The XX Factor

Super Bowl Ads 2011: Violence Replaces Originality and Creativity

Jessica and Amanda , I also agree that this Pepsi Max ad was both lame and sexist, but it wasn’t the only one that I found sexist. This ad , titled “Love Hurts,”  was too, although it was admittedly funnier. Aside from being sexist, several ads (and not just Pepsi’s) seemed surprisingly violent, including those focused on men . I had not watched a Super Bowl game in several years, so perhaps the level of violence is not that unusual to regular watchers. But they still seemed aggressively physical.   This one featuring Roseanne Barr is a good example. Do the commercials really have to be just as physical as the game to hold our attention? It felt as if advertisers went for cheap laughs this year at the expense of imagination or wit.  I almost expected the Marx Brothers to show up.

Still, the “Love Hurts” ad, which was also a user-generated ad , got under my skin the most. It was annoying not just because of the violence but also for its depiction of a black woman as a mean, angry, emasculating shrew.  I’d be willing to dismiss it as just a bit of harmless fun if this image was not often being reinforced on television and on film.  In the span of 30 seconds, the woman kicks her man, smashes his face in a cream pie, and shoves a bar of soap in his mouth. The reaction of the husband/boyfriend to the friendly blonde runner in the short-shorts also raised my hackles. That pleased look on his face signaled that maybe the thin and friendly white woman was preferable to the black man’s more ample and blatantly less friendly black wife/girlfriend. After all, what black man would not prefer a skinny blond over a full-bodied black woman?  In the end, the poor runner gets knocked out by a Pepsi Max can that the black woman, who clearly needs anger management counseling, threw at her man and missed. I was glad viewers at least saw her apologize to the runner writhing in pain on the ground as angry lady and her hapless man made tracks out of there.