Super Bowl Sunday has become an unofficial holiday in the United States, and as we come closer to the big day, perhaps it would be appropriate to reflect on why we care about the Super Bowl so much. Especially since you don't have to be a football fan to partake in the hype.
This year it will be the very first time that two brothers, as head coaches, will face each other in the Super Bowl. Aside from the Harbaugh brothers (who'll face each other as coaches of the rival teams), the rise of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the fact that the bowl will be Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis' last game, what is it that makes the Super Bowl such a larger than life event in American culture? Isn't it the outcome of the game that draws everyone in? Of course it isn't. What everyone's most interested in are the commercials.
The Super Bowl's appeal obviously goes outside of the game itself. It's a chance to be with your family and friends, eat, drink and be merry. The Super Bowl is also a time — arguably the only time — to gather around the television for the commercials. And not just any old commercials — expensive, overly anticipated sexist commercials.
According to an article in the Washington Times, a 30-second commercial costs $4 million. If you were buying an ad during the first Super Bowl — in 1967 — an ad was "only" $42,000. According to that same article, TV ad revenue generated $262.5 million during last year's bowl. The article continues to speculate that viewership could reach the 112 million mark this year — up from last year's 111.3 million viewers and sharply up from the 24 million viewers that watched in 1967. Another statistic shows that 49,300,000 cases of beer are expected to be sold for the Super Bowl. Consistent with that, about 700,000 employees will be home "sick" on Monday, February 4.
Some are already home sick though, disgusted with advertisements that leverage stereotypes and sex to promote their products. Outraged viewers aren't just lying around though; they're taking to Twitter to tell advertisers that they're #NotBuyingIt.
Miss Representation, the organization that launched the campaign, says that women make up half of the Super Bowl's audience and that, despite how ironically sexist this is, they are more than likely than men to tune in just for the ads. According to their website, the Twitter campaign was launched to "call out media that misrepresents of degrades women." The organization's website also points out that while 85% of consumer purchases are in the hands of women, 91% of women think that advertisers don't understand them.
Women's rights organizer at Change.org, Shelby Knox, is calling for offended viewers to go beyond the twitter campaign and create an online petition.
"If enough voices object to an ad, then its makers will get the message that it's not welcome on TV and it didn't resonate with consumers," she wrote on the site.
The following three ads were from last year's Bowl and were most frequently shamed by tweeters as sexist, as part of the #NotBuyingIt campaign:
I think this one speaks for itself. Women are not automobiles, and that cliché is getting really old. The ad has at least since removed the coffee foam that lands on the woman’s chest. Either it was too sexually suggestive, or Fiat decided that 8 million dollars could be better spent elsewhere.
According to Best Buy, men create the technology, and the women just sell it. In fact though, there are a number of women to thank for the advances in technology that the world has seen, from smart-phone tech to everyday stuff that most people take for granted. The next time you're driving in the rain or snow and you turn on your windshield wipers, for example, you can thank Mary Anderson.
"Buy women things and they will have sex with you" is the obvious take away. Way to go Telaflora, you've effectively set women's issues back 100 years.
This year, the campaign launched again, and the video that's gone viral today is being called out for being sexist by tweeters everywhere, in support of #NotBuyingIt. Without further ado:
This piece just wouldn't be complete without this painfully awkward and overtly objectified ad from GoDaddy. It asserts that attractive women need "nerds" like Walter (smart guys that are socially incompetent, according to the stereotype) in order to be of any real value to society. Thank you GoDaddy for reminding the country's little princesses that being attractive means you are an idiot. Sorry girls, you will never be able to do anything without a man.