Converting the Masses
Advertising Nature and Gender in the Post #MeToo Movement Era
Keywords:Commercial advertising, gender, nature, religion, #MeToo, Donald Trump
Drawing on the work of Naomi Wolf who described a transition in commercial advertising inspired by the feminist movement, I examine the ways commercial marketing strategies have changed in the wake of the election of Donald Trump and the #MeToo movement. This shift illuminates the ideological functions of advertisements with regard to understandings of gender and nature. Employing Benson Saler’s family resemblances approach, and further drawing on the work of David Chidester and Katheryn Lofton I show that advertisements function in religion-resembling ways in pop culture. By examining a number of corporate advertisements between 2004 and 2019, I show a shift in some corporations’ marketing strategies in light of political tensions concerning sexual harassment and climate change in the United States. These changing strategies also represent a call to action by forming community around shared causes, urging consumers to choose wisely and think about something bigger than themselves.
Adams, Carol J. 1990. The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory (New York: Bloomsbury).
Adams, Carol J. 2014. ‘Why a Pig? A Reclining Nude Reveals the Intersections of Race, Sex, Slavery, and Species’, in Carol J. Adams and Lori Gruen (eds.), Ecofeminism: Feminist Intersections with other Animals and the Earth (New York: Bloomsbury): 208-24.
Allen, Cooper, and Fredreka Schouten. 2016. ‘Trump Apologizes for Video Bragging about Groping Women’, USA Today, 7 October.
Andersen, Robin. 2000. ‘Selling “Mother Earth”: Advertising and the Myth of the Natural’, in Richard Hofrichter (ed.), Reclaiming the Environmental Debate: The Politics of Health in a Toxic Culture: Urban and Industrial Environments (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press): 201-17.
Audi. 2016. ‘Duel’. ‘Audi Presidential Debate Commercial’, YouTube, 26 September. Test Drive, 1:32, 20 May 2017. Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNSyPkCYyEg.
Audi. 2016. 2017. ‘Daughter’. ‘Audi #DriveProgressive Super Bowl Commercial: “Daughter”’, YouTube, 5 February. CauseMarketing, 1:16, 19 March 2017. Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk6VIswOCmU.
Bertig, Evan (@corals?nest). 2014. ‘I of?cially love Aston Martin right now. What a great and truthful ad’, Twitter, 5 March, 8:20pm.
BMW. 2008. ‘You Know You’re Not the First’, at Green, Dominic. ‘The 10 Sleaziest Car Ads of the Century’, Business Insider, 30 March 2013. Online: https://www.businessinsider.com/sleaziest-car-ads-of-the-21st-century-2013-3#bmw-hellas--you-know-youre-not-the-?rst-after-bmws-greek-agency-likened-used-cars-to-women-who-were-not-virgins-there-was-a-backlash-not-least-because-the-girl-looked-to-be-no-older-than-16-bmw-did-not-run-this-ad-2.
Bradbury, Ray. 1952. ‘A Sound of Thunder’, Collier Magazine, 28 June.
Brierley, Pepper (@pepperpotdog). 2014. ‘@Mark_Whitelegge @FloppyEarRacing @PMPRacing7 @DC_F1 one for the boys this! Aston Martin’s new Advert! Pre owned cars’. Twitter, 4 March, 4:13pm.
Carbon Brief Staff. 2017. ‘Global Reaction: Trump Pulls US out of Paris Agreement on Climate Change’, Carbon Brief, 2 June. Online: https://www.carbonbrief.org/global-reaction-trump-pulls-us-out-paris-agreement-climate-change.
Carl’s Jr. 2005. ‘Spicy BBQ Six Dollar Burger’, at ‘Paris Hilton’s Carl’s Jr. Commercial 2005’, YouTube, Paris Hilton, 0:32, 23 June 2017. Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOTumW7kXuM.
Carl’s Jr. 2009. ‘Western Bacon Six Dollar Burger’, at ‘Carl’s Jr. Commercial—Padma, Extended Version!.mp4’, YouTube, MatSunNightOut, 1:00, 15 September 2010. Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQDit9-z1Xw.
Carl’s Jr. 2012. ‘Southwest Patty Melt’, at ‘Kate Upton’s Carl’s Jr. Commercial’, YouTube, Sam Kitling, 0:55, 4 April 2012. Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AdViveJYD0.
