Take look at this delightful ad for Heineken created by TBWA\Neboko, Amstelveen. The ad does play on stereotypic “likes” of the sexes-shoes for her and beer for him, but it does it in a light, non-judgmental way that works. What is particularly nice in this day of globalization is that while there is a minimal amount of dialogue (presumably in Dutch), the message is communicated by the visual images that transcend language.
This ad has already seen over 1M views on YouTube, well surpassing the JC Penny ad that went viral just before the holiday season. Bhantnaturally and WonderBranding gave the JC Penny “Dog House” ad the thumbs up, but The Seamless Brand pointed to some of the detractors-unflattering gender stereotypes, a little too much cliché, and you can see on the leap to the web page, bewareofthedoghouse.com, there’s room to get a little hot-even the web designers have advised users to “Please keep your reasons light and fun” on the page where users can put their own guys ‘in the doghouse.
But, the JC Penny campaign is old hat. The point is to look at the balance of power between the sexes as a point of comparison between the two ads. In the former, the stereotypes seemed to be created through the eyes of the other-HE just doesn’t get it; SHE is just too sensitive. In the Heineken ad both groups are presented in parallel to each other, there’s no judgment, just good, clean, fun.
What’s the value of learning to look for the power play in other people’s ads? It may help you to avoid unconsciously perpetuating negative stereotypes in your own communications. So take a look. Who’s standing? Who’s sitting? Who’s holding the pencil and seeming to direct the group? Are characters portrayed the way they would present themselves, if given the chance? What do you think?