Czech “Sexist Piggy” awards highlight most sexist advertisements

17-12-2010

The second annual “Sexist Piggy” awards were handed out this week for the most sexist ads of the year. The contest, organized by the Brno-based NGO Nesehnutí, wants to draw attention to offensive and stereotype depictions of men and women in advertising. This year, the organizers handed out two prizes – one awarded by the public, the other by an expert jury.

The ad that won the public vote for the most sexist advertisement of the year was put out by a east Bohemian metalworking company. It features a half-naked woman and a slogan that says “We will bend anything over for you.” Experts described the winner as a classic sexist ad which combines sexual hints with female nudity, presented in a pornographic code.

The other Sexist Piggy prize, awarded by an expert jury, went to a Brno-based company that specializes in buildings renovations. Their ad featured a middle aged woman curling her hair and a caption that says, ‘Renovation can save you a lot of your energy bills’.

People from the metalworking firm Ch Kovo did not care to pick up the prize. The author of the idea is Jan Kábele, the firm’s production manager.

“We are a metalworking firm and it’s mostly men who work in this field, in management of these companies. And the lady will catch their attention and make them read the ad. I’m not sure you can call this abuse – we did our own survey, and 13 out of 15 people said it was good. You can’t really say it’s unfair.”

Mr Kábele said his firm was not particularly concerned about winning the vote for the most sexist ad of the year, adding that negative publicity is still publicity. Petra Havlíková is one of the contest organizers from the Nesehnutí association. She says the firms that put out sexist ads often use similar arguments in their defense.

“This is a common argument, and I think it can in fact be true. But I don’t think it’s a good reason for putting out sexist ads, or ads that offend some parts of the public. If it featured a racist motif, I believe it would be condemned by the majority of the public although it would serve the same purpose – the ad would be visually salient.”

Petra Havlíková says that since last year, when the Sexist Piggy contest was held for the first time, people have become more aware of the awards. This year, more than 400 people took part in the vote. But she admits the organizers are concerned with giving more publicity to companies that use sexist motifs in their ads.

“We are very much concerned about it but we have not figured out how to draw attention to sexist ads without giving them publicity at the same time. We were thinking of a competition in which the public would modify those ads, ridiculing them and turning them into a joke. But we haven’t really got there yet.”

You can check out the “Sexist Piggy” winners and the nominees at www.soutez.nesehnuti.cz.

17-12-2010