Elisabeth R. sent in a commercial that, I admit, I kinda like. As the ad progresses, a Mustang driven through urban streets gets a new paint job as a diverse group of people project their personalities onto the car. At the very end a little girl holding the hand of her father, wearing a pink ballerina get-up, spies the car. The car turns pink and then goes black. As it drives by her, she’s reflected in the mirror as a bad-ass black angel pictured above.
What I like about the commercial isn’t the fact that they portray the girl as resisting girliness. Suggesting that girls who are less girly are better than those who aren’t is just another form of sexism, one that demeans femininity. Likewise, the characters are diverse, but that’s par for the course these days, especially when an item is being marketed as urban and modern.
What I like, instead, is just the fact that the ad has an ounce of creativity, that it ends with a twist. Advertising is so stereotypical today and relies so strongly on tropes, that I find it exhausting to watch. So, while the twist wasn’t totally subversive, I was relieved that the marketing team for Mustang did something interesting. Really, at this point my standards for not-horrible are pretty low.Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.