Why Do Commercials Think Men Are Idiots?

A new study shows that people hate the way ads portray men. And we may have found the worst portrayal of a dude in a commercial ever.

By Henry Belanger

Perhaps you’ve seen this commercial for Klondike. In it, a tubby bozo named Mark is forced to listen for 5 seconds as his wife engages him in a conversation about painting a room in their home. This is, for some reason, nearly impossible for Mark to endure, as he breaks into a sweat and looks like he wishes he ate a more fiber-rich diet.

Almost nothing offends us, but this commercial manages to do the trick. We have no problem acknowledging the fact that dudes sometimes act like babies and cavemen — in fact, we think it’s pretty funny. It’s when we’re told that men think women are vapid harpies whom we struggle to tolerate that we get offended. (Although in this commercial’s case, it’s tough for us to decide who should be more pissed: men, women, or polar bears who make ice cream.)

We’re not the only ones who get annoyed when ads portray dudes as cartoonish dumbasses. A recent University of Illinois study found that “advertisers are alienating men and women because they continue to use outdated gender stereotypes in their advertising.” What does that mean exactly? ”A lot of ads directed at males are still dominated by ‘The Player,’ ‘The Beer Drinker,’ or ‘The Buddy,’” explains study co-author Cele Otnes. “But those stereotypes don’t actually fit the vast majority of males. Advertisers and marketers need to broaden the spectrum, and create campaigns centered on more of the actual roles that men play.”

Actually, we’re okay being portrayed as buddies, beer drinkers, and even players. Just not as slobs who hate women.

TAGS: advertisement, advertising, commercials, klondike, TV


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Trevor Franklin (Fri, 24 Aug 2012 11:09:56 +0000): If a commercial made a female or a person of color look stupid, or any of the other of the many protected classes there would be letters, boycotts, etc. In our society, it's ok to make white men look stupid.
(Fri, 24 Aug 2012 16:47:47 +0000): Well sitcoms portray men as incompetent idiots wit fragile egos who would be lost without their wives so commercials are just more the same.
Chris Gregoire (Fri, 24 Aug 2012 19:51:40 +0000): Indeed.
Mark Daniel Johansen (Fri, 24 Aug 2012 22:59:30 +0000): Huh, this seems like a bad example. I found this much less offensive than many other commercials. This is, at least arguably, trying to make a joke out of the fact that men and women have different interests. There are so many commercials that portray men as simply stupid, unable to function without a woman to tell them what to do. How often have we seen the clueless man who can't figure out how to accomplish some basic task, until his wife comes along and shows him how -- using the advertiser's product, of course -- he can get this job done.
James Krummel (Fri, 24 Aug 2012 23:42:30 +0000): This commercial does not offend me. What I hate seeing is commercials that potray the same stereotypes that have always been portrayed. Telling me I have to drink beer to be one of the guys, or I need to use this product to be cool. And what also just bites my ass is seeing stuff like the Axe commercials where they basically flat out say "use are product and women will be flocking all over you" which is another way of calling us idiots and thinking we'll believe it.
Mike Birt (Sat, 25 Aug 2012 10:20:56 +0000): Have you been around any teenage or 20 something boys? Trust me. They are believing the Axe commercials. They are believing the crap out of them.
David Hedenberg (Sun, 26 Aug 2012 03:28:03 +0000): After watching the commercial twice I would say one Klondike Bar is way short of the reward the guy deserves for not just kill the broad.
(Sun, 26 Aug 2012 15:16:53 +0000): None of the ads are offensive. You've got to be a girly-man to be offended by them. The ads are just further proof that men are in fact superior to women. We are better, we know we're better and the silly, nasty little jokes the girls and girly-men make about us roll off of our thick, indifferent hides. If we made similar jokes, I think it might actually kill some girly-girls, who seem able to die of indignation. They seem to like it. Weird.


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