World Cup ads rely on stereotypes to sell products
Outdated views of men and women common in ads during World Cup
The World Cup continues until July 13 and so, of course, do the World Cup commercials. But many of the ads are being criticized for their regressive portrayal of both men and women.
Imagine the delight of Brazilian men when this ad ran in late May. Heineken conspired with retailer Shoestock to stage a huge sale that coincided precisely with a European championship telecast.
It allowed soccer-loving men to watch the game in peace while their spoil-sport, soccer-hating wives and girlfriends were distracted.
In this commercial from the United Kingdom, we see male fans watching a game when one unlucky bloke's wife rings up. Encouraged by his mates, he slides his cellphone into a Pringles can and securely snaps the lid.
Clearly, it seems that male soccer fans have to go to great lengths to undermine the authority of "she who must be obeyed." But doesn't all this stereotyping of men as sports mad and women as only concerned with shopping or monitoring their husbands' whereabouts sound kind of like the '60s?
And what about the portrayal of men and women in this U.K. ad for Pot Noodle? We see a man who's transformed himself into a beach towel so he can look up from sand-level as bikini-clad Brazilian beauties saunter by and do the samba.
And finally, a World Cup ad from the United States shows a high school football practice when a car suddenly drives onto the field.
As the young men's jaws drop, Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima gets out of the car with a soccer ball and poses alluringly with one of her impossibly high stilettos on the ball.
So let's itemize everyone who's been marginalized here: Men are reduced to slavering slaves of female sexuality, women are nothing more than trinkets for male amusement, and North American soccer fans have zero interest in the game beyond the World Cup.
Maybe it's time marketers recognize that some men actually respect women, some women love sports, and soccer is becoming a huge draw in North America.