Thursday, December 10, 2009
7343: Draftfcb Displays Dumbness With Dockers.
Via the New York Daily News, Draftfcb delivers cultural cluelessness again, presenting a Dockers campaign deemed sexist and even pushing anti-gay sentiments.
New Dockers ‘wear the pants’ ad campaign for soft khakis brings charges of sexism
By Rosemary Black
Daily News Staff Writer
Real men are set to wear the pants again - at least if you believe the new Dockers ads for khakis. But some are seeing subtle sexist overtones in the costly new ad campaign.
One of the new ads says, “It’s time to answer the call of manhood,” and the company’s Web site exhorts men to “wear the pants.”
A “Man-ifesto” posted on Dockers.com begins, “Once upon a time, men wore the pants, and wore them well. Women rarely had to open doors … Men took charge because that’s what they did.”
“Disco by disco, latte by foamy non-fat latte, men were stripped of their khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny,” the ad continues.
“Just because the Dockers ads are tongue in cheek does not mean that they’re not sexist,” wrote WalletPop.com blogger Jami Bernard in a recent post. “It’s one thing to encourage men to man up, another to tell them to ‘wear the pants’ — an expression that taps directly into the old question, ‘Who wears the pants in the family?’”
Dockers is reintroducing the brand — which, according to The New York Times, many young men associate with the 1990s and “casual” Fridays — with a big-budget blast including radio, print, poster and online advertising. Social media like Facebook and Twitter will be used in the ambitious ad campaign, which debuted earlier in December, and TV commercials will begin in February, with Dockers ads returning to the Super Bowl after an eight-year hiatus, according to The Times.
But just whom are they hoping to attract with the ads? Jennifer Sey, Dockers’ vice president of global marketing, said in an interview in Brandweek that “sensitivity, chivalry, ambition and decisiveness” are on her wish list for the traits of “the modern idea of a man.” The new promos hopefully will “inspire today’s men to be men,” she said in the interview.
Walletpop.com’s Bernard feels the Dockers’ ads “take an unnecessary snipe at gay men through the use of common wink-wink stereotypes. According to Dockers, a real man doesn’t eat at salad bars or order nonfat lattes.”
The new ad campaign may succeed at making 25- to 35-year-olds khaki-conscious. Jim Calhoun, president for the Dockers brand at Levi Strauss, told The Times, “I don’t think that we, as leaders of the category, have done much to keep the khaki category fresh and exciting, to give the consumers a reason to buy.”
Whether or not younger men will fall for soft slacks in muted shades remains to be seen. But one thing Dockers has going in its favor: an attractive price. The khakis generally sell for $25 to $55.