Is K-Mart’s Ad a “Reverse Double Standard?”

K-Mart, the brand that has given us some memorable broadcast ads like the “Ship Your Pants” ad and the “Big Gas Savings” ad has come out with a new co-branded Christmas ad for Joe Boxer boxer shorts. The ad, above, features a number of boxer-clad young men, playing … um … “Jingle Bells.” Some may find this ad funny, while some may feel that it crosses the line of decency. Steve Hall, of the advertising blog AdRants, writes that the ad probably won’t generate much backlash. “However,” he asserts, “[if] it were six women spinning jingle bells from atop their lingerie-clad boobs, that would be another story entirely. Reverse standard? Double reverse standard?” What do you think?

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5 thoughts on “Is K-Mart’s Ad a “Reverse Double Standard?”

  1. Jeff – Really enjoying the blog. You are finding some very provocative issues in journalism and media, and are raising some excellent questions

  2. Jeffrey Maciejewski says:

    Thanks, Doug! I’m trying. Fortunately (or unfortunately), there’s always something fresh to talk about!

  3. Brock Nanson says:

    The litmus test I use when deciding if something has ‘crossed the line’ is asking myself whether I’d try to distract a kid younger than 12 or 13 from watching the commercial (and thus prevent them from asking the inevitable question). This one fails that test.

    Double standard? I’d say ‘absolutely’. Why? I think women have been put in this position more often than not, so the battle isn’t always about the content, but about defending the standard itself. Men in general likely don’t care about this sort of commercial. Perhaps because we don’t have a history of being objectified… or maybe we’re just wired differently and are less sensitive to it.

    My first thought after noting the apparent ‘crossing of the line’ was that perhaps there should also be a racist connection to colour and whether the bell is tinkley or bassy… so go figure… 😉

  4. dakotahbraun says:

    I saw this commercial on TV a few nights ago for the first time. I thought it was hilarious! For some reason, it reminds me of the Hershey Kiss commercial of the kisses playing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” which I also find wonderful!

    I think these types of commercials are so against the grain when it comes to holiday-themed commercials. We are used to seeing companies offer lay-away, price match, etc. when parent’s start to think about purchasing gifts for their kids, and how such-and-such gift will truly make the holiday’s something to remember. While those spots are probably effective (I haven’t seen the ratings, but given that they’re on every holiday season, I am assuming they are effective), it’s nice to have a change of pace.

    As far as the double standard, unfortunately, I totally think it is. Maybe it is because women have been continually objectified in the media and are sensitive about it while men aren’t particularly. But maybe that’s why Joe Boxer felt this to be edgy enough to grab attention, yet not too edgy to cause uproar.

  5. Jeffrey Maciejewski says:

    Well said, Dakotah! Thanks for your comment and for visiting the site.

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