Carl’s Jr. 2015. ‘All Natural Burger’, at ‘Au Naturel—The All Natural Burger Carl’s Jr. Commercial—Charlotte McKinney’, YouTube, Funnycoolhotvideos, 0:52, 8 June 2017. Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsPmHMCQVIU.
Carter, David. 2004. Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution (New York: St Martin’s Press).
Chappell, Bill. 2015. ‘“It Was Installed for This Purpose”: VW’s U.S. CEO Tells Congress About Defeat Device’, NPR, 8 October.
Chidester, David. 2005. Authentic Fakes: Religion and American Popular Culture (Berkley and Los Angeles: University of California Press).
Cortese, Anthony J. 2016 . Provocateur: Images of Women and Minorities in Advertising (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Little?eld).
Davenport, Carol. 2017. ‘With Trump in Charge, Climate Change References Purged from Website’, The New York Times, 20 January.
Diaz, Ann-Christine. 2017. ‘Carl’s Jr. and Hardees’ Brand goes with “Food, Not Boobs”’, AdAge, 29 March.
Dooley, Kevin J. 2009. ‘The Butter?y Effect of the ‘Butter?y Effect”’, Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences 13.3: 279-88.
Dr. Pepper. 2019a. ‘The Adventures of Dr. Pepper—Cooler from the Future :30’, YouTube, Dr. Pepper, 0:30, 3 May 2019. Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8cynJC_-Ns.
Dr. Pepper. 2019b. ‘The Adventures of Dr. Pepper—Butter?y Effect :15’, YouTube, Dr. Pepper, 0:15, 20 May 2019. Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k54vpyc2z-Q.
Ewing, Jack. 2015. ‘Volkswagen Says 11 Million Cars Worldwide are Affected in Diesel Deception’, The New York Times, 22 September.
Ewing, Jack. 2018. ‘Ex-Volkswagen C.E.O. Charged with Fraud Over Diesel Emissions’, The New York Times, 3 May.
Fahrenthold, David A. 2016. ‘Trump Recorded Having Extremely Lewd Conversation about Women in 2005’, The Washington Post, 8 October.
Friedan, Betty. 1963. The Feminine Mystique (New York: W.W. Norton & Co.).
Goffman, Erving. 1976. Gender Advertisements (New York: Harper & Row). Doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-16079-2.
Haggerty, Dan. 1974. The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams. VHS. Directed by Richard Friedenberg. Sunn Classic Pictures.
Hall, Bruce F. 2002. ‘A New Model for Advertising Effectiveness’, Journal of Advertising Research 42: 23-31. Doi: https://doi.org/10.2501/JAR-42-2-23-31.
Hansen, Anders. 2006. ‘Discourse of Nature in Advertising’, The European Journal of Communication Research 27.4: 499-511.
Hoffman, Alice. 2020. ‘Introduction to “a Sound of Thunder”’, Ploughshares 46.3: 238-42. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1353/plo.2020.0130.
Holthaus, Eric. 2016a. ‘Why I’m Trying to Preserve Federal Climate Data Before Trump Takes Of?ce’, The Washington Post, 13 December 2016.
Holthaus, Eric. (@EricHolthau). 2016b. ‘On January 20, 2017, America will become a petrostate—led by a fascist dictator w/ Exxon CEO as Sec of State. This is not a drill. #resist’, Twitter, 10 December 2016, 2:50pm. Online: https://twitter.com/EricHolthaus/status/807673907830407168.
Holthaus, Eric. (@EricHolthau). 2016c. ‘Scientists: Do you have a US.gov climate database that you don’t want to see disappear? Add it here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/12-RqTqQxuxHNOln3H5ciVztsDMJcZ2SVs1BrfqYCc/edit#gid=0’, Twitter 10 December 2016, 11:20pm. Online: https://twitter.com/EricHolthaus/status/807802102416228352.
Holthaus, Eric. (@EricHolthaus). 2016d. ‘Search (from:EricHolthaus) since:2016-12-01 until:2016-12-13’, Twitter, 1 December 2016–13 December 2016. Online: https://twitter.com/search?q=(from%3AEricHolthaus)%20since%3A2016-12-01%20until%3A2016-12-13&src=typed_query.
Homans, Margaret. 1986. Bearing the Word: Language and Female Experience in Nineteenth-century Women's Writing (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).
Horovitz, Bruce. 2014. ‘Carl’s Jr. to Roll out “Natural Burger”’, USA Today, 9 December.
Ivakhiv, Adrian J. 2013. Ecologies of the Moving Image: Cinema, Affect, Nature (Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press).
