While I am in no need of a new car currently, when I do need a set of new wheels, I certainly will not be buying a Fiat. The Italian-based car company has created one too many sexist commercials for my taste. Whether or not the company sells decent, working cars is irrelevant to me; the current advertising campaign at Fiat grinds my gears.
Fiat was founded in Italy in 1899. Having since gained success there, the company grew and has sold tiny, odd-looking cars across the globe including: other areas of Europe, Japan, China, Brazil and the United States. The motor company has become well-known for selling small, yet luxurious designs of cars.
Not only that, but Fiat has also become well-known for their quite sexist, and a bit lascivious, commercials. (At least in the U.S., anyway.)
Why am I particularly harping on one brand for sexist commercials when other companies do it all the time? I feel this way because even though it is 2014, we live in a world full of double standards where it is OK to exploit women, but yet, is considered crude if men are treated the same way.
Take the current Renuzit commercial, for instance. Romantic music is playing in the background while the camera pans to different attractive men, all in different rooms of a house. The ad boasts “having a man for every room is just a fantasy.” Pretty comical, right?
So why do people feel this commercial is exploiting men, but do not seem to have a problem when it is a woman being exploited in a commercial? Stuart Elliott from The New York Times called this recent trend of using men in advertising as “‘turnabout is fair play’: After decades of objectifying women to peddle products, Madison Avenue is now doing the same with men.”
Bottom line is this: sex sells. It seems it always has and it seems it always will. But living in the 21st century, I had higher hopes that people wouldn’t stoop that low to sell a product. I understand at the end of the day, a company wants their name to be known and wants consumers to buy their product. So why do we still have to put up with the garbage commercials that they try to market toward us?
Fiat’s current advertisements are a huge culprit of using sex to sell a product. And like I have pointed out, the ads are completely one-sided. Three distinct commercials from Fiat feature scantily-clad women trying to sell the audience the sleek-but-sexy Fiat 500L.
My least favorite of these three commercials is about two women changing for a wedding in the backseat of a Fiat, while two curious men try to peek at them as they undress. Not so bad, as it is not too indecent, right? Just watch the commercial for yourself to see why this particular ad grinds my gears.
There is a young boy sharing the backseat with the almost-naked women, and by the end of the ad, he looks pretty pleased with himself. The point this ad is trying to make is while Fiat sells such small cars, they pack plenty of room for three people in the backseat. So why do we need a commercial that brings this point across in such a light?
As the comments on YouTube have stated about that particular Fiat commercial, if it were a little girl in the backseat with two men changing clothing, then people (read: parents) would be in an uproar about the commercial. So why is it OK to use women as objects, but it isn’t necessarily OK to do so with men?
Other Fiat commercials include women in bathing suits, with a crustacean or an arachnid attempting to tear off one of the women’s bikinis. The Fiat commercial comparing an Romanian supermodel to a car was even banned from airing before 8 p.m. on Australian TV.
These commercials have done exactly what Fiat’s marketing people wanted them to do: get people’s attention, which will then bring more attention to the brand and product. I applaud the evil geniuses in Fiat’s marketing department for getting so many people — myself included — to talk about their product. But it is the way Fiat goes about doing so that grinds my gears. Why does a car have to be sexy? Why must we equate sexy to a woman in a bathing suit?
The double standard the media industry had brought about to make it all right to exploit women — but heaven forbid the same is done to men — also grinds my gears. We are about halfway through the first month of 2014. Two states have legalized the selling of marijuana; only 17 states currently allow same-sex marriage. Although we have made many strides forward in the 21st century, there are still many issues, the way companies go about advertising included, that have yet to find their way into the open-minded world of 2014.