Sunday, January 10, 2010

You might not be her first... [Updated]

There's objectifying women, and then there's being brilliant.

Due to a witch hunt by friendly feminists, I need to write more than just the above. My friends think I suddenly changed sides. Not so.

I have several ideas about objectification. I am okay with it being used, as I recognize that it works, and then that this is a pluralistic society with free speech. And I believe that the female body can be used in an un-offensive fashion if people only tried. I dislike it being abused, such as can be seen daily. I see it both as realistic and as hurting society on some levels. But that is a discussion for another time, and not why I love this ad.

Make no mistake, this ad is brilliant, and I often strongly object to sex in advertising. Not just on principle, but also as it is manipulative and even stupid.

This ad is brilliant because it combines subtlety with in-your-face by using common popular culture, and at the same time both creating a buzz about it due to the either cool or annoying factor, depending on your view. Then, it also identifies BMW as both HOT and something you'd like to have, such as a hot women. It implicitly says: get a BMW, and you get the hot woman.

It is brilliant because it presents a lure and an answer many would find funny. Because it uses sex overtly rather than as a quiet manipulator. Because it hints that BMW is as sexy as the women.

It is brilliant because it is cool and sexy, without trying to be sanctimonious about it. Most other ads would put the hot women next to the BMW and objectify her so that people associate the BMW with her, as a way to get what they want or need. This ad makes you smile because it is different, and because it requires a bit of thinking; you seek out the words, rather than just look at the women.

Meaning: This is what a woman is, and this is what our BMW is -- everything the women represents for you.

But most of all, it is brilliant because it is simple.

The ad does its job, it gets the attention of its audience and annoys everyone else to get even more attention and success. I may be offended or I may think it is a rare good example of using women in advertising properly -- it doesn't matter, as it is so brilliant because it works!

And when my friendly feminist friends get a second to think, the picture shows much less skin than most other, more "acceptable" ads.

You may ask, why? Why would my friendly feminist friends want to burn me alive? This is due to various reasons:

1. The model is Photoshopped and presents an "impossible image of beauty"
2. The objectification of women is demeaning
3. Using sex to sell is barbaric
4. Being unsubtle at all, so why is this subtle?
5. Implying that women, just like cars, is something you buy
6. Or that if you get the car, the woman comes with it.

But most of all:
7. They would be mad at me for admitting it, as regardless of it being true, they see this ad as perpetrating the problem with our society.

My feminist friends would usually be right, and I'd usually be leading right along with them. But not this time. No, not this time.

As an helpful comment on my personal blog, the USED CAR angle went completely past me. This pun may be even more offensive to some, but in my opinion makes the ad all the more brilliant.

Update 2:
Morgan Collins writes on the funsec mailing list:
This is actually a modified version of the original BMW ad which ran in
Greece and attracted Internet attention back in July 2008. Someone added
the second line "But do you really care?" and posted it on Digg recently.

You can see the original ad here:

There is even an online petition to stop the ad with 65 whole signatures!

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