Friday, February 25, 2011

Ladies Drink Free!

Jamie Keiles of The Seventeen Magazine Project fame* just posted a clever chart about frat party politics (particularly iterations of the "ladies drink free" ideology) on her new blog Teenagerie. Check it out!

She makes a good point, especially, about the way men pay for access to women in these situations; the cover and drink charges function then as a kind of fee securing their place in a space where, presumably, many women have flocked, lured by the prospect of free alcohol. What she doesn't really bring up, though, are the issues of consent that go along with a "ladies drink free" philosophy. Without an economic incentive to stop drinking, "ladies" might get drunker than their male counterparts ergo it will be that much easier to take advantage of them. Of course, women have just as much agency over their alcohol consumption as men do--free or not--but that doesn't change the implications of this idea. And the fact is that many college students (at whom this type of advertising is primarily aimed, even when it's a feature of a bar rather than a frat house), male or female, will find it difficult to pass up free alcohol.

* In another life, I had planned an interview with Jamie for the Ms. blog, but I think she got swamped with requests as her website took off and that, unfortunately, never came to fruition.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

No Women Allowed! -- Dr. Pepper 10

And today in super-annoying marketing decisions:

Unfortunately, Colorado must be one of the "selected test markets" Time alludes to in the linked article, because I've been seeing this damn commercial for the last three days and I hate it with a burning passion. You know what's really sad? I would probably buy this soda, since I've long been on a quest to find a soda that doesn't taste like aspartame but also isn't sugar- and calorie-laden. Of course, part of me wants to buy this soda in spite of the advertising--no girls allowed! I'll show you, Dr. Pepper!--but, of course, they're probably counting on women either not caring about their men-only advertising or being irked enough to buy the soda because of their men-only advertising.

I understand that advertisers need to push their products towards certain markets and that it may be difficult to sell diet sodas to men (because of a bizarre social stigma, or perceived stigma, that already doesn't make sense). What I don't understand is why they can't make ads that are either gender-neutral or advertise towards men without reinforcing gender stereotypes (and particularly inane ones at that). God forbid you like "romantic comedies and lady drinks." (Actually, what are lady drinks?) And women definitely don't like action films.

In anticipation that people will claim I just can't take a joke, I'm perfectly fine with ads that make fun of gender stereotypes (like the Old Spice "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" ads, which I love). But, I mostly just think this ad this dumb and, hence, not funny.

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