Madison Avenue discovers actual women! (If only it were true)
20 December 2011
In a stunning turnaround this week, advertising firms on New York’s famed Madison Avenue broke new ground in pitching products to consumers: executives have begun to acknowledge the existence of actual women and pitch to their real-life consumption practices, rather than sticking with female archetypes developed in 1887.
“Honestly, I feel foolish,” says Harriet Smolenska, a 15-year veteran on Madison Ave. “For years I’ve been developing beer commercials as if men are the only ones who drink it, when the one thing I look forward to every day is beer o’clock.”
Smolenska is currently developing a new campaign for Sam Adams tentatively titled, LADIES: WANNA GET YOUR DRUNK ON?
- by themselves, blissfully, in that great little Irish joint around the corner
- on the sofa at the end of the day
- while fending off that boring guy from work and his implausible explanations of Newt Gingrich’s appeal to voters
- while grading papers
- while answering email from students about the paper grades they just received
- to wash down the obscene amounts of shrimp cocktail and garlicky artichoke dip necessary by the end of the semester
“We’ve known for years that a large percentage of ESPN’s viewership is female,” reported Jackson Ruiz, an ESPN insider. “Moreover, our male viewers really like the idea that awesome women are out there, watching sports — they’re not threatened at all. Then we found that two-thirds of our audience felt deeply offended by the dude-ly ads we kept posting.”
Asked to explain their failure to change, Ruiz said, “There was a Madison Avenue myth that people liked ads that upheld strict gender binaries, like Burger King’s Manthem ads or those Dockers ads about manliness. What can I say? We were wrong, and just damn lazy.”
“Nothing has rocked the advertising industry so radically since the late 1970s, when we realized we didn’t have to write a jingle for everything,” says Smolenska. “Before that, the biggest change was when manufacturers had to take the cocaine and opium out of all their products, and we were stuck figuring out how to make that okay.”
Advertising executives also promise they have finally realized that men purchase – and know how to use — laundry detergent, toilet cleaners, and food for one’s children.
The story behind this 180-degree shift in Madison Avenue thinking comes from a shocking source: a major scandal from within the diamond jewelry business, long a primary trafficker in heteronormative gender binaries.
Studies now show conclusively that since 1982 no one has liked, nor have they purchased, non-wedding ring diamond jewelry. This news caused significant consternation amongst jewelry retailers like Jared: The Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers, stores often located in American shopping malls. Armed with the news that these stores have not sold their hideous jewelry in years, the FBI now has them under federal investigation for money laundering.
Kay Jewelers and Jared have created the most vomit-worthy Christmas-season commercials in the history of humankind, often premising heterosexual love on a man’s capacity to purchase a sparkly piece of crap for his wife/girlfriend.
News of its involvement in the sex trade casts dramatically disturbing light on the jingle, “Every Kiss Begins With Kay,” and the much-mocked “He Went To Jared!” advertising campaign.
Henry Washington, the brains behind that campaign, expressed his distress. “My whole portfolio rested on the idea that white women like getting ugly necklaces in the shape of a turtle or a giraffe from their hapless husbands,” Washington said. “Now that this exposé is out, people laugh openly at me on the street.”
The makers of the Dr. Pepper Ten ad campaign, ads for which insist that their diet soda is “not for women,” are unperturbed. “Yeah, okay, so we got in on this craze for ads about manliness a little late,” reported a Dr. Pepper executive. “Who cares? We spent $49 trillion on those ads so I’ll be damned if they don’t go up during the Super Bowl.”
Meanwhile, conservative gender watchdogs have begun to revolt. Focus On The Family has erected thousands of billboards nationwide claiming that men who help with the laundry are more likely to get cancer and suffer from “male household-chores syndrome,” which they imply has the same characteristics as PTSD. In similar news, the Heritage Foundation has offered up millions to social scientists to prove that women who watch sports on TV will grow facial hair and testicles.
And finally, Phyllis Schlafly has announced that she is shocked, shocked, to learn that women drink beer. “If women are permitted to drink beer openly in beer commercials, the United States will give in to Communism and collapse as a world power. Beer drinking makes women unlace their corsets and start asking boys out on dates,” she concluded, shuddering prettily. “And it’s probably just a ploy to get men to drink champagne cocktails and wine coolers.”
Harriet Smolenska, the beer ad exec quoted above, had no answer to Schlafly’s claims. But she invited us to join her at her favorite bar, where the women reportedly enjoy a popular drinking game based on Schlafly’s frequent invocation of the dangers of Communism and feminist beer drinking. “Corsets will be unlaced,” she warned, smirking ominously and twiddling her fingers.