Captain Morgan’s Skeezy Halloween Commercial

I take Captain Morgan commercials with a huge grain of salt. They’re ridiculous and over the top, peddling a product that probably doesn’t really need to be peddled that much. Most of the ads border on offensive (to me).

Their Halloween commercial crosses that border. Four guys stake out a Halloween party, find four women who look single and unattached, and play match-up by dressing to complement the womens’ costumes. The women here are objects – take “I’ve got dibs on the socket!” line as an example. The woman’s a prize for him. Ugh.

And we’re supposed to think this is ingenious and funny. I personally find it disconcerting and uncool.

Comments

  1. says

    Troll comment disemvoweled.

    Yeah, I guess we’re supposed to think, “Wow, how clever and cheeky” but all I can think is how pathetic they are that they need to scheme that hard to make any sort of impression on women.

    Then again, I’m not sure that’s not what Captain Morgan thinks of its customer base: that they are insecure and awkward around women, and need the confidence boost of liquor (and/or elaborate tricks) to approach women. (This is not an original thought, BTW – I read a magazine article last year about a woman who had interviewed a lot of guys who doubted any woman would be with them on purpose, so they just trolled bars looking for women drunk enough to do it anyway… which is sick on several levels.)

  2. sbg says

    Aw, the troll hates me. I wonder if troll boy would appreciate it if all marketing was geared to show women deceiving, inveigling and obfuscating their way into men’s pants.

    Probably.

    Then again, I’m not sure that’s not what Captain Morgan thinks of its customer base: that they are insecure and awkward around women, and need the confidence boost of liquor (and/or elaborate tricks) to approach women.

    Yeah, sounds about right. :(

  3. says

    Sadbobcat, I totally didn’t think of that! Plug and socket, Adam and Eve… not only do the costumes match, all the women are receptive objects (I’m including Eve there, and I think anyone would after a scholarly stroll through Genesis) and the men penetrative ones.

  4. Aunti Femanyst says

    [troll]Stop complaining, its people like you that makes society the way it is. The goal of this advertisement is to have a comical commercial for people to laugh at, “but all I can think is how pathetic they are that they need to scheme that hard to make any sort of impression on women.” Stop complaining and get back in the kitchen.

  5. sbg says

    I do what I can! Seriously, though, it’s like they think I analyze long and hard about these commercials to find the offensiveness (which is strange, because my posts are generally the least analytical on the blog).

    I don’t look for things to offend me or to be problematic. It’s just there, slapping me in the face.

  6. Jennifer Kesler says

    SBG, I think what you do is probably the longest, most in-depth analysis these individuals have ever encountered. ;)

    Maggie, unfortunately that’s pretty much the average citizen’s approach to voting, too. :D

  7. MaggieCat says

    You’re asking people who’ve put in many long years learning to see what they’re told to to see to actually exert the effort of thinking about a 30 second commercial. I think they get grumpy because they thought they already did their homework and don’t fancy having to undo it. ;-)

  8. sbg says

    SBG, I think what you do is probably the longest, most in-depth analysis these individuals have ever encountered. ;)

    LOL, how sad for them.

  9. David says

    Around 2000 in Chicago, Captain Morgan had ads in the subways that I’ve ever since considered a perverse favorite. There were 4 different posters, each showing a person at a party. 3 of the people were obviously plastered– glassy eyes, sweaty skin, slightly “off” expressions. The 4th seemed to be staring at the others with disgust.

    It seemed like the most truthful advertising campaign I’d ever seen. Maybe they’ve continued the “our booze will make you act like a twit” theme since then?

  10. sbg says

    It seemed like the most truthful advertising campaign I’d ever seen. Maybe they’ve continued the “our booze will make you act like a twit” theme since then?

    Intentionally or unintentionally? :)

  11. Jake says

    What’s so wrong about a man trying to impress a woman? It seems to me (and I mean no disrespect) that most feminists are too easily offended by things that are said without malice. Also, the burden of starting a dialogue usually falls on the male in social situations. Approaching an attractive woman can often be intimidating and having something in common allows the male to feel a bit more comfortable with the situation. While the commercial is a bit over the top, it is meant to be a parody of social situations and not an exact replication of what true events might be like.

  12. sbg says

    This commercial did not show men trying to impress women. It showed them trying to “get with” women. It doesn’t impress me as a woman for men to scheme to get into my pants. It impresses me when they see me as a person and not a conquest, trophy or object.

  13. InModeration says

    First of all, I heard it as “dibs on Socket,” not “the socket.” The guy had a clear preference for who he would like to have a shot with and stated it, and used what “name” he had at the time.

