Remember that ad? You know the one. It had Pamela Anderson and that gorgeous brunette secretary pouring cream/milk all over each other while dressed in nothing but skimpy gold string bikinis. What were they advertising again? Oh that’s right – domain names. Those two things are totally related to each other.
I remember the night I saw that advertisement for the first time. It was Christmas, I was tired and bored and kicking back with my family, watching some trash TV cause that’s all that was on and we’d watched all our videos. I mentioned it in a livejournal entry.
Yeah, my language was pretty strong, but I had every right to communicate that way. It’s ostensibly a private journal (though nothing is truly secret on the internet) and I wanted to network with my feminist friends, looking for ideas how to legally and effectively protest against that horrendous commercial. I was not going to take this crap in a prone position.
I posted on my LJ. I talked to both Liss (from Shakesville) and Lauredhel. I looked online at various agencies and finally sent an angry letter to the Advertising Standards Bureau here in Australia. I went to what I thought was the YouTube channel of the company that made the ad in the first place and let them know that I was going to do my utmost to get their crappy ad off the air. In the spirit of total honesty, I got very angry and said that I hoped that the company lost money on the ad. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
After writing the letter, my personal life demanded my undivided attention. I’d done what I could about the ad and I figured after an awesome post by CaitieCat at Shakesville and one by Lauredhel, this thing had played out.
Oh, how wrong I was.
About a month later I was told that the ad had been banned. News articles reported on this ban, and I did a little jig. Finally, finally, my letter-writing and shaking of fists had paid off! It was a victory for progressive folk everywhere! The ASB very rarely takes action on things such as this, and so quickly. I was both stunned and heartened.
Then I read an article where Gavin Collins, the head of the Crazy Bromains company, was vocally blaming “feminist bloggers”. He went on morning chat shows to paint them in a most negative light. I chuckled and watered my evil Feminist cactii with his bro-tears, stroking my evil cat and going “Mwa-ha-ha-ha” a lot, while counting FemCo’s huge piles of misandry-generated cash.
Okay, what really happened was that I laughed and then got distracted with life again. Apparently the company was appealing the decision, but this didn’t bother me because they had such a weak case. I thought that was the end, I really did.
Then cue forward to about four days ago. A random LJ user commented on my original post about the advertisement, asking me if I had ever gotten around to actually sending a letter in and complaining. Why yes, I did. Well, it seemed that I had been linked to by Mr. Crazy Bromains himself, Gavin Collins.
I checked out the PDF of the case study. And low and behold, there’s a link to my journal, to the very first entry I did about this whole debacle. Says the company:
We are further instructed by our client that the complaints were launched maliciously by a group of persons with vested interests. We refer the Board to the following link – http://logansrogue.livejournal.com/1327524.html – which will corroborate our client’s allegation that their advertisement has been the subject of discontent for the feminist bloggers on the said site. We are sure the Board will note that the bloggers on this site do not represent the majority of society who are reasonably minded and less sensitive to an advertisement with a tongue in cheek approach.
Yeah, that’s directly copied and pasted. I am, apparently, a group with a vested interest. Little old me. Was I malicious? Yeah, maybe when I was really angry. I tend to get a little She-Hulk when my basic human rights are flouted for advertising cheap domain names. But vested interests? Really? I quote my latest journal entry:
…I’d like to come out and make it totally clear to the ASB (and may I point out that the the thought of them looking at my journal is truly gobsmacking) that I am not a part of any particular interest group. Not a coherent one with a membership drive and aims and all that crap.
I’m merely a feminist, an angry feminist with a blog and a LOT of feminist friends that dislike being objectified as much as I do.
What happened with the Crazy Bromains ad was not an orchestrated attack against the advertisers. It was a bunch of women getting really fucking pissed off and complaining. That’s what happens when you try that 70s shit these days. Well, it’s what SHOULD happen but there’s a backlash going on, don’t you know. So I’m deeply satisfied by the results of this case study.
Yes, Crazy Bromains. I got mad, I wrote letters. People can do that in this country (Australia), that’s why there’s an ASB in the first place. What I was doing was making an effort to defend my rights as a human being. If that upsets you or offends you, I can’t help that. If that means you’re going to make shit up about me, well – go for it. All anyone has to do is talk to me to know that I’m a stone-cold broke unemployed disabled feminist artist with a lot of time on my hands. I have no money piles to look out for. And if there are money piles, I really doubt that half-penny web business like Crazy Bromains is really much of a threat.”
So – a woman speaks out and is summarily attacked and had her character maligned by a bunch of douchewads jealously protecting their hip-pockets. Yay Kyriarchy!!
For bonus LOLs, load up the PDF and read some of the grand intellectualising and mansplaining of exactly why the commercial wasn’t sexist. My favourite bit:
Adam the male member at the meeting in the advertisement is depicted as male colleague fantasising about his two female colleague’s and in order to portray his fantasy, the scenes of Pamela Anderson and the other female colleague are depicted performing pseudo-sexual movements and having milk or a whitish liquid poured over them, to show Adam’s mind drifting while the rest of the members of the meeting are trying hard to come up with a name for the new services provided by the company.
Yet when Adam is asked about what would an ideal name be for the provision of the services, Adam replies “crazy domains dot com dot au” which actually shows that even Adam knows that his fantasies about his female colleagues is outrageous and over the top, and as such “crazy” in the literal sense of the word. In our opinion members of the community would regard the storyline, style and tone of the advertisement to be light-hearted and pure fantasy. The intended message is that Crazy Domains are providing premium domain name services for fraction of the costs charged by other similar providers, which one would colloquially refer to as “First class services at a crazy price”.
So, you know, they admit it’s pseudo-sexual. Thank for doing the hard work for me, Asshole Advertising Agency!
Categories: gender & feminism, media
Napalmnacey, that’s not just a teaspoon. It’s a bloody great shovel! Congratulations on your fantastic work.
Good work Napalmnacey!
Nice of them to provide the evidence in the PDF that they are not only sexist but ableist as well.
I reading somewhere (maybe it was your livejournal) that they were ‘splaining the ad by way of it being supposedly so over the top that it is satire. I’d find that explanation a whole lot more plausible if workplace sexual harassment wasn’t still the reality for far too many women.
Well done! I like how they mansplain the ad by saying “crazy in the literal sense of the word”. Now, I may be technically crazy myself, but I think that satire only works if it’s, you know, satirical, rather than reinforcing misogynist norms. But I’m just a crazy feminist hivemind bee! What do I know?
Well done for making enough waves that they thought it was a group of people behind it. I would hope that they would think twice next time before doing this sort of crap again. It’s nice to live in hope.
…milk or a whitish liquid…
Aaaargh!…The brain… bleach!!!! Please!
…do not represent the majority of society who are reasonably minded and less sensitive to an advertisement with a tongue in cheek approach….
Bullshit they are. I’m a cisgendered white middle-class heterosexual married parent of two school and university children and my workmates would say I was pretty reasonably minded, and can I say YES I’m sick of this shit. And well done Napalmnacey.
As I said over at Shakes, forty other people wrote in. We all wielded our spoons and they added up, so I give full props to my unnamed, mystery cohorts who I’m supposedly in control of. *hat tip* But thanks! 🙂
Also can there be a rule that people who use grocers’ apostrophes have their appeal rejected until they can find a proof-reader? Because I’m just snotty like that.
Wow. I’m glad, suddenly, not to be “reasonable minded”. WTF.
Awesome work, Napalmnacey.
I wish I had evil feminist cactii. Never seen this ad (don’t have a TV), but thanks everyone for putting in the teaspoons to try and make this world a better place for women.