Super Bowl advertisers know the aphorism: "I'm just watching it for the commercials" so they premiere their most entertaining commercials. Those ad slots are expensive, so every aspect is calculated. Research has gone into finding out what consumers will relate to. Jezebel catalogued some of those commercials that portray "pathetic men."
The most provocative commercial was for The Dodge Charger.
On-screen we see the stoic faces of four dejected men. An assertive male voice lists a series of requests he has acquiesced to.
- "I will eat some fruit as part of my breakfast."
- "I will say yes when you want me to say yes."
- "I will listen to your opinion of my friends."
- "I will carry your lip balm"
- "I will watch your vampire TV shows with you."
Finally he says: "Because I do this, I will drive the car I want to drive." We hear the vrooming of an engine, and we see the all new 2010 Dodge Charger racing down the highway, with the text and voiceover: "MAN'S LAST STAND."
This is the most depressing commercial I've ever seen. The ad portrays men as victims to their wives. A dystopian view that men have been emasculated by feminism. This ad suggests that the only we can reclaim masculinity is to purchase a fast car. I don't think the advertisers are intentional sexists, trying to exclusively portray their view of women. They've researched this and are targeting a dissatisfied demographic of passive-aggressive men, who are in codependent relationships. Men who feel they can't be "men" because they can't do what they want to.
This suffocating version of pathetic masculinity cannot simply be fixed through commodity fetishism. Buying a car, only distracts from perpetual disappointment. Nor can things get better for men if they revert to a patriarchal Archie Bunker version of masculinity correct themes.
This fundamental depression, is complicated and there is no easy way to resolve it.
Ironically while we're waiting for a solution, we can distract ourselves from this sadness, by watching hilarious commercials.
infoMania's Conor Knighton says this is his favorite Super Bowl ad. Stay tuned for this week's episode where they'll cover Super Bowl commercials in a much funnier way.