While men are enjoying the “retro sexual revival,” there is an obvious dearth of female role models in advertising today. In fact, the whole premise Chevy Camaro’s SuperBowl ad this year was men imagining their ideal kick-ass dream woman driving a Camaro. Their fantasy woman is beautiful, strong, daring, adventurous, sporty… and an elementary school teacher? Whatever.
Progressive Insurance’s “Flo” and T-Mobile’s “Pink Girl” are hardly renaissance women that women aspire to. Sure, “smart celebrities” like Ellen Page and Jamie Lee Curtis are used to endorse products, but they’re real people celebrities, not characters. The closest thing to a worldly, sophisticated, multi-talented character is Priceline’s “Naomi Pryce,” but even she borders on an exaggerated spy character. Memo to ad industry: spies are not the only archetypes of strong women.
What happened to the emancipated, beautiful, smart, worldly, skilled “Charlie Girl” (from Charlie perfume) striding into parties and climbing aboard yachts? The “Charlie Girl” (1979) was before her time and actually “The Most Interesting Woman in the World.” She exuded confidence and seemed like a real person. I wonder how many young ladies besides me she inspired over the years?
TV characters work the same way ad characters do: “Charlie’s Angels” inspired young girls for three generations to strive to be independent, formidable, worldly and multi-talented (languages, martial arts, weapons, McGyvvering skills, etc.). Charlie’s Angels will return to the small screen this Autumn on ABC. Right now on TV there is no Angelina Jolie-esque characters to look up to, other than “Alias” (character: Sydney Bristow) re-runs.
I’m hoping the return of Charlie’s Angels this will make advertisers think harder about the type of female characters and personalities they select to represent brands that speak to empowered women today.