Mars and Sexists?

I must side with my friends the feminists and express outrage, shock and horror at the latest Marks and Spencers TV advertisement. (See it on the Guardian site here.) Let’s recruit Stephen Fry (oh, we can’t as he’s in the advert himself) and organise a mass Tweet of outrage at the sight of a French underwear model appearing in a television advert for a shop that sells, er, 25% of all women’s lingerie in the UK. Or is it the corrosive sight of Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt threatening to lure all men back to Neanderthal 70s sexism — his line ‘That girl prancing around in her underwear’ is incredibly demeaning to women, isn’t it? Ah, but he was at a bar drinking. We’ve already got bans on young people enjoying themselves drinking in adverts — maybe we need to ban washed-up, semi-alcoholic seventies throwbacks from endorsing products too? The funny thing is that companies like M&S spend thousands on focus groups to find out what television actors and celebrities their customers empathise with (‘Our research shows that his on-screen character in Ashes to Ashes is extremely popular with our customers and his lines in the ad are in keeping with that role’). It’s difficult to believe that M&S would pay Glenister’s no doubt large fee without being fairly sure about his popularity with their core customer base, which is principally women.

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