May 7, 2010

Windows 7: No Fat Chicks

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Melanie @ 8:27 pm

A few years ago, Apple released a brand new ad campaign.  “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” was an instant hit, starring hipster movie star Justin Long and John Hodgman, and ran for years, generating lots of revenue for Apple.  Microsoft‘s rebuttals to this fell flat for quite some time, but their new ad campaign for Windows 7 proved successful.  Instead of focusing on mocking Apple, they highlighted the features of the new operating system, as told by “real people”, stating “Windows 7 was my idea.”  The first two ads I saw featured overweight, older men who are shown imagining idealized versions of themselves (as male models) when they “get the idea” for Windows 7.

I laughed, I loved it, and then I watched a commercial break a couple months back – same campaign, one major difference.  This ad utilized the same concept, except the latest ads featured women, all of whom are pretty enough that they could be the “ideal” person, the model that someone imagines themselves as.  Their “ideals” are women who are heavily made-up, and appear to be digitally enhanced.

I think those pictures speak for themselves, yes?

There are two theories that I hold about where Microsoft is coming from with this approach.  Either they are completely unwilling to show an “unattractive,”  overweight woman in their ad because, ew, that’s grossOr they deem these women “not worthy enough” and think they’re on the same level of attractiveness as the “regular” men in their ads.  One of the criticisms of the “beauty norm” is the double standard – men are allowed to be unattractive, women aren’t – I’d say that applies here.  The YouTube upload dates on the Windows 7 official page shows they set a precedent with the original ads – Steve, Jack, and Widmark were uploaded late last year, followed by Charline and Crystal in more recent months.  I would have deemed this a successful and funny campaign if they had been equal in their treatment of both genders.  Instead, they just cemented the fact that I’m a Mac.