Studio 360

Will Super Bowl Ads Lay Off Bikini Babes for #MeToo?

Super Bowl commercials aren’t exactly a place you’d look for enlightened portrayals of women. Will that finally change in this year of #MeToo?

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Even in this increasingly fragmented media age, the Super Bowl is one of those rare TV events that really captures the country. Nearly 1 in 3 Americans—more than 100 million—tunes into the game. And while the NFL viewership of past eras was overwhelmingly male, that’s no longer true: For the Super Bowl, nearly half of TV viewers are women.

And yet, commercials that air during the Super Bowl are infamous for their retrograde, sexist portrayals of women. In this year of #MeToo, will commercials finally reflect a more enlightened view of women? Jeanine Poggi of Ad Age joins Kurt Andersen to review some of more sexist spots from recent Super Bowls—and a few feminist moments.

Poggi says that advertisers, and their agencies, should be on notice.

“Any advertiser who this year goes into the Super Bowl with an ad that’s showing women half-dressed or any of the stereotypes we’ve seen in the past, like the nagging woman,” Poggi says, “will get a lot of blowback.”

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This podcast was produced by Studio 360’s Lauren Hansen.