At CNet, executive editor Molly Wood chronicles the bizarre use of stereotypes of women in the Samsung GS4 launch:
The Brazilian woman was hot (duh). A bride-to-be arrives on stage with a chirpy, “check out the ring!” The Air Gestures that let you control the phone without touching it are presented as a boon to giggly women with annoying voices whose nails are wet and who don’t want to put down their drinks. The comically alcoholic one, DeeDee, then proceeds to demo how eye tracking can pause a video when you look away from the screen… as she looks away at a hunky gardener type who proceeds to take off his shirt.
“While the women are cooling down,” says the emcee, “why don’t you tell us about S Health?” By then, it’s almost too easy to have there be a joke about marrying a doctor and then the one about eating too much cheesecake ohyeahthatoneIshouldhaveseenthatcoming. Of course those jokes are in there. Why would those jokes not be in there? We already had a tap-dancing tow-headed kid and a hot Brazilian girl.
What I’m really curious about is whether this latest example of corporate stupidity when it comes to going to the laziest bits of the gender humor well was developed in-house by Samsung or by an outside advertising agency? If the latter, which ad agency? And on what basis did they recommend the use of stereotypes as hooks? I’d be really curious about the market research on which those decisions are based, given how many ads seem to be doing well by defying gender stereotypes. From Super Bowl ads featuring princesses who lead armies and laundry-doing ladies who are passionate and sneaky sports fans to the Kindle ad that treats gay married couple as if they’re a totally normal part of the mix, a lot of companies seem to want to treat women as actual people, or gay couples and the people who are friends with them as actual consumers. My bet is that tech companies in particular want to seem forward-looking in their gender politics as part of projecting a general sense that if you buy their products, you will be part of the future. But that just makes Samsung’s presentation more bizarre.