At this point, we’re all kind of numb to the constant bombardment of images exhorting us to buy some product or other: look good, feel great, get all the ladies. But at the very least, some brave brands and ad agencies have used their platform to challenge cultural taboos and make powerful statements about equality. Just look at Cheerios’ 2014 Super Bowl ad showcasing an interracial couple, or Wells Fargo’s “Learning Sign Language” commercial spotlighting two deaf, LGBT adoptive mothers.
So, as these things go, it was only a matter of time before Mexican agencies starting putting their own spin on this growing tendency toward ad-tivism. And what we got is a hopelessly tone-deaf, blatantly machista celebration of light-skinned Telenovela beauty. Go figure.
The ad in question, entitled “Brindo con placer | Himno”, comes from Yoplait México and seems to be taking a crack at female empowerment – and falling flat on its face. The cringe-worthy two-minute spot features a candle-lit, old-timey tavern filled with impeccably styled women wearing plastic smiles and kicking back containers of Yoplait.
If this wasn’t weird enough already, the women dance about and sing a sea shanty whose verses are so incoherent they border on Dadaist poetry. Driven along by an insubstantial, cotton-candy refrain, “Let’s toast to being women!”, the song seems to celebrate gender equality with nonsense lines like: “I wake up, just like my husband / I go to work, just like my husband / I come home exhausted, just like my husband / but I cook dinner.”
Then, with no explanation, there’s a woman with a towel on her head, then a woman in a bathrobe, then a pregnant woman; which could be a clever surrealist hijacking of advertising language if it weren’t celebrating machista stereotypes and suggesting women be proud of their continued subjugation.
To make the whole thing more pathetic, the agency behind this atrocity probably Googled their way to Key & Peele’s hilarious “Pirate Chanty” sketch – which playfully reimagines boy’s club misogyny as a celebration of feminine strength – then shamelessly copied the format with little regard for pesky things like rhyme and meter.
Since the spot was released, Mexican social media has blown up with everything from outrage to vicious mocking, accompanied by the usual anti-feminist blather. As for Yoplait – at least they tried, right? Now, please, go try again.