Bad Ad: Maker's Mark
Kai Williams, a seventh grader at Manhattan Country School in New York, looks at Maker's Mark bourbon whiskey ad with a critical eye. Williams shows that the sexism and objectification of women in this ad makes it a truly Bad Ad. Kai's essay was the winning middle-school essay in the 2011 Bad Ad contest.
Maker’s Mark: Bourbon Whiskey Ad
by Kai Williams
This highly offensive advertisement features a tall bottle of Maker’s Mark Bourbon whiskey against a black background. In large, silver lettering, the ad reads, “Your bourbon has a GREAT BODY and a fine character. I WISH the same could be said for my GIRLFRIEND.” This advertisement is extremely degrading and insulting towards women. By using intensity, explicit claims as well as comparing women to objects Maker’s Mark has created a weak, chauvinistic ad.
Maker’s Mark uses the concept of intensity in the font, words and image of the ad. Against the plain but dramatic black backdrop, there is an attention-grabbing bottle of whiskey. The bottle draws the reader’s eyes, practically crying out “Look at me! Look at me!” The only component competing with the bottle is the loud, obnoxious words next to it. Using words like fine, great and wish Marker’s Mark belittles women by comparing them, actual human beings, to objects.
The subtext is: buy Maker’s Mark because whiskey is more worthy and better than a woman. The company also enlarges certain words, trying to make their message clear. Perhaps they believe people won’t understand unless they put their sexist statements in big, flashy sizes, but we clearly get the picture.
Maker’s Mark also uses explicit claims to sell their product. Claims such as, “Your bourbon has a great body and fine character” are really just opinions disguised as expertise. There is no actual fact to this statement despite what Maker’s Mark would like you to believe. The company tries to persuade people to buy their product by making explicit claims that are nothing more than the points of view of some people, not all people.
This ad is highly disgraceful as it compares women to objects and belittles them. If the company really prefers whiskey to human beings, then maybe they should keep their opinions to themselves instead of influencing and advising people to buy their product with sexist statements and false claims. This is an example of offensive media and Maker’s Mark should really consider what they are putting into the world and what they are conveying before they do so.