Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The not-so-good commercial(s)

Dr. Pants told me about the new Acura commercial a few weeks ago and Sean from at sportsBabel sent me the link last week. Apparently, I need to blog about this one.
The commercial features Canadian skier Ashleigh McGivor.

Let's strip the athlete down and then put her in some fancy heels and a black dress.
I mean I get the Acura campaign; sporty sexy is hot. But sexy seems to be covering up sporty here. The car, like the athlete, cleans up well. But the car, unlike the athlete, can perform and be just as sporty in its new polished form.
And the tagline: Aggression in its most elegant form. Well, when you apply it to people who are not supposed to be as aggressive or have to apologize for and hide their aggression by putting on fancy clothes. Well...problematic.
And the same applies to the other version of the commercial featuring Calvin Johnson, an African-American football player. Hide the black man's aggression when you put the snazzy suit on him--and literally the suit is put on him. Neither Johnson nor McGivor dress themselves. They are being transformed into some more elegant and less obviously aggressive.


sportsbabel said...

beyond this "skinning", per se, there is also the equivalence drawn with the body and the car. i am reminded of jesse owens coming home from berlin to race against thoroughbred horses, or the more recent declaration of racehorses as "female" athletes of the year.

does the mcivor commercial air in the states (ie. a lesser-known canadian athlete on an american commercial)?

ken said...

Yes, there was the equating of the human and car issue. There were so many issues--I had to pick and choose.
I have not seen the McIvor commercial here, but Beth has so it must be airing. I assume Acura believes her hotness can overcome her lesser-known Canadian status. I think it matters less who the athlete is, and more what she looks like. They just need a legit tagline (Ashleigh McIvor, Skier) so people don't think they are being cheated and watching a model posing as an athlete turn back into her true model self.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you all are way over thinking this. These are both really clever and well done commercials. Sporty-Sexy is cool Period. Not racist, not sexist. Just cool. Get it?