Media Monday this week focuses on a commercial for Fruit of the Loom products. View it embedded below, or click this link to see it on YouTube.
And now, transcript time!
Fruit of the Loom made my life a little easier this week by posting the lyrics to the song in this commercial, “Date Night,” on the website that highlights their current ad series, http://www.fruitguyfans.com/. But, since the site is in Flash and I can’t link to a specific subpage (boo!), I am excerpting the lyrics here:
There’s a smile that you show me, pulls me closer to you
As the moonlight reflects in your eyes
And the touch of your hand, dear, enchants me, romances me
Let’s leave the rest of the world far behind
As the ad begins, the opening lines of this song, set to a soft piano melody, are sung by a male singer. A (pale, reading as white) woman’s legs are visible. She appears to be relaxing in a bubble bath. Lit candles are placed around the edges of the bathtub. The image fades into a close-up of a cellphone screen with the words “Be ready by 7 pm. XO” displayed, next to a black bra with pink straps and edging, resting on a towel. The woman’s left hand, with a diamond ring on the ring finger, reaches for the telephone.
The image fades into another scene. Another woman (also appearing white; it is possible that this is the same woman from the previous scene) sits at a vanity, wearing an open-fronted white peignoir over a pale bra. She reaches for a hand mirror and pats her dark hair, which is pinned up for curling. The view changes to her face in the mirror as she smiles and adjusts a curl. She has a slightly rounded face and plump arms.
The scene shifts to another mirror. A hand holds a cloth, wiping steam from the surface and revealing the reflection of pink patterned wallpaper. The camera pans to the side and shows the reflection of a slightly-smiling Black woman. The camera changes to a side-view of the same woman as she fastens a gold necklace around her neck. She is wearing a black bra. The camera moves back, and it is revealed that she is also wearing black boyshort-style underpants. She has a rounded belly and thighs. She smiles as she checks her reflection again and walks off-screen.
The camera now shows a side view of a woman in a bright blue and yellow bra and patterned underpants. She holds a black dress in front of herself and sways, looking sidelong at herself in a mirror. She has medium-brown skin and dark hair. Again, she has a slightly plump body. The camera does not focus on her face, but she seems from a distance to have eyes with epicanthic folds (a little research turns up the information that this model is Maggie Yumi Brown, who is in fact Asian-American). The view shifts again and shows a woman’s hand zipping up a black dress.
Next, the view is of another woman sitting at a restaurant, holding hands with a man across the table from her. She has light brown skin and dark hair. She smiles. The scene changes to a white woman with blonde hair, standing on a balcony with a man. They wear formal attire. They turn to look at the nighttime cityscape in front of them, and the camera pans down towards candles in the foreground before the image fades to black.
The view is now of a grand piano. The camera pans slowly to the side, revealing that the singer whose voice has overlaid all these images is a man dressed as an apple. Men dressed as clusters of grapes play drums and stand-up bass. A man dressed as a leafy vine mops the floor in what appears to be a lounge of some type.
White text appears across the dark background at the bottom of the screen. It reads: “Fit for Me.” It is followed by the Fruit of the Loom logo.
Transcript complete! Now, let’s chat.
Okay, so, the first thing that just really leaps out of this ad at me is that the women in it are shaped kind of like I am. It’s weird! They have soft bellies and hips and round thighs. Not quite as soft and round as mine, and they also have fairly substantial breasts, which I pretty much don’t, but still! Full-figured women, in a commercial that isn’t about losing weight or somehow disguising chub. Amazing.
And part of what really amazes me about it is that the lingerie they’re shown in really isn’t disguising their bodies. It’s doing what bras and panties generally do, with no tummy flattening or thigh control in evidence. It looks cute, a little sexy, but mostly… Comfortable.
Also, the women are happy, and coded as pretty and romantically interesting. They are looking at themselves in mirrors and smiling. They are getting ready to go on dates. They are with men in candlelit settings. One of them is clearly visually indicated to be engaged or married. There’s also a variety of skin tones on display. No women visibly dating other women, however, nor women with visible disabilities. It’s not some kind of super-shining beacon for inclusiveness, don’t get me wrong. Still, this advertisement is actually not pinging my irritation sensors in any real way.
Now, I’m sure that only means I’m missing something. I mean, we’re still talking about a commercial, right? So what are you picking up that I’m not, good and bad? What do you like, what do you hate, and how does this ad fit into the continuum of advertisements for women’s undergarments? Discuss!