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Author Topic: sexism in car ad
bobbie k
Babbler # 4354

posted 27 October 2003 10:28 AM      Profile for bobbie k        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hello. A couple of weeks ago an ad for a Saturn sports car appeared in Nova Scotia's provincial daily newspaper, the Chronicle Herald. It featured a man standing at a pay phone beside his new Saturn. The large-letter caption at the top of the page read "A blone, a brunette and a readhead walk into your car..."

Aside from the fact that this ad made no sense to me other than it suggests that men can be successful with sexy women if they drive this particular sports car, I found the language, to say the least, sexist and offensive.

So I visited GM's web site and wrote in a complaint and said I would have thought that the "balds, paunches and greys" at GM would be old enough to figure out that reducing a human being down to a single feature of their anatomy is offensive. Furthermore, they may sway some wealthy men with this ad, but I would imagine they offend far more women, who might, as I might have (past tense!) considered buying one of their cars.

The response I got was equivocal to say the least. A Ms. Elliott wrote that GM doesn't want to offend anyone and they're sorry they offended me, but in this competitive environment they have to use advertising that is "innovative and original." I wrote back "Trust me, there is nothing innovative or orignial about calling women blondes, brunettes and readheads."

I requested the name and mailing address of their CEO or company president so I can bring my concern directly to him. So we'll see how they respond. I intend to address the company head and the board of directors. The prospect of following through on this reminds me of one of my favourite cartoons (from the New Yorker). A bunch of overweight, middle aged men in 3-piece suits are sitting around a board room table in an office tower and the guy at the head of the table says "So then, are any of you not a feminist?"

What should I do? Does anyone have any advice?

From: Antigonish, Nova Scotia | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 560

posted 27 October 2003 10:39 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You might want to bring it to the attention of Mediawatch. In fact, Audra used to be on their Board.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 4509

posted 27 October 2003 10:40 AM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
bobbie k, I believe what you're doing now as in raising a ruckas, is what needs to be done. Letters to the editor of your local papers; getting the word out on various feminist internet forums which you will find through experienced posters or a search on the web; word of mouth.

Educating and informing the public is the best way to make changes I believe. When people become aware of an injustice, they react through boycotts, complaints etc.

Keep up the good work!

From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
April Follies
Babbler # 4098

posted 27 October 2003 10:54 AM      Profile for April Follies   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'll see if I can find the ad, and then write 'em a letter. I'll guarantee not to buy anything GM while I'm at it.

Edited to add a helpful link to the General Motors online form for comments on their advertisements. Happy clicking, everyone!

Also, it occurs to me that writing to the Chronicle-Herald directly might be another approach. Their address (email and snailmail) and policy for letters to the editor are given here.

For their advertising dept., it gives the following contact info: " Please contact Paul Jacquart - ph: (902) 426-2873 / email [email protected] "

[ 27 October 2003: Message edited by: April Follies ]

From: Help, I'm stuck in the USA | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
bobbie k
Babbler # 4354

posted 27 October 2003 11:10 AM      Profile for bobbie k        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the encouragement and suggestions folks. I didn't realize that Mediawatch still existed or contacting them would have been my first action. I tried to send a report to the Advertising Standards people through them but something seems to have interrupted the transmission. I'll keep trying.
From: Antigonish, Nova Scotia | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged

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