2013 was a strange and interesting year when it came to advertising. There were, as there have been in years past, plenty of ads encouraging men to act manly… typically in the most regressive of ways. While some of these ads were humorous and full of irony, others were aggressive, bullying and in some cases downright offensive. It seems that we can’t get through a year without some idiot advertiser depicting violence, bullying and/or violence against women as something funny or enjoyable for men to do.
On a positive note, at least one of the ads that took this approach, while also being full of racist depictions (that crazy Mountain Dew goat ad… which you’ll find in the compilation) was pulled due to public outcry.
On the other hand, I found more ads this year depicting men in gentle, care-taking roles then I ever have before. Plenty of these ads depicted men as fathers, taking care of and playing with their kids (not disciplining, not being stern or distant) including one campaign that depicted stay-at-home dads in a very positive light. But I also found a few ads that depicted men acting in caring ways, even when they weren’t fathers… The most famous of these being the popular AT&T “It’s Not Complicated” series.
In short, it seems that the struggle to redefine masculinity continues. For years it seemed the old guard, those promoting a more retrograde, limited form of masculinity were “winning” but it seems that the tide may be turning. I look forward to 2014 and the new crop of ads that bombarding our senses throughout the upcoming year. Until then, enjoy this year’s Manly Ads compilation…
Oh! One final note; this year I changed the format of the video a lot. I dropped the supercut approach in favor of something a bit more descriptive. Hopefully this new approach will make the video more usable in classrooms and presentations. I’d love to hear thoughts on this new format in the comments below. Enjoy!