Monday, February 02, 2009

Not As Outraged As I Probably Should Be

I didn't watch the Superbowl (couldn't have cared less who won), not even tempted by the idea of the hysterical ads. This morning, however, I did cruise through the "Best and Worst" as judged by Entertainment Weekly. My favorites are the E*Trade babies, Doritos Crystal Ball and the Monster Moose Head ad. I laughed out loud, big time. (You can find links to all of these via the EW link since I haven't mastered embedding HuLu or YouTube vids yet.)

And, okay, this becomes a true confession moment because of all of the broohaha I've since discovered in the various blogs I hop through daily, but I laughed a lot at the Telaflora Boxed Flowers ad. I found it a riot. The look on the woman's face as the ugly tulips spouted snark in her face. The ending when, after the flowers told her that no one wanted to see her naked, the geeky guy begins "I'd like to see you..." and she stops him cold. I thought the thing was a scream.

But, I guess I'm in a teeny tiny minority. SmartBitches has pulled no punches in calling Teleflora on their shit, and the commentors over that way are up in arms. Others have blogged and polled, and it seems many women find the ad insulting at the least, downright misogynistic at worst. Wow.

At the risk of bringing down the wrath of the she-gods, I think maybe people are over-reacting just a tiny, wee bit. I honestly and truly don't believe that the ad writers and Teleflora intended to insult women with this ad. I think their message - and the one that I walked away with initially - is that in sending boxed flowers, you run the risk of sending the wrong message because you just never know what you're going to get when the flowers arrive. Presumably, with Teleflora, you can be sure that the message you are sending is one of love and joy and cute cuddly kittens because the flowers are delivered by a really hot delivery guy live human who would never let dead, wimpy flowers give your intended recipient the wrong impression.

This isn't to say the the ad writers didn't, perhaps, take the wrong tack in promoting their ad message by going to such extremes in the insults their flowers spewed at that poor, unsuspecting woman. I, personally, caught the slam against romance readers (as in "go home to your romance novels" = "ugly, lame, stupid and desperate women read romances" = this is a huge insult), as well as cat lovers. I was insulted by this remark, but by now I'm pretty much used to the propensity of the media (read: the majority of the western world) to use romance novels and romance readers as shorthand for the lowest possible level of culture, artistic expression and taste. Rather than getting my panties in a twist, though, it made me disgusted that supposedly talented ad writers in some supposedly successful advertising firm are being paid supposedly real money for being unoriginal and cliché. Boo hiss.

I, personally, find the booze ads with skimpily-clad bimbos being ogled by horn-dog men far more insulting to my gender. In fact, I find those ads insulting to both men and women - to the latter because it so completely reduces women to nothing more than a pleasing compilation of body parts and to the former by implying that they are incapable of being communicated to in any way other than via their penises (peni?). I often ask my husband if he isn't insulted by ads that use nearly-naked women to try to sell him something, implying that he is incapable of making decisions with his Big Brain instead of his Little Brain. He usually tells me to get out of the way, I'm blocking the TV screen.

I'm sure Teleflora is going to get a slew of hate directed their way for a while. I myself thought briefly of penning a "I'm a romance reader and damn proud AND a purchaser of flowers who will be avoiding you intentionally in the future" e-mail, but then I figured, why waste the energy. I'm simply not that offended, and I consider the source. Like Meljean Brook pointed out in one of the comments on one of the blogs, these flowers are supposed to be asshole flowers, thus implying that only assholes would say such a thing. True, that.

Plus, truth be told, I don't give Teleflora any business anyway since I always Google a local florist in the town where the flowers are going in order to avoid all of those fees tacked on by large-scale, nationally based florists.

And I would ask those of us (me included) who are blogging about this, aren't we, in our vocal outrage, actually helping this company by giving this ad legs? We are giving so much word of mouth weight to this that what might have been a vaguely remembered Super Bowl ad is now becoming a Hot Topic. I probably couldn't have named the company responsible for the ad had this been No Big Deal, but now, forever, when I think of florists the name "Teleflora" will be one that pops to mind. And that's the true purpose of advertising - to make buyers aware of your brand so that when it comes time to fork over the cash, they turn to you.

But, dang, can I tell you how psyched I am to see the Star Trek movie now?



meljean brook said...

Oh, I forgot about the last bit with the geek! I laughed at that.

Lynn M said...

Wasn't that hilarious?! I feel like a traitor to my sex, but I thought the ad was so funny. I even called my husband in to watch it over my shoulder - this before I'd learned that it as actually a huge insult to so many.

Guess I'm tasteless.

Anonymous said...

I didn't find it funny, but it didn't make me howl with rage, either. The results of the DA poll seemed to indicate that was pretty much the majority response, in fact. --willaful