    Man, SBG, your posts must scare the hell out of people who know in a true meritocracy, they’d come in bottom out of the whole world. :D

    I feel that this is almost as asinine as any of the troll comments. One, someone’s views, however skewed, have little bearing on their productivity from the view of a company or economy (I’m taking meritocracy in the locally economic sense here, those who produce the best/most move up, instead of around this nebulous notion of “intelligence”). Secondly, in the states at least, we are not far from a true meritocracy, and any deviations from it are not gender-based (I’m assuming you were implying this via the nature of the trolls’ comments), they are wealth-based.

    I think the advertisers were more going for a complementary effect between the costumes (thus the “happy coincidence”), while throwing in the sexual overtones to appeal to their consumer base, which naturally leads to phallic and receptive costumes. Also, the socket pair had a clear overtone, but the others not so much. adam/eve and angel/devil had no blatant symbols to exploit (adam/eve just a paradigm, angel/devil can’t really be argued to be more offensive than devil/angel). Also the rabbit costume just seemed like a way to get the guy to dress up as a huge carrot, no real “penetration” there; rabbits eat carrots, only after talking about it and realizing the doublespeak meanings of “eat” could you possibly see one, its a bit far fetched that this was an intentional or even a subconscious sexism. The whole costume gimmick trickery itself I take as an ill-executed attempt to relate to the average male’s frustration with trying to make a good first impression.

    While I agree with feminism in general, I feel that too many feminists take it to a paranoid degree, and look for dominance relations in every little aspect of everything. And, if they find a feminist explanation for something, they will bitterly hold on to it and will not let it go, for fear of being “duped by the man.”

    I also feel that many feminists are also guilty of thinking they “already did their homework and don’t fancy having to undo it.”

  14. says

    Secondly, in the states at least, we are not far from a true meritocracy, and any deviations from it are not gender-based (I’m assuming you were implying this via the nature of the trolls’ comments), they are wealth-based.

    I totally disagree. There is still work women literally are barred from even if they meet the strenuous physical qualifications (certain types of posts in the military, for example) and there are still plenty of industries where women, people of color, disabled people, etc., conspicuously fail to advance like their white male counterparts for reasons that are quite obvious upon examination and have nothing to do with merit.

    My “asinine” comment was in reference to deleted comments in which trolls told SBG she should get back in the kitchen, was probably fat, etc., and used a lot of choice words like “bitch” and “cunt”. Really stupid shit. I ascertained that ONLY someone who desperately fears an equal world where his race and gender cease to give him a “leg up” could possibly be bothered to take the time to harass someone for stating her take on a commercial.

  15. sbg says

    While I agree with feminism in general, I feel that too many feminists take it to a paranoid degree, and look for dominance relations in every little aspect of everything. And, if they find a feminist explanation for something, they will bitterly hold on to it and will not let it go, for fear of being “duped by the man.”

    I also feel that many feminists are also guilty of thinking they “already did their homework and don’t fancy having to undo it.”

    This makes it very difficult for me to take whatever else you said seriously. You know that, right?

  16. sbg says

    My “asinine” comment was in reference to deleted comments in which trolls told SBG she should get back in the kitchen, was probably fat, etc., and used a lot of choice words like “bitch” and “cunt”. Really stupid shit. I ascertained that ONLY someone who desperately fears an equal world where his race and gender cease to give him a “leg up” could possibly be bothered to take the time to harass someone for stating her take on a commercial.

    Thank you. I wanted to mention something like this. Just today I think I was told to make someone a sandwich (because I’m a woman and that’s what women should do for men), that I’m insane, that I’m clearly fat, to get a life, etc., etc. Yeeeah, what you said is SO close to these things. ::rollseyes::

    But to be honest, I got stuck on the whole nitpick about “the socket” versus “Socket,” which, doesn’t really make a significant difference in the whole overtone of the commercial, in my opinion.

  17. InModeration says

    I totally disagree. There is still work women literally are barred from even if they meet the strenuous physical qualifications (certain types of posts in the military, for example) and there are still plenty of industries where women, people of color, disabled people, etc., conspicuously fail to advance like their white male counterparts for reasons that are quite obvious upon examination and have nothing to do with merit.

    Really? Do you have any statistics to support that?

    I should have been more careful with my wording before to mean that deviations are for the most part not gender-based; of course there will be isolated incidents. I’m sorry if my choice of the word “asinine” seemed harsh, but from my experiences and current knowledge there are no real barriers to women and others these days to advancement in virtually any industry (removing secondary effects of wealth/education/etc). The military certainly still has problems, but it has a pretty unique… “culture” compared to the rest of the country.