Jacobson, Louis. 2016. ‘Yes, Donald Trump did call climate change a Chinese hoax’, PolitiFact, 3 June.
Kain, Erik. 2011. ‘Dr. Pepper’s Bizarre New “Not for Women” Ad Campaign’, Forbes, 18 October.
Kantor, Jodi, and Megan Twohey. 2017. ‘Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades’, The New York Times, 5 October.
Kite, Lexi, and Lindsay Kite. 2016. ‘Help Us #CuttheCarls Because Women are #MoreThanMeat’, Beauty Rede?ned, 8 December. Online: https://beautyrede?ned.org/cut-the-carls/.
Krech, Shepherd III. 2000. The Ecological Indian: Myth and History (New York and London: W.W. Norton & Co.).
Kumar, D. Prasanna, and K. Venkateswara Raju. 2013. ‘The Role of Advertising in Consumer Decision Making’, IOSR Journal of Business and Management 14.4: 37-45. Doi: https://doi.org/10.9790/487X-1443745.
Lofton, Kathryn. 2017. Consuming Religion (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press). Doi: https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226482125.001.0001.
Lorde, Audre. 2007 . ‘The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House’, in Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (Berkeley, CA: Crossing Press). 110-14.
Lorenz, Edward. 1972. ‘Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butter?y’s Wings in Brazil Set a Tornado in Texas?’, Lecture, 29 December. 139th meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Washington, DC.
MacDonald, Scott. 2006. ‘Up Close and Political: Three Short Ruminations on Ideology in the Nature Film’, Film Quarterly 59.3: 4-21. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2006.59.3.4.
MacLeod, Duncan. 2016. ‘Audi Duel—Presidential Debate’, Inspiration Room, 28 September.
McCombs, Brandy (Associated Press). 2014. ‘Utah Women target Carl’s Jr. for racy ads’, Daily Herald, 2 September. Provo, UT.
McGuinness, Damien. 2015. ‘VW crisis won’t break on global goals’, BBC News, 16 October
Malkin, Bonnie. 2016. ‘Trump’s groping boasts inspire thousands of women to share sexual assault stories on Twitter’, The Guardian, 9 October.
Maloney, Alli. 2016. ‘#PussyGrabsBack Creators Amanda Duarte and Jessica Bennet Interview’, Teen Vogue, 21 October.
Microsoft. 2017. ‘Change the Odds’, YouTube, Microsoft, 1:00, 7 March 2017. Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5soEtBwH0Y.
Microsoft. 2017. 2019a. ‘Inspire Girls to #MakeWhatsNext’. Online: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/philanthropies/make-whats-next.
Microsoft. 2017. 2019b. ‘#FeelThePride’. Online: https://www.microsoft.com/inculture/social-good/inclusion/.
Microsoft. 2017. 2019c. ‘Building and Enabling a Sustainable Future’. Online: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/corporate-responsibility/sustainability/operations.
Milano, Alyssa (@Alyssa_Milano). 2017. ‘If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write “me too” as a reply to this tweet’, Twitter, 15 October 2017, 4:21pm. Online: https://twitter.com/alyssa_milano/status/919659438700670976?lang=en.
Moran, Karen. 2011. ‘Dr. Pepper: Stop the Sexist “It’s Not for Women” Ad Campaign’. Online: https://www.change.org/p/dr-pepper-stop-the-sexist-its-not-for-women-ad-campaign.
Nathanael (@ellisnathanael). 2014. ‘I don’t want a new Aston Martin, I want mine preowned!’, Twitter, 4 March, 9:08am.
Nichols, Bill. 2001. Introduction to Documentary (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press).
Nudd, Tim. 2009. ‘Padma’s Hamburger Ad Rede?nes Food Porn’, AdWeek , 26 March.
Owen, Tess. 2017. ‘The Women’s March turnout is at 3.2 million and counting’, Vice News, 23 January.
Planet Worldie (@PlanetWorldie). 2014. ‘#worldie advert by @astonmartin promoting used cars. #TopAdvertising’, Twitter, 9:36am, 21 November. Online: https://twitter.com/PlanetWorldie/status/535803945198047233.
PepsiCo. 2012. ‘Mountain Man’, at ‘Dr. Pepper Commercial—Mountain Man’, YouTube, Sexishazaify, 0:31, 7 April 2013. Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mY4QCIa3dVQ.
