A commercial non-sequitir

It’s no secret that the advertising of many products aimed at a specifically male demographic make the pretty explicit suggestion that the purchase of said product will significantly increase the probability of being found sexually attractive by members of the opposite sex. This is obviously not only misleading, but odious in the view it projects about women and their placability when it comes sexual agency. This advertising trend has been roundly criticised already though, so it requires no more criticism here.

This rightful criticism has apparently come as an inconvenience to advertisers of two products that are currently being advertised on UK television. The products in question are Pepsi Max and Lynx Twist and the adverts for them attempt to show that men can overcome rejection from women by simply tricking them in to overruling their decision. In both adverts, the attractive female characters reject the advances of the ‘heroes,’ only for the men, who wont take “no” for an answer, to alter their setting in some way that rescinds the female’s initial decision. In the Lynx advert, all the man needs to do is change his look every time the female responds negatively (because “women get bored easily”) to the prospect of intimacy, whereas the man in the Pepsi advert sets up an elaborate con in which the world is ending to persuade the female that she should finally accept his proposal.

What is being asserted here? That women do have the freedom of choice, but their choices are irresolute and less valid than those of men who want sex. This is often couched in terms of male camaraderie, as it is in the Pepsi Max advert, which makes the situation appear more positive because there is a solidarity among the men, who celebrate their successful conquest with Pepsi. It’s half a step forward and six or seven steps back.

by David Jackson


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