Momma Told Me: What is #Krafting ? When ad execs stop decorating the sex.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

What is #Krafting ? When ad execs stop decorating the sex.

**Note: This post is in no way endorsed or associated with brands mentioned there in, including Kraft, Old Spice, Dr. Pepper, and more. All opinions are presented as pragmatically as possible without religious or political alignment. Commentary is regarding the advertising process, not brand decisions. Please keep comments constructive and refrain from bashing brands.
Momma Told Me: Good advertising makes you look twice.


Where to start, where to start?

Women have been objectified in advertising since the days of Mad Men, and it's very inception. I feel no need to dredge up all of the women's rights and morality of the topic of 'sex sells,' as I accept it to be a truth humanity has come to terms with long since. I also confess that I consider myself far from Conservative (in nature, not political beliefs), and generally believe that people should be allowed to do as they wish so long as they do not cause physical harm to others, or the belongings of others. Let us just say I, generally, support self expression.

I also consider myself a big fan of advertising, and I would agree the majority of our nation is as well, with the industry generating movement of over $1 TRILLION yearly. Let's face it, a 15 second slot during next year's Super Bowl is expected to run over $15 million in cost, and half of those watching will be more fixated on the ads than the sport itself. We, as a race, are far from the days of slapping the hands of young boys who steal mom's Victoria's Secret catalog, and what plays on TV during the average Monday night sitcom is more offensive than PG-13 deemed content just 20 years back. We could argue morality, but that's really not what I'd like to discuss today. For the sake of this post let's agree sex sells, and the placement of sex in advertising, specifically, is not going anywhere anytime soon.
Okay, now that we've established that, I ask you, is there a point where you stop enjoying the witty placement of these sexual innuendos, and become, as I put it 'annoyed?' I remember the first time I saw the Paris Hilton Carl's Jr ads that had struck up so much controversy and debate. Just out of high school and recently turned 18, I was personally a fan of the chain's 'If it doesn't get all over the place....' risque tagline, but had a hard time connecting to the car wash sequence. Flash forward to 2013, where the brand's new Memphis BBQ Burger commercial was banned in New Zealand for being "sexually explicit and degrading," I found myself wondering when American advertising had officially crossed the line from edgy and witty to blatantly panderring. Recall those commercials for Old Spice over the past few years featuring the Old Spice man riding topless on the beach? I'll admit, I never once considered the brand was using sex in these ads because they were so incredibly fresh and hilarious. Here you had a drenched, fit, man rising a gorgeous horse (even backwards) down a beautiful beach, and there I am listening to what he has to say!

Well, lately I've found myself quite vexed by two advertising campaigns some try to compare to those classic Old Spice ads. Again folks, I am not rising up against sex in media (that is an admirable cause for some, but not the focus of today's post). Here we have Kraft, specifically Kraft Salad Dressing turning a relatively lesser known print model into a YouTube sensation overnight. Without debating personal taste, Anderson Davis is a fair representation of one mold of the 'ideal man,' visually. As many Facebook Fans of the product note, women have been exploited on the TV and in print for decades (I'm never a supporter of the 'tit for tat' style argument, but, again, that is not today's rant). Assuming we, as humans, generally accept forms  of sex in advertising, I wonder, where does it cross the line to being offensive.

Offensive in the sense that a brand or product has chosen to align it's otherwise not sexual related product, so closely with blatent sex, that it is, in essence, insulting it's consumers. This is outside of the fact that, sure enough, consumers WILL respond to this form of advertising; females will surely take note of a half naked guy on their television, and there is certain to be a mixed response. My issue with the most recent campaigns, are the seemingly unintelligent presentation of this blatant use of sex to sell. For those familiar with the recent Kraft print and video campaigns featuring what is known as the 'Zesty Guy,' the majority of these ads are nothing more than a topless (and sometimes much more less than a top) model holding, or near a bottle of Kraft dressing. I've yet to find the actual messaging of the campaign, or even plot within the commercials. It's quite literally, 'look at this sexy man, now look at our dressing.'