Plutchik, Robert. 2001. ‘The Nature of Emotions: Human Emotions Have Deep Evolutionary Roots a Fact that May Explain their Complexity and Provide Tools for Clinical Practice’, American Scientist 89.4: 344-50. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1511/2001.4.344.
Puglise, Nicole. 2016. ‘Athletes on Trump’s “locker room banter”: that’s not how we talk at work’, The Guardian, 10 October.
Rott, Nathan. 2021. ‘Biden Moves to Have U.S. Rejoin Climate Accord’, NPR, 20 January. Online: https://www.npr.org/sections/inauguration-day-live-updates/2021/01/20/958923821/biden-moves-to-have-u-s-rejoin-climate-accord.
Saler, Benson. 1993. Conceptualizing Religion: Immanent Anthropologists, Transcendent Natives, and Unbounded Categories (Leiden: Brill). Doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004378797.
Simon, Paul, and Art Garfunkel. 1965. ‘The Sound of Silence’, Columbia Records. 7-inch single, 12 September.
Sini, Rozina. 2017. ‘“Me Too” and the scale of sexual abuse’, BBC News, 7 November.
Sturgeon, Noël. 2009. Environmentalism in Popular Culture (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press).
Taylor, Bron. 2010. Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future (Berkley and Los Angeles: University of California Press). Doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/9780520944459.
Taylor, Bron. (ed.). 2013. Avatar and Nature Spirituality (Waterloo, ON: Wilfred Laurier University Press).
Taylor, Sarah McFarland. 2019. Ecopiety: Green Media and the Dilemma of Environmental Virtue (New York: New York University Press). Doi: https://doi.org/10.18574/nyu/9781479810765.001.0001.
‘The Paris Agreement’. 2018. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 22 October. Online: https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement.
Trump, Donald (@realDonaldTrump). 2012. ‘The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive’, Twitter, 6 November, 2:15pm. Online: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/265895292191248385.
Trump, Donald (@realDonaldTrump). 2013a. ‘Ice storm rolls from Texas to Tennessee—I’m in Los Angeles and it’s freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!’, Twitter, 6 December, 10:13am. Online: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/408977616926830592.
Trump, Donald (@realDonaldTrump). 2013b. ‘We should be focused on magni?cently clean and healthy air and not distracted by the expensive hoax that is global warming’, Twitter, 6 December, 10:38am. Online: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/408983789830815744.
Trump, Donald (@realDonaldTrump). 2014a. ‘NBC News just called it the great freeze—coldest weather in years. Is our country still spending money on the GLOBAL WARMING HOAX?’, Twitter, 25 January, 6:48pm. Online: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/427226424987385856.
Trump, Donald (@realDonaldTrump). 2014b. ‘Snowing in Texas and Louisiana, record setting freezing temperatures throughout the country and beyond. Global warming is an expensive hoax!’ Twitter, 29 January, 1:27am. Online: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/428414113463955457.
Trump, Donald (@realDonaldTrump). 2018. ‘Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS—Whatever happened to Global Warming?’, Twitter, 21 November, 7:23pm. Online: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1065400254151954432.
Trump, Donald (@realDonaldTrump). 2014–2019. ‘Search: “global warming” (from:realDonaldTrump)’, Twitter. Online: https://twitter.com/search?q=%22global%20warming%22%20(from%3ArealDonaldTrump)&src=typed_query.
Vitali, Ali. 2017. ‘Trump Pulls U.S. Out of Paris Climate Agreement’, NBC News, 1 June.
Volkswagen USA. 2019a. ‘Hello Light | ID. Buzz’, YouTube, 5 June, 1:45. Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEvNL6oEr0U.
Volkswagen USA. 2019b. ‘Something Big | ID. Buzz’, YouTube, 11 June, 1:00. Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPxWQB40gw4.
Waddell, Kaveh. 2017. ‘The Exhausting Work of Tallying America’s Largest Protest’, The Atlantic, 23 January.
Weiss, Suzannah. 2017. ‘Carl’s Jr. Announces It’ll Stop Objectifying Women…with An Add That Objecti?es Women’, Glamour, 31 March.
Wolf, Naomi. 2002 . The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women (New York: HarperCollins).
Yelkur, Rama, Chuck Tomkovick, and Patty Traczyk. 2004. ‘Super Bowl Advertising Effectiveness: Hollywood Finds the Games Golden’, Journal of Advertising Research 44.1: 143-59. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021849904040085.
Yuhas, Alan. 2016. ‘The Growing List of Republicans withdrawing Support for Donald Trump’, The Guardian, 9 October.
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.