Comment of the Day: The Tide Mini-skirt Commercial

Ethics Alarms has been getting some excellently written and reasoned comments lately, and it is time to institute a feature I have enjoyed on other blogs, and that is especially appropriate for this one: “The Comment of the Day.”

There won’t be one every day, of course, and the criteria is variable. In general, a Comment of the Day is one that I feel is especially well-stated rather than one I necessarily agree with—like the first entry, in fact. As I have stated elsewhere on the site, I don’t find the Tide mini-skirt commercial unethical, and would not have featured it on Ethics Alarms had readers not brought it into the discussion. I think it is culturally wrong-headed; I think it is obnoxious; I think the choice of song is in poor taste. Still, if Proctor and Gamble thinks it can sell more Tide by attaching its pitch to the assertion that fathers are boobs to question overtly sexual fashion choices by teenagers, and that mothers who encourage underage daughters (Yes, yes, we don’t know that the “daughter” isn’t 25, but the actress sure is doing her best giggly teen impression. We don’t know the “father” isn’t really the next door neighbor, either.) to wear skirts the size of dinner napkins sure to expose the Britney Zone every time the daughter sits down are being responsible parents, I wish them luck. I buy the detergent in our house, by the way; the commercial is sexist by its assumptions.

Here is the comment…

The Comment of the Day, by Jonathan, (on A Commercial for Liars: Tide..with Acti-lift!)

“Add my voice to those who are completely offended by the latest Tide commercial. I thought that the good folks at Proctor & Gamble had stooped to a previously unseen ethical low with the Tide ad from last summer where the mother borrows her daughter’s green shirt, skanks it on her wild night out and then washes her sins away with Tide once her daughter asks about it. But the latest mother/daughter/father ad beats the other ad by a shameful and unsettling mile.

“In my viewing area, the TV stations are running this latest Tide ad on a saturation basis — not exaggerating, this runs at least 8-10 times during a 2 hour newscast, both morning and evening. For those who would say I’m “sitting around waiting to be offended” or make a similarly stupid comment, when an advertiser runs an ad this many times, it’s not by accident, and it surely isn’t free — all of that air time costs them a fortune. The message of this ad is clear: the teenage daughter is free to flaunt her sexuality, the mother condones it, and the father is a fool. And it is repeated over and over again. When I take the step of looking on the net to see if others are offended by a particular ad, and I find a site like this so quickly, it speaks volumes.

“I think an excellent sequel Tide ad (to start running maybe 3 years or so from now) would be for the father to pat his corrupted daughter on the head after he stops by her Section 8 apartment to visit her and her three out of wedlock kids. But hopefully Tide and Proctor & Gamble will be out of business by then, and they can take their offending ads with them. I can truly say they will never receive another dollar from my household because of this.”

27 thoughts on “Comment of the Day: The Tide Mini-skirt Commercial

      • You really LAUGH at that commercial? Wow—you’re easy. What exactly is funny about it? The fact that the father unethically soils his daughter’s dress and avoids his job or asking her about its age-appropriateness? HA HA! No? Then is it that the nother, without discussing the issue with her husband, just aids and abets her daughter without giving the issue a fair hearing? HA! No? Then is it hilarious to you that the sub-18-year-old daughter goes out tarted up while the soundtrack lusts after her, as the daughter and mother treat the father as a moron? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

        You’re point would be more persuasive if the commercial was actually funny.

  1. Wow—too vague and imprecise comments in a row from people who are usually anything but!

    Get over what? I keep saying that the stupid skirt commercial is just a stupid commercial, and people keep thanking me for agreeing that it is unethical. And in agreement with what? Neil’s vague comment, the Comment of the Day, or my disagreement with the Comment of the Day?

    My main objection to the %$%*&&^ skirt commercial is that it keeps this thread alive….

    • I’m in agreement, sort of, to the notion of “get over it,” which I think was saying that the commercial wasn’t a big deal.

      • I guessed that. I am also guessing you’re agreement with Neil’s comment means that the commenter should get over it, since I’m also guessing that what Neil means,since I never wasn’t over it. I’ve gotta get used to the fact that a direct comment to the Comment of the Day isn’t directed at me.

