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Sexism In Ads: Then And Now

For years the advertising industry has come under fire for their portrayal of many less-than-flattering stereotypes. Many vintage ads are so offensive it’s hard to fathom that they were at one point the norm.

We look at these types of ads and wonder how such blatantly insulting depictions of women could ever get the OK for rotation. While advertising has, for the most part, cleaned up its act, there are a few industries that still haven’t fully reformed.

Today, some of the most common offenders are beer brands. All across the board, it seems that these companies continually use stereotyping as a means for humor. While it has been turned down since those early days of advertising, the objectification of women is still fairly prevalent.

Or how about the recent “Man Up” campaign, which implies that “real” men drink Miller Lite, and those who don’t are inadequate, embarrassing, and well, womanly…

While the typecasting of women is far more common, beer ads have also taken jabs at men. The following Amstel commercial suggests that guys are hopelessly sloppy, manner-less drunks, something that we should “know by now.”

So what do you think – Do you find these ads humorous, insulting, or some mixture of the two?

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About sophialudlowgroup

The Ludlow Group Blog is an advertising blog where you'll find posts on social media, design, marketing, ad campaigns, photography and architecture

6 comments on “Sexism In Ads: Then And Now

  1. belopotosky
    March 14, 2012

    Completely agree- the Kia Optima 2012 commercial that has been cut down from it’s original length to just show women in bikinis screaming in a man’s fantasy. I mean, geez. The product is a Kia! Did they do any market research?

    • sophialudlowgroup
      March 14, 2012

      Exactly, good point!

  2. Pingback: Women in Advertising: Then and Now | Media Action Média

  3. Sunshine
    April 6, 2012

    Would it be worth starting a petition against some of these ads? The Kia Optima one that I just saw (a dream sequence where one woman is in a skimpy swimsuit and the guy on a racetrack) made me want to throw up and sell my Kia – don’t they realize how much buying power women (and MOTHERS!!!) really have???

  4. raeford
    April 26, 2012

    I totally agree with this post and most all of those beer commercials are incredibly exploitative (and dont get me started about the weight loss commercials). I have to disagree about the KIA commercial to a certain degree though. Yes, it’s kinda ‘racy’, but come on, it’s totally making fun of itself and all the stereotypes. First off it’s a double dream sequence, where the guy gets an ‘overdose’ of pixie dust. secondly, it puts the cheering crowd of bikini clad women in the same context as bull riding a rhino, and sawing thru a 10ft thick hoagie! we wont even address the riding to towards a rainbow on a unicorn, Lighten up people!

    • sophialudlowgroup
      April 26, 2012

      I agree with you that the KIA commercial doesn’t really bother me racy/exploitative-wise, there’s far far worse out there, but I do agree with the statement a few comments up that it was an odd direction for a KIA commercial.

      Thanks for your input!

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