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07 February, 2007

The Super Bowl Ads

The ads this year were the sorriest lot yet, except for the Coke "Grand Theft Auto with a twist" and the cute Late Night promo with David Letterman and Oprah Winfrey.

As for the controversial Snickers ad, I thought it was funny in a dumb way: two guys who ended up kissing after eating opposite ends of a Snickers bar proceeded to rip off their chest hair to prove they're still manly.

Personally, I don't think the ad had any malicious intent towards homosexuals. If anything, it was ridiculing homophobia by showing the absurd lengths men would go to prove they're not gay.

However, that was the ad; the web site was a different matter. After seeing the players' reactions to "the kiss" and the alternative endings that were part of the web site, I can see why gay rights groups are upset.

First of all, I don't see the point in posting the players' reactions; exactly what does that have to do with selling candy bars? These guys are role models whether they like it or not, and their averse reaction to the kiss sends the wrong message to impressionable kids and young adults who are the target market for Snickers. It also reinforces the homophobic culture in sports during a time when we should all be over such silly paranoia.

Second, the alternative endings crossed the line towards disturbing violence. Pulling chest hair to prove you're manly is one thing, but drinking toxic fluids, hitting each other with a wrench or bashing each other with the hood of a car? That smacks of extreme loathing, regardless of it being done in a slapstick way.

The web site and the ad campaign had since been taken down, with the Mars Company issuing a statement that they didn't mean to offend those who were offended. A non-apology apology if there ever was one, but I hope this incident teaches Mars and other companies to be more sensitive in the future. It is high time that gay bashing no longer be considered acceptable humor, much less acceptable advertising.

posted at 6:54 PM by City Muse


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