Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pepsi Max

Yes, this Pepsi Max commercial incorporates stereotypes. It portrays the black woman as a powerful controlling figure and her husband as a malleable character attracted to an athletic white female who is depicted as defenseless. These are undeniable, but what matters is how the viewer chooses to accept them. Clearly Pepsi’s goal is to sell their product through comedy, not to promote stereotypes. Comedy is very difficult to create without stereotypes, especially in such a short video clip. The high cost of advertising during the Superbowl means that they wanted to get as much information into a tiny space as they could. Stereotypes are simply connotations, and the ad producers used some of the most heavily connoted figures they could find to cram as much of a plot into the viewers’ perceptions as they could. They could communicate so much through the simple use of race and gender. Of course there are limits to the offensiveness of a stereotype, but I do not think this ad passed them. I think many more people would have been offended if the man had thrown the can at the girl’s head.

1 comment:

  1. To be a bit more semiotic… The creators knew that a black woman with a scowl on her face would immediately portray control and power. They also knew exactly what a wife would think when her husband smiles at a different woman. The characters are stereotypical because using stereotypes ensure that people see the same thing in the commercial. If a fat woman had smiled to the man, we wouldn’t exactly know why his wife got mad. A cross-race couple might also confuse the audience, if only for a second. The stereotypes deliver unmistakable roles for characters.