Theres a bit of controversy from some Internet Marketers about boycotting the event as it seem to be promoting immorality or Im not entirely clear why theyre against it. [Read Tim Erway and Ross Goldbergs posts]. I can understand what their detractors are saying, but I dont really follow their line of logic.Here is my, I think logical, argument about this issue:
1. Advertisments, including advertising campaigns featuring fictional characters, are designed to change or reinforce consumers' perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors.
2. Some advertising campaigns have an unintended effect: They reinforce and perpetuate prejudice toward specified groups, usually by characterizing such groups in a demeaning, stereoptyped fashion.
3. Kelly Felix, via his Rich Jerk character, has of late become increasingly sexist and homophobic in his sales copy and YouTube video campaigns. The Rich Jerk treats women as sexual objects who are his "property"--even to the point of "branding" his women (whom he refers to as his "property") as a rancher would brand his cattle. The Rich Jerk's material also perpetuates negative stereotypes of gay men, whom he specifically states are "not allowed" to attend the Playboy Mansion Party.
4. Given that:
a) Fictional characters employed in advertising campaigns exert a strong influence on consumer's attitudes and behaviors and
b) The Rich Jerk character frequently displays sexist and anti-gay beliefs; I therefore submit that
c) The Rich Jerk campaigns perpetuate and reinforces demeaning, bigoted views of women and gay men. We have an obligation to each other and to future generations to do what we can to stop prejudice in our society in general and in our area of business in particular.
Will you, Andrew, take a stand on this issue and ask Kelly Felix to stop using sexist and homophobic themes in his Rich Jerk promotions?
Mr. Felix is obviously a very bright, hard-working businessman who has made significant contributions by helping thousands of people learn how to make extra income online. I hope that if a number of his colleagues express concern to him and ask him to stop the sexist, anti-gay advertising that he will do so.
Thank you for your kind consideration and for allowing me this opportunity to communicate my request to you and to readers of your blog.
Mark D. Worthen, Psy.D.
drworthen at drworthen dot net
July 5, 2007 12:55 - What If He Had Written "No Blacks Allowed?"
I have heard from many people who ask a question such as, "He's just a marketer doing what sells, isn't he?" often referring to the Rich Jerk's "branding his property" video.
Here's the part of this issue I have a hard time understanding: Assume for the purposes of discussion that, instead of scantily clad young women, the Rich Jerk video I mentioned before featured a group of African-American men and women who were being "branded" and about whom the Rich Jerk" referred to as his "property." What would happen?
There would be outrage, protests, media coverage, lawsuits, etc. In other words, the American public would not stand for it.
The same would be true if the people being "branded' in the video were Asian-American, Hispanic, Native American, or people with disabilities.
So why is it that it would be unacceptable to feature all those other groups but it's acceptable to denigrate women?
And with regard to gay people, why is it acceptable to write, "No gays allowed" when we all know that if the Rich Jerk blog post ended with "No Blacks allowed" or "No Catholics allowed" or "No people with physical disabilities allowed" there would be a much stronger negative reaction?
The answer, is that American society still accepts prejudice and bigotry toward women and GLBT citizens in ways it does not toward other groups. (Although prejudice to Native Americans comes pretty darn close in my estimation).
Now, you can say, "Well that's just the way it is, life isn't perfect" which is, of course, a true statement--except for the word "just." Saying that it's "just" the way it is implies a certain degree of resignation and powerlessness.
And this is the main point of my raising this issue: To encourage other online business people to speak out because we are not powerless--in fact, people working together have tremendous power.
By "speak out" I mean something as quick and easy as responding to a forum thread like this one stating your agreement that the Rich Jerk's advertising is wrong and you have lost some respect for the marketers who are promoting his Playboy Party (not because it's at the Playboy Mansion necessarily but because of the sexist, anti-gay advertising).
An additional step would be to send a quick email to--or add a comment to the blog of--any marketer who sent you a promotional email about the event to tell them what you think.
Am I saying that this is the most important issue in the world today? Of course not. But there are many pressing problems in the world that we cannot influence quite as directly as we can with this one.
Each time someone is convinced to stop engaging in prejudiced behavior, that behavior becomes increasingly unacceptable until we reach a time when a marketer would never dream of creating such sexist or homophobic ads, just as today they don't dare create a blatantly racist ad.
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