Wednesday, November 25, 2009

pop go the bubbles

UPDATED UPDATE The really downer here is, the whole purpose of this ad, to promote the Household Product Labeling Acts of 2009 bill, has completely been lost due to all the backlash on this playful (if taken a bit too far) online ad. Not only has the video been taken down most everywhere, but the blog post on their official people against dirty blog has been closed, comments and all (because as soon as method would remove the current comments, people would get into a frenzied rage all over again.) And the people against dirty page, which allowed you to add your zipcode in order to get you involved in pushing this bill forward, has also been taken down.

I get that people are mad! (Wow, do I get that!) But besides wanting an apology (and boy, do they want that, as well!) I think many advocates are taking it a tad too far with the "I'll never buy method products again!" arguments. I mean, people, and companies, make mistakes. One possibly tasteless ad does not mean their products now suck. method had no real intention of causing this type of uproar. It'll be curious to see how this all ends up (an apology? A redesign of the people against dirty/bill page? Who knows!) But one thing is for sure, from what I've seen online so far, this ad is already infamous! I doubt we'll be seeing any additional video advertising from method for a very long time (unforunately.)

PS - "shiny suds" is the sixth most popular keyword search on method lust right now!

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UPDATE Sadly, from method's official people against dirty blog:

"We received a lot of feedback about our “Shiny Suds” video.

"We understand the concerns associated with our video and have removed it from YouTube and all other controlled sources. This includes pulling the video and its corresponding comments from our blog. We are all for healthy debate, even when it’s not in favor of method, but when individual contributors begin personally attacking each other, we feel our blog’s purpose becomes unproductive.

Here at method, we are a group of women and men who care about our planet, but first and foremost about people. The purpose of this campaign was to raise awareness for transparency in cleaning product ingredients, to which we remain committed. It was not at all our intent to offend or promote any form of harassment.

We continue to learn, and we appreciate the fact that you took the time to reach out to us."

Ouch.

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So method recently debuted their brand new "ad", promoting their support for the Household Product Labeling Acts of 2009 bill to lots of cheering and excitement! And then... the bubble burst, and the backlash hit. Comments have popped up on their official people against dirty blog; as well as on their Facebook page, with statements including:

"When did Method become pro-humiliating women sexually? Do you not understand that your target market is women, not frat boys? Why do you find the sexual harassment and humiliation of women so hilarious and such a selling point?"

"Disgusting. I am so, so deeply repulsed by this advertisement. Did you not consider the implications of an image of a woman frantically scrubbing in a shower to erase the feeling of having her space invaded? Did this strike you as funny? How do you think this makes women feel? You just lost a lifelong Method customer, one with a mouth so big that you're about to lose a hundred more. Think."

"You have lost another longtime customer. I will no longer support a brand which has so little regard for women in general and obviously has no idea who their target audience is."

"Huh. I wonder if Method would be okay with commercials that happily depict other forms of illegal activity, such as carjacking, mugging, shoplifting, or slashing someone's tires. Probably not, which makes it interesting that they find illegal activity okay when it comes to sexual harassment, spying and threats."

"I'm really bummed. I love your products and I pretty much use them exclusively for home cleaning. Now I need to find another product to fill the void that will be left, as I can no longer purchase your products. While I agree with your premise that chemicals should be disclosed on the label and the website, I find your execution offensive and downright disgusting. For the record, I have a great sense of humor. Your ad victimizing the woman in the shower just isn't funny. At all. Did you stop to consider for a second that many in your target audience have been raped? Or that women undergo the kinds of comments and humiliation depicted in your ad on a daily basis? That your ad could be deeply, deeply hurtful and offensive? I didn't think so.

When I wrote to you earlier this week, I said that the only thing that would get my business back was a full apology and acknowledgment that your ad was offensive and wrong. Instead I got the canned response I clearly asked you not to send me in my note, telling me I just don't get the humor. I will not be buying Method products in the future, and I will be returning several unopened containers to the store. Judging by the other comments on this post, I'm not alone."

...And it goes on, and on, and on, and...

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So, what do you think? You can catch the ad here, if you haven't already seen it. Here's my take on this ad (keeping in mind that a) I'm not a woman; but b) as a gay man, I definitely understand being politcally correct, etc.) I think they could have ended the video at 45 seconds, and hit all their points well. After that it starts hitting some over the top territory, but I think it's still cute. I'm NOT offended by this ad. I think a lot of people are missing THE point. Those bubbles are dirty, nasty chemicals. Acting like dirty, nasty chemicals. But somehow, instead of people reacting and going "Ugh, those chemicals are nasty. I will no longer be buying bad cleaning products!" It's turned into "Ugh, those chemical bubbles are sexual predators, and I will no longer be buying method!"

