The real world of advertising

Apparently an advert for carmaker Kia is causing concern in Canada for portraying women police officers as unprofessional sex-predators.  This appears to be another lazy creative idea showing women behaving in a way that would be unacceptable today for men. 

, VP of ad agency Publicis behind the commercial, claims to be “shocked by all the fuss”.

“We’re just surprised that people took as much interest in the spot as they are,” Ciccia says. “It’s good in that people are talking about Kia and it’s bad in that maybe some people misinterpreted it to think that it’s reality when it isn’t.”

Ciccia says adults would obviously know the people in the ad are actors and that cops don’t really make out with drivers they pull over.

“It’s humour and it’s really advertising, guys,” he said.

So advertising doesn’t need to take any account of real-world issues that might offend or reflect stupid stereotypes?  Just because the market for the Hyundai Spectra 5 is “slightly skewed towards men between the ages of 25 and 49” doesn’t mean they have to be patronised – or that the remaining demographic insulted.  [See  to make up your own mind]

Advertising execs often see controversy as a good way of getting additional attention through media coverage – so yes, this one will have produced cuttings to count.  But this is a bizarre way to integrate PR into marketing communications. 

Involving public relations earlier and more strategically in a campaign would avoid offending a good section of the population (police and their families) and maybe come up with a creative idea that not only generated headlines, but actually on the car rather than the lame advertising agency. 

And, the in-house PR team at the client would not be forced to manage a crisis created by the poor decision-making of their marketing colleagues.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

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