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A failure in pastiche

Today’s post discusses advertising. Although not fashion related, I felt it necessary to discuss Moxie’s latest campaign as it relates to the “treating women as sexual objects and subject to the male gaze” topic that I’ve discussed here and here.

Moxie’s Bar and Grill has been known to hire girls for the following reasons:

a) they have blond hair

b) they are sexy and/or slutty

c) they are somewhat good looking

Before you say anything, I assure you, the feminists are already on it!

I want to talk about Moxie’s latest advertising campaign, “thingshappen.ca”. Please download the PDF here to see what I am talking about. All three ads are reminiscent of misogynistic Axe advertising. What’s more interesting is the website attached to this, visit thingshappen.ca. Upon logging on, I was asked my age and province of residence (something usually associated with alcoholic beverages websites or porn related sites). Then I was asked to choose a female or male companion to play the “Mojo Game”. It doesn’t end there, I must make a move and I offer my companion a drink, there are three options and I opt for a Double Scotch, he chugs it (it’s a real model) and says “heat all the way down, like the heat I feel with you.” Now we are at dessert and I decide to give him some Cuban Chocolate Moose Cake. He says, “baby that’s what I like.” Wait, why did we skip dinner? The website then tells me I am in the mood for a little romance. I don’t understand the point of this game so I play again.

This time, I click on the woman and she’s much more sexy (not look wise but her voice and gestures) than that male companion I just wined and fed dessert to. She’s got way more chances with me then he does, hahah. Let’s start off with some drinks. My girl is “so glad she gave into this temptation” when I offer her a Raspberry Temptation. Now, I have the option of offering her dinner. WTF? Why was I not offered this option with the dude exactly? Anyway, I offer her Wild Salmon on Capellini, but before I do so, I wait a little bit and she starts checking herself out in the mirror. “Quintessential” female behaviour when we are bored for like two minutes, right? Oh Moxie’s you sure know women! Who is the art director for this thing any way? Back to dinner, my date inhales the meal and tells me it reminds her of Italy. I am 100% she’s never been but she starts saying something in Italian, probably about wanting to skip dessert, take me home and make out with me in the cab. Still unaware I am not the sex that interests her (but with a few more Raspberry Temptations, she may be (the Moxie’s logic)), the dessert menu arrives. I would take the cab offer but the website won’t allow me to skip dessert, and I think she’s going to love the Banana Carmel Xango. Success, she says it makes her “happy”. So once we are done our meal, this is what the website tells me:

You’re definitely feeling amorous today. Wine, warm ambiance and sensual food reflect your mood. Being a lover not a fighter means you’re always willing to go the extra mile to please. Let the tantalizing and endless possibilities at Moxie’s keep your romantic mood going”

Flooded with sexual innuendo, Moxie’s is really cutting it close here. Their print and billboard advertisements are sexist and mysoginistic. Their website is unnecessary and plain stupid. It reminds me of this website a guy in my grade 10 computer class used to visit called ROMP.COM. The other funny part is, Moxie’s is failing at copying a campaign that’s been done before. Word of advice, it’s better to fail at originality then to fail at pastiche, make sure your ad agency knows this.

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10 responses »

  1. I heard (from a previous employee), that the girls are hired as “models” rather then waitresses. This way they can be let go, if their appearance begins to falter

  2. I used to work on the Moxie’s account at their current agency, I can tell you that their hiring practices aren’t like that at all.

    Having worked with both their HR and Marketing teams I can assure you, they genuinely care for and treat their employees well.

    There’s a lot of time and effort put into hiring and training at Moxie’s, as can be expected in an industry with high turnover. They take a lot of steps to get their teams to want to stay.

  3. You ladies are so funny. You over analyze anything you can get your hands on so you can have something to argue. The reality is this, people want to see attractive people, beit women or men. Those who think otherwise are usually unattractive. And you probably would never be considered for ROMP.COM The campaign is fun and different and I applaud Moxie’s for going into a risky area with their advertising. (made you look didn’t it)
    As far as Moxie’s trying to rip off another campaign, come on, isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black? I mean this blog is trying to be something it’s not, something based on fact which it’s not, something that is written by people who are experienced in what they are talking about, which it’s not and a blog that helps women rise above the demeaning stereo types by society, which it doesn’t.

    Take a good hard look at what you are doing here, are you really doing anything to help women rise above? I think not.

  4. A failure in posting?

    Hi there,
    I loved reading your post!

    I particularly liked the fact that you are turning the model on the site into a heterosexual person by default, by using the following sentence:

    “Still unaware I am not the sex that interests her…”

    (Are you really suggesting that Moxie’s should target their sites only to heterosexuals?)

    Only to make it worse by making the assumption that Moxie’s both thinks and advertises the fact that drinking alcohol could turn a heterosexual into a homosexual, with the rest of the sentence:

    “… (but with a few more Raspberry Temptations, she may be (the Moxie’s logic)),
    the dessert menu arrives.”

    Another thing that struck my eye, was the fact that you are making other assumptions throughout this post as well.

    You clearly state that Moxie’s latest campaign relates to the “treating women as sexual objects and subject to the male gaze” topic.

    Only to follow up with a nice generalization of all female Moxie’s employees,
    by summing up their characteristics as follows:

    “Moxie’s Bar and Grill has been known to hire girls for the following reasons:

    a) they have blond hair
    b) they are sexy and/or slutty
    c) they are somewhat good looking”

    There are a couple of things that I would like to point out here:

    1) Please show me your sources; what did you base this summary of characteristics on?

