Catcalling a Three Musketeers Bar: Perpetuating Gender Stereotypes by Traversing Sociohistorical Lines and a Literary Inclusive Response

Figure 1. Three Musketeers Catwalk Commercial.

Many of today’s advertising focuses on viewership while sacrificing the unfair portrayal of race and gender, perpetuating longstanding sociohistorical stereotypes. In the Three Musketeers “Catwalk” commercial, a man is catcalled by several businesswomen who we eventually find are actually interested in the Three Musketeers bar in his hand. After a fight over the chocolate bar, the winner is rewarded and we find that the man only returns to the commercial in the end when he is frightened by another woman. In particular, there are two elements that I analyze in this essay: first, the over sexualized portrayal and behavioral patterns of the women in relation to a reciprocal relationship with men’s behavioral habits – making it ok to be disrespectful toward women; second, the elevation of the chocolate bar and disparate emotional outcomes of the three women following the competition for bar compared to more inclusive advertisements. Finally, we propose utilize two strategies to explain and present our response advertisements to help remedy these messaging obstacles.

First, there is a unique gender role portrayal which places women at the forefront of this image lusting after either men and / or chocolate. Surprisingly, where men would be typical culprits of committing catcalling, in this alternate reality, which we are first hinted at when a woman with a stroller gives a suggestive “hey” to the man walking. The scene builds up with three women having aggressive catcalls at the man and it is only when we see the chocolate bar that we understand the women aren’t actually after the man. Through the commercial, Three Musketeers implies that gender reversal occurs because women lust after chocolate, having an insatiable appetite of untamed passion compelling them to act the same way that men would when picking up women. Not only is this damaging to the perception of women but also enforces the stereotype of aggressive and disrespectful male catcalling behavior. This disturbing, now common marketing technique portrays women within a hypersexualized context who crave for chocolate to the degree that they are unable to control their temptations (Stevens & Brown 2003).

 

Second, the elevation of the chocolate bar and emotional disparity between the three women in the original Three Musketeers commercial emphasizes the exclusivity of the product as certain people are left out of the experience. We can clearly see that the two women on either side who do not obtain chocolate show frustrated and disappointed facial emotions. Not only is this ineffective marketing, generating negative emotions of exclusivity, but it also makes the product feel like it is elevated, as we see the chocolate bar floating higher above everyone’s heads. The literal meaning of the elevation, as we learn in the ending message of “A Lighter Way to Enjoy Chocolate” is that the Three Musketeer’s bar is healthier. However, when analyzed in a second level, the fact that the chocolate elevates itself, makes it seem to have been placed on a pedestal that not everyone can reach. Alienating consumers in this way is not an effective marketing strategy and one that is more inclusive, showing positive emotions can be far more effective, as seen in the following Hershey’s commercial from the early 1970’s. Not only are there enough chocolate bars for everyone to enjoy, there are children of every race and gender as well as a clear emphasis on sharing and positive facial expressions – a far better way to generate goodwill with the audience and heartwarming pull to purchase chocolate.

Figure 2. Hershey’s Advertisement from the 1970’s.

We offer a new alternative to tackle these two issues through our advertisement, “All for One”; In this advertisement, we portray people of all ages, races, and genders all similarly interested in obtaining a Three Musketeers bar that is above their heads. While elevation is still present, we use it figuratively, denoted by the fact that the bar is not scaled to size, to show that everyone is highly interested and able to obtain such a prize if they desire it. This is underscored by the universally positive emotions on each person’s face and we hope to capture the inclusivity of chocolate with the hope for everyone to share the spoils of a sweet chocolate bar.

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Figure 3. Our Response Advertisement: “All for One and One for All”.

In particular, there are two strategies we have consciously utilized to construct the response advertisement which emphasizes a more inclusive environment with less stereotypical messaging: Association and Bandwagoning. First, our “Association” strategy involves tying our product with a famous literary reference and slogan; we chose “All for one and one for all” from the actual book portray a dual theme (Kazemi & Esmaeili 2010). Breaking down this quote, we capture the desirability of Three Musketeers chocolate in the first half, and also the affordability and ease of obtaining with the second half. Second, we propose also propose the use of the “Bandwagon” technique, another common advertising strategy used to convince customers that everyone is similarly interested in the product and able to join in on the experience. For instance, the Pepsi advertisement below show children of all ages and genders enjoying bottles of Pepsi while dancing together to music. These two strategies help to eliminate gendered or classed messaging from the original three musketeers advertisement and push toward a more inclusive advertisement that will speak to all a more universal audience, arguably with more efficacy .

Figure 4. Pepsi Bandwagon Advertisement.

Ultimately, the advent of viral advertising has spawned several variations of sexualized and oft controversial themes aimed at generating views at the sacrifice of social progress. We aim to solve some of these issues with our response ad to create a more inclusive and diverse message while retaining the desirability and allure of chocolate.

 

Multimedia sources:

(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtMLIp2w3kU&feature=youtu.be

Figure 1. Three Musketeers Catwalk Commercial.

 

(2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xdc7gFEHaRE

Figure 2. Hershey’s Advertisement from the 1970’s.

 

(3) Created Response Advertisement: Idea generation as a group with stock images from Google

 

(4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=po0jY4WvCIc

Figure 4. Pepsi Bandwagon Advertisement.

 

Works Cited:

Kazemi, F., & Esmaeili, M. (2010). The Role of Media on Consumer Brand Choice A Case Study of Chocolate Industry. International Journal of Business and Management5(9), p147.

Stevens, L., Maclaran, P., & Brown, S. (2003). ” Red Time Is Me Time” Advertising, Ambivalence, and Women’s Magazines. Journal of Advertising,32(1), 35-45.

 

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