Skechers has come out with an advertising campaign aimed at young girls to market its “Hydee” hidden wedge sneakers using the theme “Daddy’$ Money.” The ad, which can be seen above, has come under criticism for the messages it imparts on young girls. One message, according to critics, is that it tells girls that they don’t have to work for money to buy things, all they have to do is ask “Daddy.” According the Julianna Miner, the message is clear: “Girls, don’t work for the things you want. No no no. Instead, put on tiny shorts and a belly shirt and go ask ‘Daddy’ for some money,” she writes.
The other message the ad conveys, says Miner, is that girls shouldn’t be satisfied with their appearance. “Are we teaching them that they need to be taller? So that what? They appear to be thinner? Because whatever their size or height or body type, it’s wrong.” To leverage the message and to get girls to interact with the brand, the company created a dedicated microsite for the campaign.
Morally, the problem here is that the ad campaign can be seen as another attempt at fostering consumerism with an audience that’s extremely vulnerable to peer pressure, who are oftentimes haunted by the needs to fit in and to feel popular. The ad certainly seems to emphasize these messages with imagery that glamorizes girls wearing high heel (wedge) sneakers, shoes that in fact mask how tall a girl actually is. Here are some points to consider:
- We can all probably agree that consumerism is a problem in society. So what’s wrong with Skechers wanting to sell shoes to girls who want to look fashionable?
- Is it the responsibility of advertisers like Skechers to be a positive force in society?
- What would have been a more desirable way to sell these shoes to this demographic?
Many thanks to Josie Bungert for sharing this case.
Sources: huffingtonpost.com, rantsfrommommyland.com, Skechers