Who are the Ad Wizards?

Miles Away from Fair

April 28, 2010
1 Comment

In this spot for Corona, a man ogles a bikini-cladded woman as she passes by him and his assumed girlfriend. In retribution for his actions, his girlfriend squirts the lime from his Corona in his face.

Recently, Corona has rolled out a complementary spot to this one. Unfortunately, I can’t find it online. But the commercial follows the same premise as the spot above, but instead of a blond bombshell gracing the screen, its a shirtless male with all the requisite muscles and definition. As the woman in the beach chair gazes at the beefcake, her presumed boyfriend reaches over and shakes up her Corona bottle. But instead of being hosed down in beer, the girl picks up her boyfriend’s beer and opens it. Thus foiling his plan for vindication.

Visually, both spots are very much in-line with the simplistic though exotic look of the Miles Away from Ordinary ad campaign created by The Richards Group and Cramer-Krasselt. The deadpan humor and comedic timing work great, especially when you consider no words are uttered in either case.

What strikes me as odd is that in both situations the male plays the role of the fool. It’s a common role for men in commercials. But in a culture where women are often subjugated, objectified and rendered to be little more than a piece of art; why are men often the victim or the punished? Granted, the frequency of women being objectified is much greater than that of men being victimized. But from my own recollection,the occasions in which men are the patsy outweighs the times women are found in that role.

Even when I create a TV or radio spot, I often use a male actor to be the funny and a female to play the straight “guy.” I think I do it because, from a comedic standpoint, it’s just not as funny when women are penalized for their actions. Maybe, with many women activist groups and other watchdogs keeping an alert eye on how women are depicted, the chances of an outcry would be greater.

One episode from Family Guy, The Simpsons, Home Improvement, or I Dream of Genie, and you can see it’s having leading men play the buffoon has been popular for years.┬áMaybe it stems from a feeling of guilt. Most of the writers on those shows are male. So, maybe the thinking is,”It’s bad enough we have them walking around half naked, we shouldn’t humiliate them too.”

In any case. and especially since I just wrote a radio commercial where a man is publicly criticized for not knowing his wife’s favorite perfume, the tradition of a man being a fool is here to stay.