A Very Un-Holiday Season
As the Holiday season nears closer and closer as does the excitement for festivities, traditions, and cheer. While most holiday ad campaigns are uplifting, positive, and centered around family morals, I personally was appalled by Bloomingdales' newest campaign that states, “Spike your best friend’s eggnog when they’re not looking.” Not only are the words extremely offensive, but the image insinuates many things as well. The campaign shows an attractive male leering at a young women who seems to be joyously laughing and distracted by something else. It is as if the attractive models, fancy clothes, and good lighting are supposed to glorify the fact that he is spiking her drink. The underlying statement is covered by the glitz and the glam and once again rape is seen as a casual occurrence at a simple holiday party.
I’ve noticed a theme in society as of lately and that is that rape is taken lightly. Even on my own college campus we get so many crime alerts that one may become immune to hearing about it. The issue here is not just that the ad gives off the impression that it is acceptable to get your friend intoxicated so she will be “easier.” Essentially date rape. But this is an advertising committee that thought that this concept would sell. Yes we all know that sex sells, but does that mean that rape sells as well? No. If an advertising committee for a large company like Bloomingdales puts out a campaign, they usually put in the research, time, and study in each advertisement to see what will cater to the public. Does this mean that subconsciously the public is saying that date rape is okay? In the consumer society we live in, we are constantly surrounded by propaganda. Advertisements affect our opinions without us even knowing the affect they have. It’s a scary thought to think that some people might find this ad humorous or light hearted.
Within my age group we live in a culture where the holidays are an excuse to drink heavily, party hard, and make irrational decisions. Unfortunately, this overlaps into popular culture, which is a large representation of our beliefs and morals. This ad is glitzy and glamorous. The models appear to be the life of the party; young and carefree. It is telling the young, carefree crowd that views it that spiking a drink is admissable when in reality it is so not. If those are the morals that Bloomingdales lives by then I’m sorry but I do not need to shop there. Although I wish the ad were never released in the first place the amazing thing about advertisement as an art form is that you can take a stand with it or without it. If something is offensive to one, there are plenty other department stores that can be chosen to shop at so that money is not supporting a company that makes light of date rape. That is the power as an individual consumer within society, and it is empowering to know that one can make the decision and have an affect on a corporation like Bloomingdales. Yes, as a single consumer I will not make that large of a difference, but if every single person who reads this article chooses to skip Bloomingdales, then eventually it might have an affect. Capitalism while not the best system, allows for the individual to hold that power and shop somewhere that upholds their same morals and beliefs.
Bloomingdales shot themselves in the foot with this campaign. As I was surfing the Internet to find more information about it, it was satisfying to discover that many people were just as appalled by the article as I was. Advertisement may not be seen as an art form to some but it holds so much power of persuasion and people will subconsciously believe what they see and if something as terrible and gruesome as date rape is shown positively people may see it as a light topic. Although they did issue a formal apology, it is not enough. The ad is still out on the internet and once it is on the internet it never goes away. I think that along with the formal apology the appropriate action should have been to reprint the ad with a different message. A picture is worth a thousand words, but the words printed on the picture alter the entire perception. If the ad simply would have stated, “share eggnog with your best friend” the entire meaning would have been altered. No terrible innuendo about the casualty of rape, just the jolliness of the holidays. Bloomingdales took a positive feeling and turned it dark with one simple sentence and I think it is important that people realize that words mean everything and it does not matter what the artist meant with their words, it is how the public interprets them. Hopefully Bloomingdales will come up with something to save their ass because I know for a fact I am not shopping there this holiday season.