Thursday, December 3, 2009

snarky bubbles

Wow, method's made it to that snarky land called! Which usually isn't a good thing. Being how gawker is all snark, all the time.

In a post titled "Everybody's Mad at Dolls, Cartoons", discussing the new African American Barbie and methods recent Shiny Suds online ad (I know, odd combination!), they go on to say:

"We like to "jest" with the advertising industry about how stupid and evil they are, but the truth is that marketing is not easy. Today in Fuzzy Public Outrage: Dolls are racist, and soap bubbles are rapists. Here is one of those "viral" videos you've heard so much about. In it, imaginary cartoon soap bubbles representing chemical soap scum linger around a lady's shower, acting like jerks. That is because the household cleaner company that made it supports rape."

They're jesting (AND snarking!) on that last sentence, as it's linked to this article, over on Advertising Age:

"Household cleaner marketer Method has pulled down a viral video roundly applauded by marketers at the Association of National Advertisers annual conference last month and by most viewers who've seen it because of heated complaints from some women who view it as sexist and even condoning rape.

The "Shiny Suds" video from Droga5, New York, the agency's first work for Method since winning the account a year ago, was a parody of traditional household cleaner advertising meant to support the Household Product Labeling Acts, which would require disclosure of ingredients in household cleaners.

The video, while taken down late last week by Method from its website and Droga5 from YouTube, remains available through unauthorized versions.

Scrubbing Bubbles, which the next day turn into leering perverts commenting on the woman taking a shower and urging her to use a loofah. The message: "You deserve to know what chemicals are in your cleaners."

The video got more than 700,000 views in a week on YouTube and a five-star rating from viewers before Method pulled the plug. Method competitor Unilever seemed to like it, too. Search ads for its Dove brand appeared alongside results for searches on the phrase "Shiny Suds" the day the video first appeared Nov. 18. (A spokeswoman for Dove didn't return an e-mail for comment by deadline).

Little did attendees at the ANA or most commenters on YouTube and Twitter know, however, that the Shiny Suds were really about degrading women and promoting rape, at least in the opinion of commenters on one blog, Shakesville, which posted the video in its "Today in Rape Culture" section.

That elicited more than 100 angry comments from posters, many of whom said they would stop buying Method products and helped produce some of the hundreds of negative responses to the company's website Among the posts: "Making us fear chemical residue from cleaning products because it's tied into a rape threat is beyond sickening."

Of course, that's not the point Method was trying to make. "Due to the sensitive nature of [concerned viewers'] concerns we chose to take down the video," a spokeswoman for Method said in an email statement.

"We received a great deal of feedback about the Shiny Suds video, much of it overwhelmingly positive," she said. "We also received feedback from concerned viewers. ... As with all media messages, people will interpret our video in different ways. The purpose of the video was to raise awareness for transparency in cleaning product ingredients, to which we remain committed."

Besides offending some people, the video did result in 2,500 letters supporting the Household Products Labeling Acts to more than 400 members of Congress, according to Method."


I guess they did manage to get some positive support out of this after all (2,500 letters!) But it's telling to me that over on gawker, commenters immediately began repeating many of the negative posts we've already seen on Facebook, and method's people against dirty blog. I'm thinking method will be glad when this bubble has popped, and gone away.

1 comment:

Sprockets said...


All of this just reinforces to me that the people having a negative reaction to the ad are 1) a very small minority and 2) over-reacting.

It's interesting that while method. was clearly trying to use the fear of sexual harassment to paint the cleaning companies in a bad light, than with a few people this back-fired and instead they thought method. was being sexist and promoting the sexual harassment of women!

Thinking the ad goes too far is one thing, but actually thinking that method. is promoting misogyny and harassment, that's a really big stretch.

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