    Can I assume that you’ve interviewed a Moxie’s HR manager who shared this information with you?

    2) Moxie’s only hires blond haired girls.

    Do I really need to point out that the female model that was hired by Moxie’s to be in the videos on http://www.thingshappen.ca is dark haired?

    3) I hope this is unintentional, however in your summary above, you are actually referring to female Moxie’s employees as being sexy and/ or slutty.

    Doesn’t this make you treat female Moxie’s Bar and Grill employees as sexual objects?

    Once again,
    keep up the good work, I love your postings!

  5. @anonymous #3: you can imagine how excited i was to receive this comment in my inbox because i thought vincent gallo was commenting anonymously due to the sexist tone of this comment.

    this is going to sound like an aggressive response but i am not being aggressive, take it as you will.

    now, i don’t disagree that people want to see attractive people, it’s a FACT, however, there are classier ways of doing things – evoking sex comes in many forms, my idea of sexy is not necessarily yours. moxie’s has the ability to hire girls that have hair colours that are a shade darker and look at women that are pretty and not slutty. women that don’t look so submissive either. if that’s what you consider attractive then, you have a narrow view of women.

    as for saying “those who think otherwise are usually unattractive” clearly you are implying that women or men who give a shit about female portrayal in the media are all unattractive. sorry to burst your bubble but that’s untrue and one of the most ridiculous statements i’ve ever heard. actually the most ridiculous statement is claiming I would like to be considered for romp.com – i have more class than that, its not one of my dreams. and by the way, romp.com was a cartoon based sex game. that is a FACT.

    the article argues that this campaign is not different at all – it’s pastiche, copying the advertising of axe almost to the smallest detail.

    as for the assumption that this is based on fact, have you heard of differentiating opinion vs fact? this blog seeks to express opinion, take them as facts if you want but this is an opinion, never stated as fact and not a case of zundel at all (opinion vs. fact).

    finally, if you are implying that because i work in fashion and talk about fashion that i am not helping women rise above, think again. but wait, what gave you the impression that i am some feminist revolutionary looking to free women of all the atrocities brought upon them by the media? i write about sexist advertising and the treatment of women as sex objects and various other things that imply that women are inferior because it will help shed some attention on it, just like how i wrote about the lack of ethnicity on the runways. it’s an important issue to me but this blog is not only about that at all, it’s one category of various categories. I also believe that there are many things that can be done through fashion to help women, it’s individuals such as yourself who are completely cynical towards change and instead of helping this change take place, you sit and agree with the way women are portrayed and what is considered standard for them to look like.

    @anonymous #4 and i assume you are anonymous #2 because of one of your questions:
    i don’t know how to make up your tone but here goes. first thanks for reading but the problem here is the same as with anonymous #3 – opinion vs. fact. let me discuss your hetereosexual comment – i turned it into a hetereosexual by default because that’s the sense i get from the site, check it out and you’ll see what i am talking about. as for “… (but with a few more Raspberry Temptations, she may be (the Moxie’s logic)), the dessert menu arrives.” i am referring to the “every woman is bi-sexual” thing that you can choose to believe or not. i don’t. i call them part time lesbians looking to get some attention at the bar to impress some guy. also see “i kissed a girl” for more background info on the media’s current love affair with women kissing other women. and it’s all in sarcasm, you have to understand it to really get it in the post.

    my assumptions (opinion see above not FACT) are based on my observations of visiting a moxie’s location, their campaign and their website. never did i ever claim i interviewed an HR manager at Moxie’s. Again, OPINION VS FACT. If i interviewed someone i would state it, if i found a study on moxie’s i would source it.

    Good for moxie’s that the model is dark haired on thingshappen.ca, I am referring to the restaurant, i barely see any that have darker hair – observation.

    hope that clarifies things.

  6. I think this is hideous and degrading to men too. Yes there’s a man on that site too, and what a tart he is!

    It also shows men a simpletons who just like beer and posh cuts of meat, when we all know a badly packed kebab or a fish super goes down equally as well.

  7. @anonymous #5: i am happy to hear this point of view because not many men speak up about it, so thank you.

  8. Oh dear.
    This is fun!

    I post a comment about you making too much assumptions only to find out in your reply, you are assuming that I am the same person as the one who wrote comment number 2.

    Thank you for stating my case….

    But seriously.

    I like your postings, however, can you try to start basing your postings on facts instead of assumptions from now on?

    (Thanks for the fast reply though!)

  9. @anonyous #6 (who is #4) – i was waiting for you to respond with a yes or no. sorry it was because of your HR question and the “anonymous” identity i assumed you were #2. hehehehe – human nature.
    as for basing it on facts, i can but remember, the sort of stuff i write about not much studies are done on them so its harder to find, maybe a grad student in media studies would be so kind as to pass me their thesis on an interesting topic so i may read it (i actually will, i’ve read someone’s thesis before all 100 pages).

  10. Hahaha,
    I actually work at moxies.. and I found this whole article so entertaining (and VERY true!) Having worked there for only a short time, I find myself disillusioned and ripped off for the most part. The corporate-whore attitude is overwhelming…as is the unprofessional attitudes of the majority of the managers and higher-ups. Getting scrutinized and or graded on your appearance is a daily occurrence, oh and even if you have a university education, expect to be called a moron by your superiors if you do not know what sauce goes with what dish or some other equally earth shattering bit of moxies trivia.

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