Nick Gilyard was one of Peppercomm’s finest interns ever. In this guest blog, the Western Kentucky University star waxes poetic on gender bashing in advertising. You go, Bro!
My friends and I were dining at a local establishment recently and moments after we were seated we discovered an interesting ad. The trifold that sat in the middle of our table would become the catalyst to an in-depth dinner conversation.
The advertisement was for a frozen cosmopolitan that included a description and great photo of the drink. What was unusual about the ad was a smaller and very targeted ad for the same drink in the lower right corner. If you are thinking it was promoting a skinny-cosmo for those watching the calories, think again. The first sentence in the box read “Not just for the Ladies!” Ladies and Gentlemen (but really gentlemen), I give you *Drum Roll* the Frozen CosBro! A “more generous” version of the frozen cosmo- the same delicious flavors served up in a “more guy-friendly” glass.
When our waiter came over to ask what we would like to drink, I uncontrollably blurted out “Well definitely not the CosBro,” which elicited a very perplexed look from the waiter.
When I first read the text I was in complete disbelief that a chain restaurant would have such a blatantly sexist ad. There are three major issues I have with this advertisement:
1. The rhetoric “Not just for the Ladies” implies that a cosmo is a drink only to be enjoyed by women. Which subsequently suggests that every man who has or will ever order a cosmo should be embarrassed by his drink choice.
2. The name CosBro is offensive and stupid. Not all guys are bros and adding bro to a product does not make it more masculine. By this logic we should have Brolish (clear coat nail polish– not just for the ladies) or Broatmeal (oatmeal– not just for the ladies). I think the reason that these silly and unnecessary products do not exist is quite Bro-vious .
3. It’s bigger and only $1 more. The ladies receive a roughly 8oz glass for $5.99 while the “bros” are offered nearly double the amount for only $1 more. Perhaps this is retaliation against 2 for 1 ladies’ night.
Although Carrie Bradshaw popularized the cosmo on “Sex in the City”, the company was wrong to decide that the drink is exclusively for women. There are similarly sexist ads all over the web and, after facing backlash from customers or the media, companies often issue apologies or pull the ads altogether. But one would hope that in 2013 our ad professionals would be wiser.
How do you feel about the CosBro or any other ads you’ve seen with similar, exclusionary messages? Is there a better approach to gender-targeted marketing?