If you Google 'Zesty Guy' and click over to the Image search you will see a slew of ecards and print ads, among screen captures, of these controversial ads. Fans of the advertising world know controversy can be a wonderful thing; and despite Christian uproar, multiple blogger pillars protesting, and a mixed bag of feedback on their Facebook wall, I suspect Kraft is quite pleased with the result of this campaign. However, among those seemingly mindless snapshots of a half naked man holding salad dressing, you will also find a 2 page print ad that recently debuted in People magazine. Mr. Davis is sprawled out on a picnic blanket, naked, the corner of which is folded meticulously over his package; in the upper right corner, somewhere near the clutter of a picnic basket, we can spot the product actually being sold. Where is the intelligent advertising?
#Krafting
As a brand that generally markets itself towards families, and the women who shop for them, what went so horribly wrong when integrating sex into these campaigns? I'm not an advertising exec, but I could whip up a few commercial scenarios that would front the product and keep the half naked model. Using the same slipping apron and shirtless Anderson, slaving in the kitchen- cut to his exhausted wife coming home, popping in the fridge for a brew (or Pellegrino), smacking her hubby on the butt, then slumping on the couch to turn on her favorite reality show. End clip with the sexy hubby pouring Kraft dressing over a salad and serving it couch side with the slogan, 'How's that for zesty?' I could give you at least 2 more, but I'm sure you get the point- if a brand is going to turn heads, then please, do so with a bit of respect for your audience. Sure, there will be thousands of women clamoring to save your print ads to a hard drive, but how many will you be alienating with the insulting presentation of blatant sex? When did advertising stop becoming a game of creative film and print, and turn into the selection of models and photo-shopping abs?
#Krafting
Again, I cannot stress enough, I am NOT calling out these brands for their use of sex, I, as a consumer, am merely asking where the creativity went? I don't walk into my bedroom, rip off my clothes and say "Come get me" (much to Jay's chagrin), so why should the products on my television do so? Tease me a little, make me think about what I am looking at; put the sex in there if you must (it sure does sell), but leaving me feeling satisfied as well!

My circles have been so 'rocked' by the recent advertising campaigns featuring both genders, we thought we'd have a chuckle while giving Kraft a little advertising help. Above you'll see Jay and a friend of ours (yes, we're all in our 20's, no jailbait!) taking on their own dressing personas in what we've dubbed as #Krafting. There's planking, there's Tebowing, Cone-ing and so much more- now you can ad #Krafting to the list of nonsensical social media fads. So, we encourage you to grab your man, and a bottle of Kraft (or any dressing, really) and snap a topless shot and Kraft with us. Feel free to weigh in on my rant above, and send any #Krafting pictures to woodpress08 @ gmail.com; I'll be posting a follow up post in a few weeks and would love to share some of my readers submitted pictures.

What Daughter Says:  Look twice, but with open eyes!



16 comments:

  1. Glad to see I'm not alone in my reaction to this commercials. I'm not that naive that I don't "get" it...I DO. I just think it's stupid and insulting to "turn the tables" and attempt this. I think it was a bad call.

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  2. I think it shows men still handle the majority of the advertising calls....It's funny to see so many comments on Facebook about how looks are great, but it'd be even better if he could cook or clean! I worry being too outspoken on this might jeopardize future placement with Kraft sub-brands, but it's my honest opinion, and I stand by it.

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  3. Honestly, I watch so little television on traditional channels that I don't notice the commercials. The ones I see on FB I find annoying but since I rarely if ever click on an ad, I just tune them out.

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  4. I think some of the commercials are quite hilarious. Those pics you made are too funny!!! In general, I think TV and movies have become very graphic and sexually explicit in nature. It's not brand-specific at all. It's just what we've succumbed to over the years of desensitizing. Now that it's so overly flagrant, it's to the point of being ridiculous. I'd love to go back to what we would today consider censored viewing, or at least show that kind of thing late at night when most kids aren't watching.

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  5. LOL, I just saw that Kraft commercial last night and was thinking...what?!

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  6. I find it disappointing. As a breastfeeding mom I have been asked to cover up when naked women and teens are everywhere. What has happened? Note - reviews help me decide what to buy now not models (who I am guessing do not eat much of what they sell).

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  7. I like to keep sex in the bedroom, or at least private. I know that "sex sells" but seriously, that Kraft ad with the naked dude, I didn't even realize it was an ad OR about food. I just saw the naked dude. I'd rather our eyes not see so much skin all the time. We're immune to it and it makes the bedroom experience less exciting and can be damaging to relationships!

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  8. Somehow I findthe ones for women worse. Men generally seem to be presented as sexy objects. Women seem to be presented as sex objects. There is a difference IMO.

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  9. I agree with you. When I first saw the Kraft dressing ads, I was "What!!" It's a little much to sell salad dressing with sex. I mean, I see how you would sell certain clothing or underwear or even a car with some sexy thrown in, but salad dressing?

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  10. Yes, some brands are going way over the top with their antics!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  11. Love the pics! I agree. The utter dearth of creativity in advertising is really getting to me--it's as though the execs were saying 'uhhh...we can't think of anything, so here's a shirtless guy to distract you!'

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  12. I'm tired of skin and stupid innuendos. I want an ad to be to the point or funny in a good and tastefully way.

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  13. I personally dont mind the half dressed men lol guess thats me as long as its not too indecent on day time t.v im fine with it

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  14. I have to say I enjoy the commecials, but really most of the time I do not relate the commercial to the product that they are trying to sell me. I would just rather they tell me about the actual product and how it will save me money, time, hard work, etc.

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  15. The most outrageous Sex in the Media ad that I've seen lately is the Kraft salad dressing "Zest" ad. Google it if you haven't seen it! It's very provocative. If I had a daughter, I'd definitely cover her eyes!

    Angela Rhodes
    nofearpapertiger AT Gmail.com

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