Let's start from the premise that these ads take place in a
world where hamster-people exist. OK. We all on the same page?
Question 1: There are still pet hamsters in
this universe? Because, seriously, there's a hamster-size hamster
rolling around in a hamster ball in the lab. I had a sudden
flashback to being a wee lad and realizing how monumentally screwed
up it was that Mickey Mouse was friends with Goofy and
owned a dog. (And before you try to claim Goofy wasn't a dog, his
original name was Dippy Dawg.) How did Goofy feel about that?
Question 2: Is that Mr. Frobinson of Sprint
Framily fame in the hamster ball?
He's about to be unemployed, it seems, so maybe he was in the
office applying for work.
But, no, it's not a ridiculous hamster voiced by Andrew Dice
Clay. After a lab accident, it turns out that the hamster in the
ball is a sexy female hamster.
Question 3: Wait. Did our dude hamsters
own this female hamster, which was kept in a ball?
Seriously. Anyone have answers?
Question 4: Are all pet hamsters in this
universe sexy female hamsters?
Turns out, possibly yes, because our dude hamsters rush to the
nearest pet store where they scoop up a dozen or so pet hamsters.
For a brief moment you tell yourself this might turn out OK, this
might be about setting the other guys free, a sort of "Dawn of the
Planet of the Hamsters" -- complete with an origins story of the
dude Hamsters as some sort of Teenage Mutant Ninja Hamsters.
But all of the hamsters brought back to the lab and zapped with
the electric ray turn out to be sexy female hamsters who want
nothing more than to dance with the nerdy dude hamsters.
Question 5: Wait, did they gain all their
weight back? Are they on a yo-yo diet?
Possibly. In the press release David & Goliath Chief Creative Officer
Colin Jeffery (who also directed the ad) says, "To suit their smart
new ride, the hamsters started hitting the books instead of the
gym. Smart is the new sexy, and the hamsters are using their wits,
and a fortuitous lab accident, to their advantage."
Question 6: So, the best way to advertise a
futuristic electric car is with three techno nerds creating hot
women in a lab for a dance party. Was this ad funded by a Silicon
Valley VC firm?
I'm not one to cry "sexist!" at the drop of a hat. Hell, a lot
of people consider me a knuckle-dragger. But, boy, did this ad make
my inner Jezebel cringe.
The fact is we're living in a time when some pretty major
marketers, from P&G to Unilver to Verizon, are making a point
to run advertising that builds up women and girls.
That's not to say that the boys can't still have fun. And I
think there are some companies in today's marketplace who are
stretching so hard to connect their brands to women's issues that
they come off as pathetic or cynical or both.
But considering this is running during MTV's VMA Show and that
the target demographic is also being treated to efforts from the
likes of Old Navy, which put young women front and center as smart,
scientific-minded protagonists, it seems a bit retrograde -- and
even insulting to male nerds if you think about it -- to go the
"Weird Science" route.