Advertising slips back into objectifying women

Is advertising going backward in terms of sexualising women for commercial gain? Ask brand giant Coca-Cola, who recently made waves with their campaign for a premium milk brand called Fairlife, says a recent article. The ads featured naked women ‘dressed’ in splashes of milk, with headlines advising, ‘Drink What She’s Wearing’ and ‘Better Milk Looks Good On You.’

Circumstances like these, in which advertising uses images of women’s bodies to market an unrelated product, are a reminder that marketers may be reversing the evolution of how women are being portrayed, in ad. While some may argue that milk is in fact healthy for the body, Coca-Cola’s ads still didn’t explain why the females were being sexualised and no males were pictured, as well.

How this story ends addresses another significant point: The Fairlife campaign was actually cancelled following harsh public criticisms (calling it ‘sexist’ and ‘boring’) on social media. Given the powerful role social media has shown in holding advertising accountable, do you think we’ll be seeing less sexism in future ads? We’d love to hear your thoughts.