False Flag Marketing

Has anyone else noticed there seems to be alot of controversy over racist, sexist, too sexual commercials lately? There was the Cadillac ad with some Kate Upton chick being too sexy, now there’s the Sports illustrated one that supposedly is racist because the models are posing with locals wearing local garb.
I can see this as a result of scumbag marketers thinking these divisive “social issues” are hot button issues and so why not use them to stir up interest in commercials. It wouldn’t be very hard to create a blog, have the blogger raise hell about the racism in an ad, then because of the guaranteed controversy, get people to watch the ads, visit the sites, etc.
Similarly I don’t find it at all hard to believe Weather Channel sensationalizing “the big storms” so that people tune into their TV channel or website. It’s the perfect draw.

It’s possible, but I think unless the business has a very edgy brand-image (like some kind of fashion) they wouldn’t want to associate themselves with negative imagery.

Yeah, I am sure Coke’s “racist” commercial wasn’t intended to be racist on purpose. Not that I thought it was racist at all; but some Arabs saw it as such, so I guess we should at least consider it.

Its a bit of a fine line between what is really offensive and what is not. A lot of it is in the eye of the beholder and a lot depends on whether its your group that is being portrayed in a negative ( or perceived negative) light or whether its someone elses.
I am really beginning to think that on the whole people are starting to become a bit too sensitive. They see someone else displaying outrage over a perceived offense and they then feel empowered or even obligated to do the same when there is something that involves their group. IMO the majority of the complaints that end up on the news do not seem justified. If we have to start scrubbing every word and phrase that we utter for fear of offending some group or other the world is going to become a pretty bland place.

macgyver, don’t forget you are a white, educated male. Probably difficult to get you going. A person I know once tried to make a joke telling me that in Eastern Europe we all line up to buy one potato. I laughed because I thought it was funny, but somewhere deep down I felt a bit offended–just a bit. I think if people feel something is offensive, we should at least listen to them and see if we may agree with them.
(That said, I will not stop speaking my mind on these forums–although sometimes people may find offensive what I have to say–because that’s what these forums are for.)

I mostly agree with you George which is why I said it depends a lot on whether its your group or someone elses that is the perceived victim. Even so I think there has been an increased number of complaints and a ramping up of outrage in recent years to the point that there seems to be little you can do or say that isnt going to offend someone whether you intend to or not.
Case in point:] One of the superbowl commercials that triggered complaints was the volkswagen commercial in which the actors take on a jamaican accent and become more happy. Granted I’m not Jamaican but even trying to put myself in their position i don’t see what is offensive about this. Is it the implication that Jamaicans might be happy or that they have an accent? To me it just trivializes everything when people start complaining about every tiny perceived insult and my reaction is to then give less credence to anything they complain about

As a first-generation immigrant, I think I can relate to that. This doesn’t go for every single immigrant, but as much as we like to bring up the topic of our country of origin once in a while (as you all know from my posts), we only like to be reminded that we are not “one of you” when we do it. When you do it, we often perceive it as a threat, by being singled out as, well, not one of you.
Sometimes being different can be a good thing, but it depends “what kid of different” you are. I speak Spanish fluently, and I look it too, more than I look Czech, and on a few occasions I have told people (usually girls, in my younger, hormone-driven days) I was Spanish. Being Spanish was simply more cool than being Czech. I see that with people from South America as well. One moment they tell you how evil and barbaric Spain was for what it had done to “them,” but the next moment they are quick (and proud!) to inform you that most of their ancestors were Spaniards and that they have very little Indian blood, if any at all.
There are also obviously very good evolutionary reasons why we try to fit in, as in the past only a slightly different accent often meant death.

I speak Spanish fluently, and I look it too, more than I look Czech, and on a few occasions I have told people (usually girls, in my younger, hormone-driven days) I was Spanish.
+1. I'm not surprised to hear that you're a bit of a rogue.

Controversy over racism, sexism, sexuality, is as american as apple pie. The general public loves it.

Hmmm, maybe I stated my point wrong. I’m not talking about whether or not the commercials actually ARE racist. I mean do you think companies would create ads, then gin up false controversy over them being racist, sexist, etc.
Mid atlantic missed my point too BUT pointed out the “why” I can see companies doing this type of false flag marketing…americans love controversy, or rather the possibility of it. And all it takes is the possibility to get them to flock to various websites, etc. hence generating web traffic, ads being viewed, etc.

No doubt “metrics” of all sorts are finding their way into all aspects of life. It is only going to get more complicated and pervasive from here. I am not sure how far something has to go to be a “false flag” incident, but consider a number of recent trends-
“Push Polls” which do not collect data, but plants an idea such as the infamous Bush robo call in SC asking voters “If you new McCain fathered an illegitimate black child would you be less likely to vote for him?”
“Wetter” weather reports (see Nate Silver’s book) which create positive feelings toward forecasters as the weather turns out better than predicted.
Burzynski etc…
False flag, maybe not, but many bent and twisted formulations of things we thought “we knew.”