Last year, my open letter to the CMOs of GoDaddy and Teleflora criticized their blatantly sexist Super Bowl tv ads. Sadly, these two companies weren’t the only offenders. Happily, I wasn’t the only one who noticed.
During the game, thousands of tweets tagged with #notbuyingit called out the advertisers who fumbled so badly. Even better, the hashtag’s creators, MissRepresentation.org, provided online instructions to help website owners pull their domain registration and hosting from GoDaddy, thus effectively putting their money where their tweets were.
This year, the #notbuyingit movement continues, with online activists encouraging Super Bowl viewers to leverage the power of social media and let advertisers know they’re boycotting products and services that stoop to gender representations that are offensive, harmful and just plain dumb. There’s even a handy cheat sheet listing the twitter handles of all the major Super Bowl brands and their ad agencies.
Speaking of which, as an advertising creative I’ve yet to experience the joy — and anxiety — of coming up with a Super Bowl spot. I know it’s not easy, especially with the added pressure of knowing that your work will be seen by exponentially more people than usual, and critiqued in a very public forum. But I believe that as an industry, we should and can work harder to generate advertising that’s fresh and smart and attention-getting and compelling. A few may contend that some measure of sexism and stereotyping in Super Bowl spots is just par for the course, and unavoidable. But I’m #notbuyingit.