Monday, September 22, 2014

Provocative Nunavut FASD posters have a Russian connection

Via Storify

Last week on Osocio, I reviewed an anti-FASD campaign that ran at LCBO stores, and took some heat for my claim that its potentially shaming approach to any drinking in pregnancy wasn't helpful. But that campaign was pretty mild when compared to the new ads by the government of Nunavut:

According to the CBC, these posters are "provoking a strong reaction from residents" — both positive and negative.  They were designed by Atiigo Media Inc., a communications company in Iqaluit that specializes in northern issues.

The ads certainly are intended to provide shock value, showing the fetus literally drowning in alcohol. That's not exactly biologically accurate, but some locals apparently feel the strong messaging is justified by the high rates of alcohol abuse in the north, which has prompted some communities to ban alcohol entirely.

I still object to the unnecessary shaming or scaring pregnant women, even as I have to admit that I am culturally isolated from the communities for which this campaign was created.

Notably, while trying to find a better image of the campaign, I stumbled upon this Russian campaign from 2012:

While it is not uncommon for PSA campaigns to share creative ideas for public good, I wonder if this was a partnership or plain old plunder...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Paypal snarks Apple in full-page NYT ad

According to Cult of Mac (**shudder**) this ad ran as a full page in the New York Times last week. While Apple isn't specifically mentioned, the reference to stolen nudes is an obvious hit at the company, whose iCloud security was questioned in the breach. (Apple denies this.)

Paypal obviously feels the heat from the new iPhone's Apple Pay feature, so casting doubt on Apple's general security might seem like a great idea. But it seems pretty underhanded to me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rogue Pizza Hut does one of the dumbest cross-promotions ever

Animal welfare advocates have their hands full on holidays, trying to convince people not to give puppies as Christmas gifts, or live chicks for Easter. The thinking behind this is that adopting a pet should be the result of a thoughtful commitment to being a responsible owner, not an impulse. Otherwise, animals can suffer from neglect.

So it's rather disappointing that this Australian Pizza Hut location made small live animals a premium for their loyalty program. i100 reports that the promotion was posted and discussed on the Facebook page of an animal rights group Oscar's Law, resulting in a formal complaint.

Oscar's Law says that they have since been sent this message from Corporate:
It has come to our attention that one of our stores have recently been running a promotion which was not approved by Pizza Hut Australia, nor was condoned in any circumstances. We would like to sincerely apologise to anyone who was offended by this. 
The poster has since been taken down and all those involved have been made aware of the severity and inappropriateness of the promotion. We would like to thank Oscar's Law and all those who have brought this to our attention this evening. 
On behalf of Pizza Hut Australia we once again apologise for this thoughtless promotion ever occurring and would like to reassure you all that this matter is being seriously dealt with.
Score another one for social media activism!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Facebook banned a sexual health org. over this very boring female condom ad

The Daily Dot reports that Tea Time and Sex Chats, a sexual health organization at the University of Chicago, had their page pulled after Facebook received a complaint about this animated video for Fc2 female condoms.

The video itself is a snorefest overall — poorly paced and way too long. But the offending scene, I must assume, is at 2:48 when the cartoon woman demonstrates how to open her vulva to insert the prophylactic.

The Dot says that the ban happened after Tea Time and Sex Chats complied with the takedown notice, and they have appealed.

Facebook's community standard on nudity states:
Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved. We also impose limitations on the display of nudity. We aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo's David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.
But what about health and education? These exceptions are not mentioned, which is a shame because "anti-porn" regulations have long been used to prevent healthy sexuality and safer sex information from reaching the public.

Can we retire the term "politically correct" now?

What does it mean, anyway? I first heard the term back in high school, in the late '80s. A feminist guest speaker was talking to us about sexual harassment and rape. In an open session, I mentioned that I thought it was a good idea for a guy not to walk right behind a woman stranger on a dark or empty street, but rather cross to the other side so she wouldn't be scared. For this, I was pronounced "a very politically correct young man."

That was then. The term was at first applied in a positive manner by late second-wave feminists, to describe a person who was on-side. However, with the backlash that inevitably came during the '90s, the term was appropriated as derision. Today, when someone calls me "politically correct," they're dismissing my opinion as overly-sensitive "politics" (as opposed to reality or common sense).

And that's what American Apparel is doing here, in this billboard shared by Sociological Images' Lisa Wade.

What this says is that when people complain that AA ads are encouraging the sexualization of schoolgirls, fetishizing sexual violence, or just plain exploiting people for fun and profit, they are just sucking up to feminist "politics." The fact that AA is sweatshop-free excuses all this, because their manufacturing is "ethical." Never mind that their founder, Dov Charney, was fired by his own board for "several instances of alleged misconduct" with female employees.

"Politically correct" is dead. This cynical advertising is just flogging its corpse. Time to move on.