Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Swedish TV unveils another ridiculously twee sex ed video

They've done it again. Swedish Television’s Bacillakuten, a show about health for preschoolers, has followed up their viral video about sex organs with one about conception:

It's not quite as catchy as its predecessor, but it does have anthropomorphic sperm.

But is it too cute for its own good? Maybe. I recall my only Swedish friend, ├ůsk Wappling from Adland, hated the first video's made-up names for genitals. And I think she has a point. The sex education curriculum where I live — in Ontario, Canada — is presently being updated to include teaching kids in Grade One the appropriate names for their genitals. You'd think that sexually-progressive Swedes would demand no less than real biology.

Selling a bicycle race with a sexual assault joke

The Guardian's Suze Clemitson reports that an infamous sexual assault on the podium of the cycling event in 2013 has been parodied in a poster for the E3 Harelbeke race in Flanders.

The poster, apparently, reads “Who squeezes them in Harelbeke?” Har, har, har.

Meanwhile, assault victim Maja Leye, a "flower girl" who was groped by a man named Peter Sagan as she planted a traditional kiss on the cheek of Tour of Flanders winner Fabian Cancellara, says she was "frozen to the spot” in shock, and struggled not to react to avoid further embarrassment.

The problem with the poster, obviously, is that it communicates that unwanted sexual touching is a joke, and shouldn't be taken very seriously.

Ms. Clemitson reserves her most potent ire for the unknown agency behind the creative: "They’re like a bunch of little boys giggling at a glimpse of boob or arse, virtually masturbating over the idea of their campaigns going viral."

Well, here's your international attention, guys: You're assholes.

Monday, February 23, 2015

This Disney Princess vibrator isn't just a violation of copyright

As if Disney Princesses weren't already problematic enough, childhood fantasies are sexualized in the name of irony.

From The Daily Dot:
The girly, delicate “Love Discovery Mini Vibrator” looks like your standard $68 sex toy, except that it’s being marketed as the clitoral stimulator of choice of Disney Princesses Ariel and Jasmine, with the caption “Yas gurl all princesses do it.” Nothing says “you should buy this sex toy!” like an endorsement from a mermaid.
Not funny, shopjeen. I doubt Disney's lawyers will be amused either.

Friday, February 20, 2015

No, Sasha Grey is not the face of anti-Ukrainian propaganda

Via Daily Mail

Sasha Grey made some rather explicit sex films before she went into mainstream cinema, but she has always insisted that she was never exploited. So I can understand why she sees her image being stolen for use in sick propaganda as a true obscenity.

According to The Moscow Times (via NYP) the social media post above claimed "a nurse named “Sasha Serova” was captured by Ukrainian military forces, who then filmed themselves “humiliating” her before chopping her body up with an axe."

Here is how the actress responded:

I think she made herself pretty clear, don't you?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Is KFC celebrating foster care, or exploiting it?

As brands struggle to stay relevant in the social era, we are seeing an increasing move into ads that address deeply emotional issues.

Here's he latest:

In KFC UK's case, it's the touching story of a boy in foster care growing up in a supportive environment (which includes being welcomed with a big bucket of fried chicken).

It's pretty intense, and it brought a tear to this cynical aging adman's eye. But it also raises some questions.

Parent Dish has reviewed some of the negative feedback on social media, and summarizes:

Those who dislike the ad have argued that the trauma a child experiences in an abusive and/or neglectful birth family, compounded by the anxiety of being taken into care, cannot be mended by a bucket of chicken, however finger-lickin' good it might be. They believe that KFC are suggesting their chicken fixes these things.
It also points to a petition that accuses the ad of "it glorifies the care system with little to no thought having been given to the real children entering the care system who are traumatized and have been torn away from their families and everything they know."

Those words seem eerily familiar to me, as several years ago I worked on a foster care campaign for the Children's Aid Societies of Eastern Ontario and we ended up attracting the attention of people who object to the way state intervention on child abuse is conducted.

Back to KFC: Yes, they are exploiting a deeply emotional story that is very personal to many people to sell fried chicken. Just as Coca-Cola and McDonald's have done for generations.

One thing KFC did, to its credit, is to consult with longtime children's advocate Barnardo's to ensure the subject was approached with sensitivity.

Barnardo's spokesperson Gerry Tissier stated, "Barnardo's saw the KFC ad before it was aired. We recognise that it cannot fully convey the difficulties which children and young people face when moving into a new family. However, we believe it shows that foster and adoptive parents can and do make a real positive difference to a child's life. If it persuades more people to come forwards for a child who needs a family, that will only be a good thing."

That's a good point. Charities are turning more and more to private sector brands for sponsorship. The charity gets program, production, and media money, as well as exposure. The brand gets to bond with its audiences over a warmed heart or a good cry.

I found an interesting quote about the the changing nature of emotional marketing, from Leisha Roche, senior director of marketing for grocery brands at Kraft Canada. She talked about how the media environment is awash in personal stories and heartfelt appeals: “You’re not competing with other brands anymore. You’re competing with people,” she said.

The KFC ad made me feel like I had something in my eye. Which is good. I just never want to forget that I'm watching a fast food ad.