News Articles on MESA Archive (return to list)
The Globe and Mail - November 23, 1999
Ad yanked after protests over woman
A car commercial that showed a
woman slapping her male partner across the face for allegedly
leering at another female has been pulled after viewers _
primarily men_ complained about its violent content. In the ad,
which ran nationally, a young couple was shown strolling down a
street. The man turned to admire a parked Chrysler Neon, but his
partner believed he was ogling another woman and cuffed him.
DaimlerChrysler Canada Inc. said it yanked the ad last week
after people complained. The commercial is running again, but it
has been edited so the woman merely scowls at the man instead of
slapping him. DaimlerChrysler said it didn't intend to promote
violence against men. "We were out to get attention, not upset
people," said Pearl Davies, Chrysler brand manager at
DaimlerChrysler in Windsor, Ont. She was unable to say how many
viewers complained, but said a majority were men and there were
"enough to make us feel we didn't want to enrage our customer
That the commercial made it onto television at all illustrates a
gender bias in society's tolerance of violence, according to
men's-rights advocates. "Just turn this thing around," said
Dan Stevelman, a self-employed economist in Calgary and a
member of the Men's Educational Support Association. "
Would the guy be right in slugging her? Of course not." He said
DaimlerChrysler deserves credit for removing the slap. " At
least they responded. Better late than never," he said.
The commercial, created by Publicis BCP Inc. of Montreal and
shot in Montreal city, also shows that audiences can react in an
unpredictable way __ or at least in a manner different from what
the advertiser expected. Focus groups who were shown the ad
before it went to air__ many agencies do this as a matter of
course__ did not raise objections, said Othmar Stein,
Vice-president of public and government affairs at
DaimlerChrysler. "That sometimes happens. Things get through,"
he said. "It was meant in an amusing way but it didn't pan out
that way." He could recall only one or two other examples of
Chrysler pulling an ad in the past decade, he said. Advertising
Standards Canada, the ad industry's self-regulatory body, would
not say whether it also received complaints about the spot.
ASC's policy is not to comment on specific cases, said president
Linda Nagel. DaimlerChrysler, for its part, said it acted
voluntarily and not at ASC's urging.
"What this shows you is that advertisers are very responsive to
the kinds of feedback they're getting and they're listening to
consumers," Ms. Nagel said. Had the ad faced ASC's scrutiny, it
may well have violated the organization's gender-portrayal
guidelines. The section on violence in ads reads, "neither sex
should be portrayed as exerting domination over another by means
of overt or implied threats, or actual force."