Congrats - we have all survived through the outrage and uproar caused by that Protein World advertisement. The one that sent shivers down the spines of women everywhere. The ad featured a spectacularly toned blonde women in a bikini alongside the slogan 'Are you beach body ready?' It was an advertisement for their weight loss collection, and women everywhere retaliated with what their 'real' beach bodies looked like. (Pretty damn un-toned. We don't all live in the gym - shocking, I know.) Disgust at the ad spread so rapidly that a formal investigation was launched by The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) into whether it is breaking harm and offence rules or was socially irresponsible.
Now in my opinion anybody who is looking for slimming tablets or who shops at Protein World is doing so because their notion of the ideal body-type is one that is toned, slim and athletic. In which case this advertisement could act as a motivator. To anyone else it could be seen as a dangerous trigger, implying that if you don't look like the women, you won't look good in a bikini. Enter: the constant and on-going debate on the impact the media has on setting beauty standards.
What if it's something simpler though? What if marketing is just getting lazy? The concept of using sex to sell is a tale as old as time, embraced by thousands. (Mostly perfume and aftershave advertisements, let's be honest.) Take Lynx for example, who have been infamous for their use of adverts depicting women who get a whiff of a guy's deodorant and go weak at the knees. (For the record, we don't.) Despite this central theme, their ads still have a sense of creativity (various eras were covered in their 2014 Loneliest Number ad), and humour (the Lynx Pulse ad that took the song Make Luv back into the charts).
The other day on the tube, I came across the ad below, featuring a thin leggy blonde in a tiny dress and high heels. It read, "We can't swap your Missus for a Swedish supermodel, but we can swap your money for her Krona."
...This was all that the brainiac team at WeSwap could come up with?! This is what they are being paid for? What about the men that aren't into blondes? Or the men who rate brains over beauty? Or the men who are actually happy with their own wives?
Here is an alternative idea:
We can't swap your right hand for a Swedish supermodel, but we can swap your money for her Krona.
As someone who sits on a successful marketing team, I'm confused. Who exactly is your ad trying to target? Men who like Swedish supermodels? Men who hate their wives? Men who think their wives should be better looking?
I'm not really understanding why you have freely chosen to actively close off the female population to your currency converting service. Don't you value your female customer? Or did you think I would look at that advert and think to myself, 'how witty and hilarious, I must use that converter next time I go abroad!' Because I didn't.
Ultimately, I think you were lazy. You thought that it was funny because you probably hate your own wife (undoubtedly she hates you back), and you thought that degrading women would sell. Well here's a shocker for you: your company looks sexist and I'm not using your app. Perhaps instead of spending your budget on splashing your offensively degrading posters all over the London transport lines you could use it on replacing your copywriters.
FYI: I work in copywriting and am happy to help.