    I do not think the trolls are fearful, but rather that they simply think the world has gone/is becoming too PC to the point of tiptoeing around eggshells, and are annoyed/angered by further attempts in that direction. They resort to crude remarks because they think its funny that somebody could be so easily offended, but sadly all they do is fuel the negative perception of themselves and people like them.

  18. says

    Yeah, sbg, I also find it interesting that your posts have been so aggressively targeted, because it strikes me that your advertising focus isn’t the kind of thing I would intuitively think would get people up in arms. It’s not like there’s a fanboy/girl faction you’re pissing off, and it’s not like the general public even *likes* advertising.

    But this is where the money comes from, right? It’s far from “nothing”, it’s the stuff that’s being used to tell you what to buy. It’s the *ideas* you’re being told to buy. Hell, advertising is probably the most important thing we write about here in terms of breadth of audience and power of message, but for some reason, that’s the stuff that people insist we stop talking about.

  19. says

    from my experiences and current knowledge there are no real barriers to women and others these days to advancement in virtually any industry (removing secondary effects of wealth/education/etc).

    I have neither time nor energy to search for stats right now, but first: your experience is essentially irrelevant as to “barriers to women and others” if, as you appear to be, you are a white male. Forgive me if you’re not, but I’m basing that on your comments, and what makes you think that not belonging to any of those groups would give you insight into the barriers? You also don’t cite anything in terms of what your “current knowledge” *is* in order to give us any reason to believe it is in any way either reliable or comprehensive.

    they simply think the world has gone/is becoming too PC to the point of tiptoeing around eggshells, and are annoyed/angered by further attempts in that direction. They resort to crude remarks because they think its funny that somebody could be so easily offended

    Please don’t defend trolls. We do know that they think they’re being funny. But they think they’re being funny by telling us to shut up, get back into the kitchen, using sexual slurs against us, and, on at least one site linking back to us, alluding to the desire to violently assault us.

    I don’t really care whether that’s coming from a place of fear of the possibility of female power/equality (I think it is), or from a place of mere “annoyance” or anger at a PC world (which is annoying and worth getting angry about…why?). They do a lot more than just fuel a negative perception of people like them, so again–if you genuinely don’t agree with them, please don’t defend them.

  20. InModeration says

    This makes it very difficult for me to take whatever else you said seriously. You know that, right?

    How so? Which part(s)? I was trying to express that feminists also have their preconceived notions of things because they have been told to. The fact that I do not see how the males’ approach to the females in the commercial makes the women sex objects does not necessarily mean that I have been “trained” to accept and ignore it, I could just as easily say that you have been “trained” to see objectification when there is none. You also mentioned that the males are not trying to impress, but are trying to “get with” the women… I do not see how this is black and white clear, suggested maybe since it is a party atmosphere.

    you are a white male

    Correct, but you do not have to be someone oppressed by a barrier to be able to see it. I know plenty of people who are not white males, my first hand experience may be irrelevant but not my experience as a whole. Even so, anything I or anybody else sees is purely anecdotal and is only an example. As to what my current knowledge is, my only encounters with statistical evidence for sex discrimination have been in statistics related courses demonstrating Simpson’s paradox (ie a trend on a large scale can be due to trends on how population is divided into fundamentally different groups, where the trend in each group is actually null or even in the opposite direction of the overall trend), thus showing them to be false trends, eg the UC Berkeley sex discrimination lawsuit, or the gender wage gap.

    I don’t defend the trolls, but I do defend some of their points of view, because I share some of those views (particularly that we are becoming too PC). I don’t agree with how they express themselves (the most extreme ones are usually the most vocal). Also I think that the ideals that many feminists hold go too far, at least (especially) when it comes to a personal level, they do not seem to like compromise and always stick to their ideals. It reminds me of this article
    that touches on some important points, though it could have been written better. I really think its this “personal feminism” that most people are against; this unwillingness to take a situation on an individual level and instead see everything from the perspective of cold ideals.

    a PC world (which is annoying and worth getting angry about…why?)

    There was an article on fark I believe about some group trying to stop some incarnation of Santa Claus from saying “Ho ho ho” for some children’s event because of the word “ho.” That someone would think for an instant that this was a good idea, and that this person was in some kind of a position to execute it is what angers many.

    They do a lot more than just fuel a negative perception of people like them

    I assume you mean that they are being insulting and disrespectful, if you mean more please elaborate.

    As for the stats, I was hoping someone had some on hand.

