New Dockers 'wear the pants' ad campaign for soft khakis brings charges of sexism
Wednesday, December 9th 2009, 2:05 PM
One of the new ads says, "It's time to answer the call of manhood," and the company's Web site exhorts men to "wear the pants."
A "Man-ifesto" posted on Dockers.com begins, "Once upon a time, men wore the pants, and wore them well. Women rarely had to open doors ... Men took charge because that's what they did."
"Disco by disco, latte by foamy non-fat latte, men were stripped of their khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny," the ad continues.
"Just because the Dockers ads are tongue in cheek does not mean that they're not sexist," wrote WalletPop.com blogger Jami Bernard in a recent post. "It's one thing to encourage men to man up, another to tell them to ‘wear the pants' - an expression that taps directly into the old question, ‘Who wears the pants in the family?'"
Dockers is reintroducing the brand - which, according to The New York Times, many young men associate with the 1990s and "casual" Fridays - with a big-budget blast including radio, print, poster and online advertising. Social media like Facebook and Twitter will be used in the ambitious ad campaign, which debuted earlier in December, and TV commercials will begin in February, with Dockers ads returning to the Super Bowl after an eight-year hiatus, according to The Times.
But just whom are they hoping to attract with the ads? Jennifer Sey, Dockers' vice president of global marketing, said in an interview in Brandweek that "sensitivity, chivalry, ambition and decisiveness" are on her wish list for the traits of "the modern idea of a man." The new promos hopefully will "inspire today's men to be men," she said in the interview.
Walletpop.com's Bernard feels the Dockers' ads "take an unnecessary snipe at gay men through the use of common wink-wink stereotypes. According to Dockers, a real man doesn't eat at salad bars or order nonfat lattes."
The new ad campaign may succeed at making 25- to 35-year-olds khaki-conscious. Jim Calhoun, president for the Dockers brand at Levi Strauss, told The Times, "I don't think that we, as leaders of the category, have done much to keep the khaki category fresh and exciting, to give the consumers a reason to buy."
Whether or not younger men will fall for soft slacks in muted shades remains to be seen. But one thing Dockers has going in its favor: an attractive price. The khakis generally sell for $25 to $55.
I think it is interesting that anyone, male or female, would get so much of their own self identity from clothing; or from someone telling them that if they wear certain clothing they will be percieved as the person they want to be. I also think it is interesting that as a society we still see the relationship between men and women as one of dominence. That we feel that one or the other has to be bigger, better, badder or stronger than the other. I think it would be nice if we could just accept each other as equals with our own specific traits and strengths that are not necessarily bound by gender. We are all just people, different 'parts' but basically the same. The only thing that makes us different is our own self perception. Seems to me that the folks this ad is targeting might want to work on their self esteem.
- 2 hours ago
- The ad is selling clothing but the message is the important issue not the clothing. It has broken the politically correct feminist hold on marketing departments. Your message is the same old - same old feminist drivel about us all being people and the same. Tell that to all the dads who lost custody of their children because of feminist mythology. Tell that to the 24,000,000 children who don't have dads in their lives because family courts give mom 84% physical custody in the USA and 90% in Canada. If you believe in equality then get to work on equal shared parenting with moms and dads. Men and women are fundamentally different - not the same - and years of feminization of men with propaganda about men finding their feminine side is trash talk. Why don't we instead talk about women finding their masculine side. We are men not hybrid's created in Dr. Femi's bio lab. The ad has little to do with clothing but at lot to do with the distance men are from their own masculinity. If you think this has anything to do with male self esteem you are dreaming in technicolour. I challenge you to look at the following in your artificial world next time you get up in the morning: Don't do anything to your hair but brush it, no straightening, no hair spray, no conditioner, don't fret over what to wear just throw on a suit, don't wear lipstick or makeup. Don't fret over which panties to wear unless you are planning to get undressed during the day to enjoy your sexual liberation. Do what many office men do, brush your teeth, your hair put on some comfortable or office appropriate suit and off you go. I say office or indoor work because there are no feminists working construction, fixing electrical lines, working in the sewers, operating that noisy jackhammer, climbing telephone poles in ice storms, placing steel in skyscrapers exposed to the elements, welding steel outdoors at -30 in northern Canada, de-icing airplanes in frigid conditions, working in mines below ground or offshore oil rigs pumping oil out of the bottom of the ocean, as some examples of why men earn more than women. When by mid morning coffee break all the another Sisters at the office are gathered around without you making furtive glances your way about the crisis you must be having give us a report on your self esteem. The only glimmer of truth in your soliloquy is both men and women are people and should be equal. Lets work on the latter like the feminists did in the 60's instead of all this 3rd wave feminist psycho babble women are victims men are oppressive patriarchs. The ad is the message not the clothing but I'm a Docker's pants fan and always have been. I still have some of different colours - even tan but I prefer navy blue.
- 6 minutes ago