sexist ads (still) suck

I was surprised to see this ad at for Purple Grape Wineworks at City Square at 12th and Cambie.A   The text reads:

Nice legs, great body.A   (that’s what the judges said about the wine!)A   And that’s what you’ll be saying when you taste wine made with Winexpert’s award-winning products.A   Great wine is yours for the making.

At the bottom of the ad they are advertising a special promotion.A   You can get a voucher for a massage or accupunture if you make wine with them for Christmas.

I remember when I was younger and used to read Ms. magazine.A   I would always flip to the back inside cover and look at the sexist and misogynistic ads that readers had sent in.A   I can’t believe that in 2008 that I’m still seeing this tired, old crap.

So, I called Purple Grape Wineworks and told I told him that this ad bummed me out and that he was offending and alienating potential customers.A   He explained that it’s a joke: “great body and legs” refers to the wine.A   I told him that I knew that legs and body were characteristics of wine.A   I said that dominant image on the poster having a woman in a slip, reclining with a small glass of wine didn’t have much to do with wine, and a lot to do with objectifying and commodifying women’s bodies.A   He said that we were all entitled to our own opinions, that the poster was from a distributor, and that so far I was the only person to call and complain.A   I encourage you to pop off a quick email to Purple Grape Wineworks ( and Winexpert telling them that you too think these ads are outdated, boring and suck.

I’m not sure who the target audience for this ad is.A   Middle aged heterosexual men?A   Middle aged heterosexual women?A   Middle aged lesbians with a soccer mom fetish?A   I’m unclear, as the viewer, if I’m supposed to want to do this woman, or be her.A   I was trying to think if the ad would have been more interesting if it used the same slogan and subverted it with an image of a buff middle aged man.A   I still think it would’ve been boring.A   As an ad concept, it sucks.

Here’s an image from one of the postcards (from the same supplier) that was sitting on the display. For me, this one is clearly speaking to a female viewer.

I was going to go digging through some databases to learn about the demographics of the customers of make your own wine shops, but I’m not sure I care that much.

In related news, I went to the opening of WACK last night at the Vancouver Art Gallery.A   The exhibition is a survey of many types of art that happened during the second wave of feminism, between 1965 and 1980.A   In some ways there have been so many changes and in other ways we still still trying to make headway on the same issues.

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