Frisky Rant: “Mad Men” Is Making Advertisers Comfortable With Sexism Again

Maybe it was because last night’s episode of “Mad Men” was a little slow—my brain couldn’t process that it was Christmas time—but I found myself actually paying attention to the commercials. Yes, commercials are always annoying, but last night’s were particularly so. I couldn’t help but be especially irked by the blatant sexism in the Clorox and Dove ads. Before you roll your eyes, let me explain what I mean.


The Clorox ad featured a man’s white collared shirt with a lipstick stain and a caption that read, “Getting ad guys out of hot water for generations.” Umm, that’s gross and offensive to both men and women. Now I have a new association with Clorox Bleach: old-fashioned and stupid.

The other commercial which got to me was the Dove Nutrium commercial where a secretary finds two ad guys sitting around trying to come up with a campaign to show the difference between Dove and soap. The secretary politely butts in with a “woman knows best” explanation and the men “flick their cigars.” I’m surprised she didn’t rip her clothes off and invite them to feel the difference. I usually love Dove commercials but I found this one to be way off target from their “women loving themselves” branding. Come on, Dove. Really?

I get that both advertisers might have been going for a tongue-in-cheek vintage vibe, but it didn’t work for me. Just because we are watching a show that takes place in a time in which sexism was more socially acceptable shouldn’t give advertisers the go-ahead to embrace the views of the time to sell products. Yes, we’re wild about “Mad Men,” but no, we don’t want to be transported back to 1964 completely.

So what did you think? Did you find the advertising during “Mad Men” offensive?

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