JPMorgan Chase Work Stirs Double Standard Debate


Men have fantasies. Lots of fantasies. And We're not just talking about sex here. In this new commercial for J.P. Morgan Chase from Mcgarrybowen, we see a man doing the James Bond thing to get a stolen credit card back. But, as we find out, he's only doing it in his mind while taking a call from Chase alerting him to some fraud on his card.

As with most male fantasies, it's all about action, car chases death defying stunts and fancy footwork. Nothing out of the ordinary except for the fact guys in these sorts of commercial always seem to be, well, average looking. Very un-James Bond-like, in fact. While many commercials are filled with stunningly beautiful or mouth waveringly sexy women, we can't seem to get rid of the Verizon Dad and his ilk. Perhaps, not unsurprisingly, its because the guys who create these commercials (and it is all guys in this case) love to look at beautiful women but want nothing to do with any man who might be better looking than them. So, we get Mr. Average who always seems to end up with Mrs. Amazingly Hot.

To be clear, this is not an advertising thing. Look no further than Jim Belushi's According to Jim or that other show with the chunky UPS guy and the hot wife. Is this not the endless perpetuation of the double standard? We can all sorts of hot looking women combined with mundane looking men but if anyone tried to create something featuring amazingly hot men and mundane looking women, well, it just wouldn't fly as well.

We all like to look at pretty things but for some reason, it's OK for guys to be not so pretty whereas it's not so OK for the women to be not so pretty. What's up with that? Certainly, this isn't the case all of the tine but it is quote prevalent. Crassly, we love to fantasize about ourselves in all kinds of situations with the most beautiful of women. Realistically, we know this never happens and that to desire women only for their beauty isn't one of the nicest qualities to posses nor display.

OK, how we got from a pretty good credit card ad to the analysis of the portrayal of men and women in society escapes us so we're going to stop. We think we could probably write a book on the topic but we'll spare you that boredom for now.

by Steve Hall    Jan-14-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Commercials, Opinion, Trends and Culture   

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My sentiments exactly... nice to see it in print & from an intelligent (& male!) source.

Posted by: etown on January 14, 2008 2:20 PM

Beyond true. This might also help explain why women are chasing ever more exacting standards of beauty while men haven't picked up the pace much at all in that department: girls are exposed to impossible beauty and think they must look like one percent of the population to be "normal" while boys get the idea that, hey, they are normal!

Posted by: Rachel Nabors on January 14, 2008 2:20 PM

Whoa. Did someone just call me intelligent?

Posted by: Steve Hall on January 14, 2008 2:54 PM

I think it's possible we may be mixing up cause and effect here. If average looking guys in ads are successful in advertising but women respond only to hot, thin, young models in ads, I don't think we should change the males in ads but encourage deeper changes in our society.

And don't tell me hot, thin, young women used in advertising don't work when selling to women. Just open Cosmo or Glamour! If 17-year-old waifishly thin models didn't sell hair and beauty products to women, the ads in those magazines would change in a heartbeat.

My point is that the issue may not be the sexism or self-image of the advertisers but instead a deeper and more concerning female self-image in our country.

(And--not to get too deep, but--I'd suggest the change cannot come from advertisers, since they are in the business of producing ads that work, but instead the change has to come in general society. If WE stop responding to sexism or sexiness in advertising, THEY will be happy to change ads to whatever model works to sell the brand.)

Posted by: Augie at Just Pet Strollers on January 14, 2008 4:29 PM

Then as consumers perhaps we should boycott those products that use such tactics in their advertising.

Posted by: Rachel Nabors on January 14, 2008 8:38 PM

Rachel, I totally agree! The way to force change isn't to dumb down (or sex up) the men in advertising but to force change in the portrayal of women with our actions. Of course, if you can figure out how to change enough minds to boycott the kind of beauty-obsessed advertising that has worked for women for decades, more power to you.

One only needs to look at the advertising for Victoria's Secret to see the uphill battle. The ads look like they're for men, yet every time I walk past a VS in the mall it is overflowing with women (with usually an uncomortable looking husband or boyfriend tucked in a corner.)

This may not be a popular thing to say, but if women want to change their portrayal in advertising, the change is going to start with their own shopping and buying habits and not with complaints.

Posted by: Augie @ Just Pet Strollers on January 15, 2008 10:09 AM

Augie, as a child, I was taught that if you liked patronizing a company for it's products, like let's say women who shop at Victoria's Secret for bras but hate the advertising, then it is your obligation to contact the company and tell them you aren't okay with their marketing tactics and may be forced to shop elsewhere. It's surprising how seriously such complaints are taken, but then again, for every one vocal customer, how many are silent? Feedback really does help, and communication between consumer and produceer is everything.

Posted by: Rachel Nabors on January 15, 2008 11:14 AM

did anyone ever think that men put average looking men in spots because that's how they view themselves? most of us do not look at a male model type and see someone we can relate to. and when creating 'fantasy' spots, would it really make sense to have a guy who already looks like he can have/do anything?

personally, when casting a female role, i don't usually go for the over the top supermodel type, but typically the more approachably atrractive type. but obviously it depends on the role.

Posted by: t on January 16, 2008 10:36 AM