Monica Helms has posted on a new Boost Mobile ad that has Indy Car Driver Danika Patrick’s pit crew crossdressed, and performing their duties as pit crew while engaged in a “visual wrong.” They’re calling the ad campaign this belongs to the “Unwronged” ad campaign. The ad:
Here’s the background piece with the ad’s director and staff — as well as Danika Patrick herself:
A quote from the Danika Patrick from the second video:
I think that they really have some cool concepts for their commercials that are definitely going to get people talking — that are going to get people laughing.
A quote from the director (on a second commercial in the campaign) on what he and his creative staff sought to create:
That is we set a very visual wrong…
Kind of plays to easily into the hateful comment from Rob Williams we highlighted yesterday:
Sometimes you need to tell people that you’re wrong, you’re evil, you’re a drama queen, and you need to get over life. What you describe Dawn is every person all the time throughout their life “I need attention. I need to be loved for who I am.” You know who you are? You’re a dude ’cause you got the plumbing. And, that’s what most of us see, and that’s why we call them freaks and weirdoes.
Monica wrote in her blog:
As you can see, this commercial just looks plane dumb on the visual level, but it also uses men in women’s clothes in a negative context. Trans people who saw this commercial went ballistic. Even though the commercial does not specifically make fun of trans people, out of the 300 million Americans, many will use this as another excuse to discriminate and hold back equality for Transgender Americans.
I would say it differently. I would ask the question:
“Are you saying, Boost Mobile, that being visibly transgender a ‘very visual wrong’? What does your anti-discrimination policies look like regarding ‘gender identity or expression’? — do your internal business policies tell you anything about this?”
And yet even with the 100% rating, Sprint Nextel/Boost Mobile believes crossdressed human beings need to be “unwronged?”
I wasn’t too concerned about the ad until I saw the name of their ad campaign, and the comments of the director. The level of cultural cluelessness about a group of human beings for which they have specific Human Resources policies regarding is something I’m finding myself a bit uncomfortable with. Do their trans employees need to be “unwronged” too?
What are your thoughts?
Update: Fixed the incorrect spelling of Danica Patrick’s first name in this article. For some reason my spell check told me she spelled her name with a “k.” D’oh!