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February 10, 2012

So, about that Kia commercial

So last week I showed you this Kia teaser featuring Adriana Lima waving a flag and expressed my fears that it was going to be one of "those" car commercials, while holding out hope that Kia would surprise me with a twist.  Well, there was a twist, but did it make for a good commercial?    Here's the complete ad, which does indeed star Adriana Lima, as well as Motley Crue, and a duo of lumberjacks chopping a very large sandwich.  Let's take a look.


So - is it a commercial about a scantily clad lady selling a car?  Not exactly - Adriana Lima is only in the ad for a second or so - but it is a commercial that plays to gender stereotypes.  The wife dreams of being whisked away in a scene from a romance novel, while the husband, overdosed on sleep-sand, has the most stereotypically masculine dream imaginable.  But still, it's all presented with a bit of whimsy, and in the end he does steal his wife away from Harlequin-Romance-Man.  I'm not a fan of gender stereotypes, but in the end, thanks to its tone and the pure hyperbole of the situation, the ad did make me laugh, and I approved.  I was prepared to say "Well played, Kia," in my post today.

And then I went to Kia's official Youtube channel to find the ad.  

And I saw this.


That's right, that's an official Kia Motors post.  Five full hours of Adriana Lima waving a checkered flag, as in the original teaser, in HD.  This undoes any approval I may have had for the original ad, because this is tantamount to Kia saying "Yeah, we made a clever commercial that had some fun with gender stereotypes, but online we'll go all-the-way sexist."  This is especially bothersome to me because not only does it go back to the cro-magnon days of bikini babes in car ads, but it also reinforces the skewed notion that internet users are predominantly male.  If you think this notion doesn't exist, see recent media stories about new social bookmarking site Pinterest - apparently it's appalling that most of Pinterest's users are female.  But - I digress.

Kia, I own one of your cars.  And I really like it.  And I really don't want to have to stop liking you.  I'm not saying put together an ad with a hunky guy waving a flag - one gender stereotype is as bad as the next - but really, were the hamsters so bad?   

Have a lovely weekend, Ask Patty Nation.

Kaeli Gardner



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