

Funny thing, one can't look at a woman and say "What a brain on that one!"

Humans are visual. Physical attraction is based on physical appearance.

Understand that, accept that, deal with that.

Amelia said...

Anonymous,

Although I personally understand that physical attraction has its place, and as sexual beings, it is a natural for many of us to be physically attracted to others, I do think it is problematic when people put physicality above all aspects of humanity. It is especially problematic in a patriarchal society such as the one in America, that seeks out any excuse to treat women as objects (and often uses their sexuality to do so more easily).

lindsay said...

Amelia's right on when she says that it's problematic when people put physicality above all other aspects of a person. The commercial does this - it only focuses on the woman's sexuality. It's not using her intellect, humor, her skill at being a police officer (made clear by still giving the speeding ticket anyway), it's using her body and a straight male desire for that body.