What's your take? Honestly, I think everyone is so "PC" these days, we just sit around waiting for something to make us angry, so we can complain about it. And I mean everyone. You really can't do anything without someone wanting to make a fuss. But do you think method crossed the line here, or is everyone just getting way too upset for no reason? Comment away!

14 comments:

Marvo said...

Humor is subjective and sometimes people don't see the humor in things. And sometimes people are just prudes, as in this case.

Also, do these people realize other cleaning product ads demean women. Think about it. When it comes to cleaning products, who's in the ad? Women. It's NEVER a guy. The ads basically tell us that it's the woman's role to clean. That's demeaning to women.

Rebecca said...

WOW. I had no idea there would be any backlash to this ad - I thought it was hysterical. People need to get a grip, and perhaps find something really useful to spend their energy getting mad about.

Mary Rose's said...

Nathan, like you I work in media/marketing, so I think I'm pretty clear on what's good. I like snarky, too. (Like that classic National Lampoon ad, years ago, "Buy this magazine or the dog gets it.") So I viewed the ad via your site a couple days ago, expecting another witty Method ad.

All I could say was, "Eeeewwwwwwwwwwwww."
The ad went too far. Some stuff will always be creepy, and leering at a woman in the shower is one of those things.
("Oooh, loofah! Loofah! Loofah!")

Eewwwwww, all over again.

Sprockets said...

I think people are overreacting and seeing/channeling much more sexism than is actually suggested in the ad.

I do agree that the ad could have made its point if it ended earlier and skipped the "loofah loofah" stuff at the end, but I thought it was funny, and demeaned frat boys, not women. method. is usually pushing the boundaries with their ads. just too bad that in this case it distracted from the actual message of the ad.

Hollywood Justin said...

The blog has been shut down and the ad has been set to 'private'.

Nathan Aaron said...

Right now the video can still be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7QUM9K_NZE

Not sure for how long, though!

Rebecca Welch said...

Method=full of fail.
I think this may be where I switch and promote a different product.

Hollywood Justin said...

You can also download a copy for yourself here. The quality is good:

http://www.coloribus.com/adsarchive/tv-commercials/method-cleaning-products-shiny-suds-572351/

Anonymous said...

Not offended by the ad? Suppose we recast the commercial with a gay man, and he's the one being harassed sexually by heterosexual male predators (oops, I meant "bubbles") clearly intent on intimidating him and causing him humiliation and fear. Now imagine yourself in a real life version of that situation.

Still laughing?

Many (if not most) women are exposed to such harassment every day in places where they should feel safe, including at home, at work, and in public spaces. I imagine that the same people who harass women are the ones who say sexually offensive and derogatory things about gay people.

THE point should not be to promote healthier and more environmentally friendly cleaning alternatives at the expense of creating a toxic environment for women.

Evidence of an Artistic Life said...

I am an older female, in a multi-racial, religiously blended family, with every conceivable sexual orientation and a mother with Alzheimer's. I even have a nephew that is a Republican. I thought the video was a hoot. Somehow, I just can't think of myself, or one of my children or grandchildren, as a bubble and can't seem to personalize it. But, I live in Iowa, so I am a bit sheltered. Lighten up, folks-and have a wonderful holiday! We have so much to be thankful for-and we need to laugh at the rest.

josh said...

um anonymous, I'd still laugh.

Jamison said...

Anonymous needs to grow a pair and put a name with a comment like that. They're bubbles. Bubbles. Seriously people? It was never Method's intent to dehumanize or belittle women. I am sure some advertising specialist never sat down and said "yeah, let's make women feel like shit...."

Bubbles... They're just bubbles. Drink a few beers, relax and LAUGH.

mady said...

Like Mary Rose, I too work in marketing. I like an edgy ad as much as the next person, and Droga5, the agency that created the ad, is known for edgy work.

If the ad had ended w/the bubbles' harassment w/the woman hiding behind the curtain, it would have been great.

I think the ad failed when it had the woman go into the shower, putting up with the situation & looking obviously uncomfortable, and then taking direction from the bubbles to use the loofah.

Also, I think the loofah bit has an automatic gut reaction for many (well, at least for me) because of its popular culture connotations from the sexual harassment case of Bill O'Reilly. For me, the loofah portion was the cherry on top of uncomfortableness.

Karin said...

told ya sooo...

seriously, they could have kept the concept but just change a few lines. the concept is funny, the subject not so much. i personally think they took it just a tad too far. i think all of the extreme reactions are maybe a bit much, but then again i haven't had any life-altering or traumatizing experiences that involve rape or sexual harassment...so i'm not going to pretend to know what it feels like to be in those people's shoes.

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