        • Jack,
          Well, in this case, it was directed at both of you. The original commenter for taking offense to such a trivial advert and you for furthering it by making it your comment of the day. Neither this, nor any other Tide commercial is, or will ever be, unethical or immoral until and unless they begin depicting REAL people in REAL situations. Otherwise, it’s all just fiction.


          PS: And DirecTV

          PSS: And your little dog, too ..

          • Thanks for the clarification. I get your point, though I know that you really don’t believe that fiction is ethically irrelevant, or without negative cultural influence. That argument is easier to make when applied to TV commercials, certainly.

    • It only takes one very obnoxious, arrogant and far to anal retentive twit such as yourself Jack; to remind me why I am giving up reading comments here. Please pick up the telephone and answer it…the 18th century is calling and they want you back where you belong

  2. I think Jonathan’s comments were completely appropriate. I only wish I’d said it, myself. Let’s just remember that, as with any commericals featuring children -real or pseudo- other kids will be watching and taking mental notes. And, from a man’s viewpoint, I’m heartily tired of this endless stereotype of fathers being mentally and morally challenged throughout TV Eternity! To reference Jon’s version of a sequel ad, I’d suggest that the father, indeed, give his daughter a pat. Not on the head, but on the bottom. Hard!

  3. By the way—I have now concluded that the skirt the father wipes his hands on is considerably shorter than the one his “daughter” actually wears. So maybe we’re misreading the moral: she pats Dad because he was right after all!

  4. Wow. What century are you people from? I can’t believe someone could be offended by that commercial.

    First, that skirt is not that short. I guess you all have your daughters wearing skirts down to their ankles? That skirt on the actress was pretty tame.

    Second, while I agree there’s too much of the “dumb dad” stereotype out on tv, I didn’t really see that here. This was more “over-protective dad being silly” while mom identifies with the daughter wanting to dress trendy. I’m not sure how one would get mom condoning her daughter “flaunting sexuality” But go ahead and be offended by all means. If you find the daughter’s outfit scandalous, then you must be constantly offended anywhere women don’t wear burkas.

    • I wouldn’t call yours a very careful reading of the comments or the underlying point. I began by saying that Tide II, with skirt, was more annoying than offensive; Tide I, the lying mother as hero, however, was offensive., and it is. If you want to say the commercial is just “mother and daughter over-rule Victorian Dad on daughter’s cute skirt: that’s fine with me, but that’s also not the commercial. 1.) Father disapproves of daughter’s skirt (the one he holds is smaller than the one she is shown wearing later) 2.) He soils it, in order to ruin it (cowardly, unfair, irresponsible) 3) The mother conspires with the daughter to “foil” Dad by allowing her to wear a sexy skirt (irresponsible) 4) Mother and daughter treat father in condescending manner (disrespectful); 5) Teen daughter goes out in inappropriate (arguably) length skirt as song about men lusting after girls plays in the background.

      You ignore the song. It is the context of the drama, and suggests quite intentionally that Mom is sending her daughter out into a sexual jungle, that the father is a fool for minding, and that this is what teens do. I’m not offended by the commercial, but it could have been written by Dina Lohan.

  5. Wow, thanks! This commercial has been bothering me for months now. I feel bad for the poor dad, trying to save his daughter from the leering guys who sing the awful song in the background.

  6. This song has been bothersome to me as well, but I could not quite put my finger on it. Thank you Jack as your last comment spells it out succinctly. It is the song in the background that pulls the whole message together, and which I think assaults me most of all, as it is in effect justifying and perpetuating the stereotype of women and girls as sexual objects rather than whole human beings.

  7. What kinda mother let’s her thirteen year old daught dress up like a hooker? I live in the city and have seen streetwalkers with mini white skirts like this young lady. That commercial rubs me the wrong way. Especially with the song in the background talking about I like girls, let me tap that while you shake that. The dad with his dirty fingers all over his daughters “pure” white mini skirt, too much sexual inuendos. They did that shit on purpose, when the daughter leaves (probably to flirt with overaged men the stupid mother may or may not know about) the dad is too engrossed in his tv to even realize that his daughter is about to go out into the world dressed at a nieve slut what’s that about its like the story doesn’t even flow. They just want so badly to protray a slut looking teen and a dirty fingered father and a over spoiling “best friend” type of mother.

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