Have you noticed that every shampoo commercial looks the same? Or that diet product commercials are everywhere at the beginning of a new year? Comedian Sarah Haskins has. And for the past couple of months, she’s produced Target Women, a series on Current TV that hilariously and critically examines the advertising world of women’s products.
Haskins’ critiques are among the most comprehensive and on-point ones I’ve seen of how advertisers target women to sell products. She brilliantly tackles shameless themes that pop up in commercials, like ones that sell frozen food (“It is the woman’s job to feed her family,” she sarcastically says. “Just make sure it satisfies EVERYONE”) and ones that sell yogurt (“Yogurt is the official food of women”). There’s an episode about skin care products, and how their commercials always remind us that we’re aging. There’s also an episode about how cars are marketed to women—“We want cars that say, ‘I’m not a mom, I’m a MILF,’” Haskins says bitingly, alluding to the images of middle-aged women rolling up in their Lincolns with all the gas station attendants staring her down.
Check out this one about women in cleaning product commercials:
Haskins doesn’t let anything in an ad pass her by without mocking it, and she has done an exceptional job of calling out these blatant marketing tactics.
After months of tuning into her series, I’ve noticed that, instead of passively watching T.V. commercials while patiently waiting for my show to return, I’ve become increasingly critical of commercials and their brazen schemes to trick women into feeling they need a product.
Next episode I’d like Haskins to do? One that tackles that “dreadful” feeling women are supposed to feel right as summer starts. Wal-Mart and Nivea are two companies this season I noticed that use that “Uh, oh, summer’s here” theme to convince us we better buy diet products or use cellulite cream. They put skinny actresses in their commercials that either open their top drawers to find their swimsuit lying there, or walk by store windows with bikini-clad mannequins and suddenly have that “it’s that time of year again” moment. Sarah Haskins, I’d love to see you ridicule these guys!
What do you think of Sarah Haskins’ Target Women series? Has she changed the way you watch commercials in between your favorite shows? Let us know in the comments, and let us know what other stale theme you have seen used over and over in commercials!