Saturday, June 6th, 2020

Good Ad or Objectification? Kate Upton’s Slow-Mo Car Wash for Mercedes


Mercedes has released a 90-second ad on the web called “Kate Upton Washes the All-New Mercedes-Benz CLA in Slow Motion” — and the Parents Television Council has just as quickly called it out.

“It’s not the raciest ad that’s ever aired during the Super Bowl, but that doesn’t mean it is just harmless fun, either,” said Melissa Henson, director of communications and public education at the Parents Television Council, in a statement provided by a spokeswoman. “This ad isn’t selling cars, it’s selling sexual objectification, and reinforcing for millions of wives, daughters and sisters across the country that you use your sex appeal to get what you want. If anything, this ad proves that we’ve regressed rather than progressed over the last several years.”

Here’s our timeline of women’s roles in advertising, from “I Wish I Were a Man” cigarette ads to Nike’s “My Butt is Big and That’s Just Fine.” But the Upton car wash is not, for what it’s worth, a Super Bowl teaser precisely. Ms. Upton, who appeared in a suggestive commercial for Carl’s Jr. last year, will appear in Mercedes’ upcoming Super Bowl spot, but there are other teasers on TV hyping the actual commercial, according to a rep at Mercedes agency Merkley & Partners. A Mercedes spokeswoman did not respond by deadline to an email seeking comment.

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