Los Angeles, CA–Background: Recently my column Advertisers: Men Are Not Idiots (4/14/08), co-authored with Richard Smaglick, appeared in Advertising Age, one of the largest advertising industry publications. To write a Letter to the Editor, click on firstname.lastname@example.org. The column grew in part out of a controversy in February, when Advertising Age columnist Jonah Bloom launched a misguided attack on us and our campaigns against anti-male advertising. Bloom wrote:
“A loose coalition of these hombres against humor has formed in the past few years…In particular they spent several months ‘torturing,’ as one ad exec put it, Arnold Worldwide, which was considered guilty of ‘contemptuous depictions’ of men in its ads for Fidelity Investments. The group even tried to persuade Volvo not to give its account to Arnold. “The media’s complicity in all of this is only one of the depressing things about it. There’s also the sad fact that marketers and their agencies take these people seriously, scrapping ad campaigns based on ‘backlash’ from a dozen consumers…the people who use such tactics undermine their own case by endlessly parsing sales material until they find something offensive.” Bloom, to his credit, did engage with Smaglick and I, and showed an open mind on the issue. (I commended him for this in my post A Classy Response from Ad Age Editor in Wake of Harsh Column). In the wake of that controversy, Richard and I worked with CMO Strategy Editor Jennifer Rooney (pictured) to publish an op-ed expressing our views on the problems with advertising industry’s depiction of men and fathers. In our column we offered some suggestions for the advertising industry. In one, we pointed to three examples of male-positive ads, and encouraged advertising industry executives to create more of this type of marketing. The ads were: 1) AT & T’s touching, father-daughter ad “Monkey”–to watch, click here. 2) First Choice Holidays’ father-son ad “Slow Motion Hugs”–to watch, click here. 3) Ford’s father-son ad “We Know”–to watch, click here.
To learn more about the way men and fathers are portrayed in advertising, click here.