Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Not a Fan of the Red Monkey

Want to see an outdated advertising strategy? Look no further than the Red Monkey Downtown Lounge on Alder. The bar recently released a pair of sexist TV commercials in a failed attempt to drive game day attendance.

The two-part series was shot in the same fashion as was the popular “Sh!t People Say When…” YouTube videos that went viral in 2011. The bar titled its creations “Stuff Dudes Say When Watching Football” and “Stuff Chicks Say When Watching Football.” In both commercials, a man and a woman are sitting at a table, presumably in the Red Monkey, watching a football game. The “Stuff Dudes Say…” segment showcases an Average Joe in a Seahawks shirt munching on wings, staring at a TV screen, and loudly overstating his football prowess. The advertisement capitalizes on the stereotype of the slightly overweight, obnoxious male football fan whose breadth of sports knowledge is derived primarily from his fantasy football team. The bar’s message is clear: even if this is you, you are welcome at the Red Monkey.

In a similar fashion, the Red Monkey attempts to typecast the female football fan. The “Stuff Chicks Say…” commercial displays a woman in Seahawks jersey (side note: why must all annoying football fans be donning Seahawks gear?) with an extremely short attention span for the ongoing football game. She remarks only on the blatantly obvious and interjects with completely unrelated exclamations that only escalate in their ignorance. The tight end’s butt is tight! The red pumps are on sale! Aww, that’s my, like,  favorite commercial! While the male counterpart is attempting to enjoy the game, the featured “chick” is serving only as an annoyance. This is highlighted by the man’s frequent eye rolls in response to the woman’s nonsensical commentary. The interaction between the man and the woman in this commercial sends a completely different message than the “Stuff Dudes Say..” clip: the Red Monkey will merely tolerate the presence of women – football fan or not.

In a mere 30 seconds, the commercial manages to assert that “chicks,” which in itself is derogatory, are not only completely incapable of engaging in athletics, but also are obnoxious in their lack of general intelligence. The featured woman, absorbed in her iPhone, diverts her attention from her texts only to make comments such as “Ha, ‘punt’ is a funny word…right?” and “God, he needs to shave.” The Red Monkey’s implicit assertions have nothing to do with female football fans, but rather all women, as the “chick” portrayed in the commercial is surely not a fan.

The sad reality is that the Red Monkey isn’t alone in its sexist advertising. The preconceived notions of male and female fandom are heightened every year. In 2010 Vanity Fair printed a female’s vocabulary guide to the Super Bowl for “the one holy day of the year [women] have to watch football with [men].” Another news source published a video and corresponding “cheat sheet” available for download providing phrases women should say (and not say) during football games. It was described as a “survival guide” for being in the presence of male football followers.

On the other hand, NFL is taking measures to dispel the stereotype of the female “fan.” In fact, NFL has recognized and harnessed the power of an active female base. ESPN.com published an article in 2011 proposing women as the NFL’s latest advertising frontier. Just two years ago, NFLShop.com saw over a 10% growth on women’s merchandise. The NFL also utilizes football-savvy women as liaisons of their merchandise, choosing football players’ wives and spouses of team owners and coaches to sport pro jerseys, instead of hiring supermodels. These efforts to market to the ever-growing population of knowledgeable female football fans have had tangible benefits for the NFL, such as increased female game attendance and higher TV ratings from the 18-34-year old female demographic.

The Red Monkey, Vanity Fair, and other companies can make a quick buck and laugh recycling the outdated stereotype of an uninformed female fan. But as women become more and more invested in the sports world, these labels will eventually backfire. Guys – wouldn’t you rather go watch the game at a bar where the women know a thing or two about football? Both genders should take their fandom elsewhere and frequent places that appreciate (not insult) female patronage.


Co-authored by Helena Victor

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