If there’s one thing modern society loves it’s finding ways to be offended. The “controversy” sparked by a recent Cheerios ad is merely the latest example of benign advertising leading to unwarranted outcry. See if you remember any of these ads and the outrage they led to.
Bud Light “Rock Paper Scissors”
In this ad, two chums settle an argument over the last cold beer via a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. The punch line comes when one man throws paper while the other literally throws a rock. Pretty simple, right?
Not according to the New York Times which published a piece days after implying that the ad was actually a reference to the Iraq War.
The Time’s reasoning for this is that in the ad, “I threw a rock” sounds a lot like “I threw Iraq”. America didn’t “throw” Iraq, it invaded it. Likewise, a company as publicly “Go America, drink beer, Hoo-Ah!” as Budweiser seems unlikely to place biting social commentary in their work.
Victoria Secret “Bright Young Things”
Quick: a sexy-clothing store wants to market its products to girls 15-23: think of the most generic commercial possible. What did you imagine? If you thought of Pretty 20-somethings pretending to be teen-something’s playing on the beach and laughing over bubbly music then you nailed it.
The ad, which depicts girls at the beach wearing, well, what girls wear at the beach was apparently too much for parents. Victoria Secret pulled the ad amongst the controversy, and the world was saved from seeing girls in bikinis having fun for another day
Volkswagen “Jamaican Accent”
So in this ad there is a guy, and he owns a Volkswagen, and that makes him happy, and because he’s happy he decides to…annoy his coworkers with a bad Jamaican accent all day. The ad feels like a B-plot from a forgettable episode of The Office, and would have come and gone if not for a few offended Jamaican citizens and a painfully slow news day.
Not to stereotype an entire culture, but aren’t Jamaicans known for their relaxed disposition? In the ad, the man is obviously annoying people with his accent; he’s shown as a fool. Marvin Lindo asked if the ad is intended to sell cars or make fun of someone’s accent; the answer is neither.
Trojan Condoms “Evolve”
So check this one out
The ad is a little raunchy, sure, but overall it portrays a solid message about safe sex. You may wonder who exactly found this ad offensive. The answer is everyone.
The first controversy stemmed from the fact that the ad marketed Trojans as source of birth control instead of a way to avoid STD’S. Apparently you can’t do that which is odd because I guarantee the majority of condoms are used for the first reason.
The ad was also pulled because it contained, “the sort of subject matter that some portion of our audience would consider intrusive to their moral and religious beliefs.” Basically, Pre-marital sex and evolution are both kind of frowned upon in the Christian community.
What do you think? Do any of these ads deserve criticism for their content, or does everyone just need to relax a little? Let us know in the comments.