In 1974, Master Lock aired a Super Bowl advertisement featuring a sharpshooter putting a bullet through one of their locks, demonstrating how durable it was. It remains one of the most famous Super Bowl commercials ever.
If that commercial were to air today, Master Lock would be getting hundreds of calls complaining about the unnecessary violence and, under the threat of boycotts, would be forced to remove it from television.
It used to be the Super Bowl would be a format to showcase the year’s best commercials and give the companies airing them a jump on their competition. Today, it’s just a great way to get bad publicity by offending someone.
For example, a Snickers candy bar commercial that aired during Super Bowl XLI featured two men who accidentally kiss and then do outlandish, manly things (such as ripping out their chest hair) to prove they weren’t attracted to each other. Almost immediately, Snickers was forced to pull the ad because of complaints about it being homophobic. Snickers, in its defense, said it believed the ad was well-received by its target demographic and didn’t mean to offend anyone.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the only advertisement that came under fire.
General Motors Corporation is receiving criticism from suicide prevention groups over an ad that featured a robot committing suicide (it was actually a dream) because he made a mistake on the assembly line.
In addition, an ad featuring rapper Kevin Federline working in a fast food restaurant received complaints because a restaurant trade group believed it was insulting people who work in the fast food industry. Federline was forced to apologize.
Obviously people have way too much time on their hands if they have nothing better to do than complain about things they see on television. Suddenly, Americans have all become the Geico caveman and take offense to something that is obviously a harmless joke. If you don’t like the commercial, then don’t buy the product. Don’t ruin the fun for the rest of us by telling us we should feel guilty for not being offended too.
In fact, from what I saw of that Snickers commercial, it was making fun of homophobia, not encouraging it. If anything, it should be closed-minded heterosexual males feeling insulted by it. Yet, you don’t hear them complaining.
It is time for people to lighten up and remember what it is like to have a sense of humor. Otherwise, a few years from now we are going to be like the dull, grey suited people featured in Apple’s famous 1984 commercial. And, unlike them, we won’t have someone running into the room in a tank top and shorts to save us.