Another instance of Supposedly Liberal Doods humiliating naked women for a good cause.
This really upset me. So I wrote to Method. I’ve copied the correspondence below. It’s not very satisfying, of course. I should have probably cooled down a bit before writing the first message. And I had to repeat myself in my reply, because they didn’t seem to be getting the point. (Part of the defense was “this isn’t supposed to be taken literally!”–of course it isn’t!) Here it is, anyway:
Customer 11/21/2009 02:40 PM
To whom it may concern:
I just had the opportunity to view your new Shiny Suds commercial. The
image of a naked woman in the shower, suffering under the gaze and
lewd cat calls of what are, essentially, a bunch of men chilled me to
the core. I cannot believe that you couldn’t find a less offensive way
to get your otherwise good message across. I’m sure the image a baby
being bathed in a bathtub lined with nasty chemicals, for example,
would have served your purpose as well, if not better. And it wouldn’t
have involved such brazen objectification.
Maybe I, and the large community of users of your products who are
offended by this simply don’t have a sense of humor. Or maybe you have
never been in the vulnerable, terrifying position that many women are
today, and that looks a whole lot like what you portray, with
attempted humor, in your commercial.
I don’t have much power, as one of your many consumers, but I will use
what little power you have, and boycott your products. It’s a shame
for me to have to do this in a market in which products of your
quality and caliber are rare. But I cannot support a company run by
people so oblivious as to market their products in this way.
Response (jessie lloyd) 11/23/2009 02:20 PM
Thank you for your feedback on our”Shiny Suds”video.
We sincerely apologize for any offense taken to our video. As creators of eco-friendly cleaning products, we believe people have the right to know what is inside the cleaning products they use. Our goal was to connect people to their local representatives and congress people to affect change.
â€œShiny Suds”is intended to create a conversation and not to be interpreted literally. Many people aren’t aware that traditional cleaners may contain ingredients that are harmful to the environment and potentially harmful to themselves and their families. Our intention was to personify the dirty chemicals many household cleaners can leave behind through the animated bubbles, in the style of a classic cleaning commercial.
We are a values-based company, and in no way do we condone or promote harassment of any kind. We appreciate your feedback and will certainly take it into consideration. Consumer insights, such as yours, will inform future projects.
We are truly sorry that our video offended you.
Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us with your concerns.
pulse of the people:: method
Thank you for your response. Let me be clear: I am well aware of both the excellent message you were trying to send and the fact that the commercial was not to be interpreted literally. My point is, simply, that you could send that message effectively and without offense.
Here’s an idea: have a man clean the bathtub and then bathe his child in it. Imagine: the child, sitting in a tub full of chemicals, crying, as is father tries to bathe it. The commercial would be equally terrifying–perhaps even more so–but not offensive. It would also be refreshing: it would not be yet another cleaning product commercial aimed exclusively at women. It would break gender stereotypes and promote a positive image of an attentive husband and father–one who cleans the bathroom and bathes the baby.
I’m with you on informing and empowering consumers. I think what you are trying to do is great. But this particular commercial fails in a crucial way: it relies on disempowering women, in order to empower the consumer.
I think you can do much, much better. I sincerely hope you will
I wrote them:
I am a consumer of your hand soaps and appreciate your company’s green
approach, however when I recently viewed your new ad as previewed here:
I found it highly disappointing.
The segment where the woman is nude and being subjected to comments from
the male sounding characters is distasteful, suggestive, and inappropriate.
Please reconsider your advertisement and how you chose to portray women,
otherwise I will have to discontinue my purchases of your products.
First of all, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on our”Shiny Suds”video.
We sincerely apologize that our video offended you.
In no way do we tolerate harassment, assault or violence against women, nor do we feel that our video encourages these behaviors.
As a company that makes eco-friendly soap and cleaning products, we believe people have the right to know what is inside the cleaning products they use and our goal with this video was to connect people to their local representatives and Congress people to affect change.
As with all media messages, people will interpret our video in different ways. In no way are we undermining your experience with the video. We understand you feel our choices were unacceptable.
We currently do not plan to remove the video, as we stand by the goal of this campaign: to raise awareness about the dirty chemicals often found in traditional cleaning products. However, in light of the inappropriate responses seen on YouTube, we have removed the ability to comment in order to keep the focus on the Household Products Labeling Acts.
We are truly sorry for any offense the video has caused.
“In no way do we tolerate harassment, assault or violence against women…We currently do not plan to remove the video.”
Actions speak louder than words.
“‘Shiny Suds’ is intended to create a conversation ”
Well, they’ve succeeded in doing that, though perhaps not quite the conversation they had in mind. From the responses to the two letter shared here, it appears the company simply doesn’t get it. This does nothing to alter my long-held cynicism about “caring capitalism”. Feh.
UPDATE: They responded to my seccond message with the following. In short: they are removing the ad. Thank you to others who wrote them. I think our pressure worked.
Response (jessie lloyd) 11/25/2009 03:00 PM
Thank you for your sincere feedback about our”Shiny Suds”video. It was not at all our intent to offend or promote any form of harassment. We understand the concerns associated with our video and are removing it from YouTube and all other controlled sources.
Method is a group of women and men who care about our planet, but first and foremost about people. Our intent in this campaign was to raise awareness for transparency in cleaning product ingredients, to which we remain committed.
We continue to learn and we appreciate the fact that you took the time to reach out to us.
Our sincerest thanks,
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