This strategy is nothing new. Remember that Tom Ford campaign showing a woman squeezing a fragrance bottle between her breasts, also clenching one between her spread open legs? We have become so used to seeing ad after ad showing women as props, dolls, things. It's so tired, so lame and has truly become so incredibly boring. If this is the only way we can think of selling to men in the year 2015, we are in big trouble. Sex sells, yes. But surely there must be a more progressive way to use sex in advertising.
Kiwi based men's jewellery company, I Love Ugly, is the latest to come up with the completely revolutionary and innovative idea of using women's naked bodies to sell things to men. The campaign shows a fully clothed male model cupping a naked breast in one image, then a bum cheek, and finally a vagina. The female model's naked body is shown as a mere prop, a canvas for the jewellery to be modelled on - truly mannequin like.
The images show women, yet again, in the submissive role, whereas the man seems to be in the driver seat, taking control and ownership of her body.
The brand's New Zealand audience vented their frustrations on Twitter:
Selling products to men (be it beauty products, clothing or jewellery) is already pretty bizarre, as cleverly noted by Lili Radloff in a recent column. There is still such a big divide in terms of wording, imagery and message. Where men are still, ultimately, portrayed as dominant and women as caring, nurturing and soft. It's glaringly obvious that we haven't come far in moving away from the Mad Men-era of advertising as this is just old-school sexism, re-packaged.
Worst of all, I Love Ugly responded to unhappy tweeters with: "Mixed reviews about our latest ring campaign. Some love it, some hate it. If you're nervous about something . You're onto something good." And then tweeted an earlier campaign showing the reverse of their current campaign under attack: clothed female models objectifying men.
How is this better? Feminism is about equality, yo.
We need to re-think, especially seemingly subtle sexism displayed in modern ways: in ads, fashion, etc. Perpetuating the idea of having power over a woman as attractive, seductive and appealing is beyond dangerous. A challenge needs to be set in 2016. This is just pure laziness. Think of something else. Humour us. Do better.