The 10 Most Sexist Ads of 2014
We may be several decades past the Mad Men era of advertising, but that doesn’t mean Madison Avenue executives have mended their sexist ways. This year, some commercial and print ads were full of so much sexual innuendo and gender stereotyping that even Don Draper might blush. How bad are they? Check out 10 of the most egregiously sexist advertisements of 2014.
1. Spirit Airlines’ “Go Down on Us”
“We’re shaving our fares so you’ll go down on us…to the Caribbean.” Spirit Airlines kicked off the year with that oral sex–referencing clunker. “The animated ad launches after clicking into the Spirit website, not-so-subtly declaring that the airline is shaving its prices before a razor sweeps across a photo of a woman’s pelvis, removing hair to reveal the good deals on airfare to be had,” reported the travel site Canoe.
2. Old Spice’s hot tub “Mandroid”
Women in bikinis? Check. In a hot tub? Check. Women in bikinis in a hot tub adoringly hanging on a guy’s every word because he smells totally amazing? Sadly, check. To add insult to injury, the dude these ladies are fawining over is not even real—he’s a robot.
3. Estrella Insurance hopes to drops rates and women’s pants
Perhaps one of the 10 Transit Commandments needs to be that riders will not be subjected to sexist advertising. This ad from Estrella Insurance was spotted this fall by Instagram user alvarezt8 on the side of a bus in Miami. “No one drops them like we do”—we doubt that even the smarmiest 1950s or ’60s ad guy would have come up with something so crass.
4. Subway’s “Sexy Halloween” costume commercial
Just in case any ladies out there were planning to chow down on Halloween candy, in this offensive commercial Subway helpfully reminded us that our main goal in life should be keeping the pounds off so that we can fit into a sexy devil costume.
5. VietJet’s bikini-clad flight attendants
Maybe the executives at VietJet were trying to copy the sexism of their peers at Spirit Airlines. Or perhaps they thought travelers would eagerly snap up plane tickets if they believed that flight attendants (or are they lingerie models?) wearing yellow and red bikinis and red thigh-high fishnet stockings would be giving the safety instructions. The company claimed that the images were leaked and were not going to be used as advertisements. Right: We’re supposed to believe VietJet spent money on this photo shoot just for the fun of it.
6. Sony’s “Doctor” PlayStation ad
“I bet you’ve already done it today. And I bet you really enjoyed yourself. How many times did you do it yesterday?” With lines like those, it’s no wonder this Sony PlayStation YouTube advertisement came under fire for its not-so-subtle masturbation references. It’s definitely Exhibit A of how not to go after the teen male demographic.
7. Coca-Cola milk pinup girls
The idea of the soda company getting into milk production turned Stephen Colbert’s stomach. And then there were the pinup girl advertisements Coke pulled in early December after complaints from customers.
8. The Kia soul hamsters
Normally these little hamsters are cute and cuddly, and they get cool points for dancing to Lady Gaga’s “Applause.” But then there’s this ad where the male hamsters are keeping the female hamster in a ball until they decide to conduct a Weird Science–style experiment on her. The result: She turns into the Jessica Rabbit of hamsters.
9. Direct TV’s marionette wife
So much for gender equality in the home. According to this advertisement from Direct TV, all guys really want is a wife that resembles a television remote: controllable with the push of a button.
10. Carl’s Jr. X-Men commercial
While the fast-food company isn’t exactly known for socially conscious advertisements, its X-Men commerical sinks to a new low. The sexist message is clear: Ladies, burgers are only for manly men. Guys, unless you’re a manly man who chows down on a burger, you’re nothing.