  21. says

    I was trying to express that feminists also have their preconceived notions of things because they have been told to.

    I can’t speak for Purtek, but that statement I quoted is just dismissive. I – like most feminists I know – developed my own beliefs about what was wrong in the world, and only later found out there were labels to apply to them.

    The fact that I do not see how the males’ approach to the females in the commercial makes the women sex objects does not necessarily mean that I have been “trained” to accept and ignore it, I could just as easily say that you have been “trained” to see objectification when there is none.

    No, not “just as easily”. There is a whole culture subtly (and not so subtly) encouraging all of us, every day, not to notice social disparities. There is precious little in our culture that encourages anyone to notice this stuff.

    thus showing them to be false trends, eg the UC Berkeley sex discrimination lawsuit, or the gender wage gap.

    Ah, so you’re disputing the latest US census which found that even after accounting for all variables, there was about a 5% wage gap between men and women.

    See, this is why no one’s leaping to get links for you. Most of us have had this discussion more times than we can count, and it always goes like this:

    “Yes, I have stats. Here you go.”
    “Ah, no, I see where you’re confused. See, this study is wrong. Look, this one that agrees with me is right.”

    In my personal experience – and I’m guessing the other authors here – that “show me the stats” is NEVER anything but a game in which the person demanding stats is going to rationalize away any stats you hand him/her, thereby turning the discussion into a pointless game.

    I’m not saying that is your intent, nor am I accusing you of anything. I’m just saying you probably have no idea how many times I’ve been through a discussion like this, and never once has it turned out fruitful, so naturally my response when asked for stats is to consider wheter gouging my eyes out with a fork might not be more fun.

  22. MaggieCat says

    from my experiences and current knowledge there are no real barriers to women and others these days to advancement in virtually any industry (removing secondary effects of wealth/education/etc).

    True story from a job I used to hold: I used to work in the auto repair industry. I repeatedly had the extremely humiliating experience of customers listening to what I had to say and not believing me, asking to speak to someone else, and then hearing the exact same information verbatim and believing my co-worker because he was a man and they believed that a 20-something girl didn’t know anything about cars or how to do her damn job.

    The sexism and discrimination doesn’t just come from employers (although it is still there no matter how deluded you may be that it’s not) it’s coming from everywhere- from customers, from other business contacts, often regardless of the gender of the person doing the discriminating.

  23. sbg says

    True story from a job I used to hold: I used to work in the auto repair industry. I repeatedly had the extremely humiliating experience of customers listening to what I had to say and not believing me, asking to speak to someone else, and then hearing the exact same information verbatim and believing my co-worker because he was a man and they believed that a 20-something girl didn’t know anything about cars or how to do her damn job.

    *has job envy* I’ve always wanted to learn more about cars (I have no idea if I’m mechanically inclined, because I haven’t tried…) and open an all-female mechanics shop.

    Anyway, though, I’ve had this happen, too. It’s extremely demoralizing to have someone question what you’ve said simply due to both gender and youth. But mostly gender.

  24. MaggieCat says

    Eh, don’t be jealous- I was mainly the computer girl. But that doesn’t change the fact that I knew what I was talking about, I had been trained to do my job which included explaining to non-car savvy customers what was going on, and had been to lectures/observed all the processes (because I’m one of those people who has to understand what they’re talking about before they can retain it) and fulfilled the occasional “Hey could you____?” assist since I had to wander out to the shop every few hours for something or other anyway. It came up that I should consider the training program a few times but I was more valuable as someone who could invoice at light speed, route jobs for the mobile repairs, and get in the backdoors of the computer system. It was certainly interesting though. (And I got to hang out with some really awesome cars. Bonus!)

    The number of times it was a woman who refused to believe what was wrong until she heard it from a man was enough to make you suicidal. Don’t project your ignorance about a subject onto other people! I swear, it happened more often with youngish women than with men my grandfather’s age. Men my own age were the worst offenders though.

    And in a shop where at one point I was the *only* female employee? Coworkers offering to fetch the ginormous boxes of printer paper or change the bottle on the water stand lasted about a month, unless it was the new guy. With the unfortunate exception of the second boss I had there who slowly replaced all the female employees.

  25. sbg says

    The number of times it was a woman who refused to believe what was wrong until she heard it from a man was enough to make you suicidal. Don’t project your ignorance about a subject onto other people!

    Knowing the mechanics of a car seems to fall into that “that’s a man thing/women don’t do that” category, like mathematics in school. Which is a huge generalization, if you ask me. There’s no reason women can’t fix a car (or even just know how to change the oil), and my roommate in college was a math and physics double major.

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