Monday, June 25, 2012

Dear Ball Park

Dear Ball Park,

I'm sure that your hot dogs are yummy.  I'm sure that you're proud of your product and want to present it in the best light.

You're going about it in the wrong way.

Let's look at your new "99% Sure" commercial.  Three men stand by a grill discussing baseball statistics.  The point of contention seems to be that since one of the men is 99.9% sure that he's right, he might be wrong.  Which nicely reinforces your idea that only 100% is the real thing, and anything less isn't good enough.

That's all fine.  Until your commercial voiceover hits this line: "Made with 100% Angus beef to make guys 100% happy."

When I heard that line, I was taken aback.  Guys?  Is this product only for men?  Do women not eat hot dogs?  Do women not like beef?  Do women prefer their products 25% beef and 75% whatever else?  It was alienating to hear your own commercial exclude me, as if I wouldn't enjoy your product.

And then I got to the tag line.

"Men.  Easier fed than understood."

What the hell is this?   It's easier to feed men than to understand them?  First of all, most men feed themselves.  Your tag line suggests that the person watching the commercial and buying your product is a woman in a caretaking role, someone who will buy this man-food and feed it to her dependent men.  Which might make more sense if your ad were full of children, but since your ad features adults who appear able to feed themselves, you're really raising the notion of the wife-as-caretaker, suggesting that it's a wife's duty to nurture her man-child husband.  Gross.

If men are easier to feed than to understand, that suggests that it's difficult to understand men.  Oh, men!  Half of humanity!  So difficult to comprehend!

First of all, no, half of humanity is not impossible to understand.  They're human beings, and they're generally as easy to communicate with as anyone else, especially if you employ things like "listening" and "conversation."  Also, guess what?  The oppressed classes tend to understand their oppressors better than the other way around.  For one thing, it's smart to know your oppressor well, for your own survival.  For another thing, the majority of pop culture is dedicated to the male experience.  So women on the whole have a decent grasp of this mystery called "men."

When I saw your sexist, man-hating travesty of a commercial, I was so appalled that I immediately wanted to contact you.  To make sure that I'd understood your commercial properly, I looked it up to take another look.

Which is how I found this little gleaming nugget of complete shit from your official YouTube channel:
For guys, being 99.9% sure about the accuracy of an obscure baseball stat isn't good enough. Why? We have no idea. Don't try to understand men -- just feed them Ball Park Angus Beef Franks, made with 100% Angus beef. Men. Easier fed than understood.™
You're really committed to this man-hating marketing campaign.  Which is a shame.  I happen to know and love an awful lot of men.  Now that I've learned that you hold such a horrible view of them, I'll buy my food from another company, and encourage them to do the same.

You might want to choose a less disgusting campaign next time.

With love,
Frank Lee

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