By: Alyssa Friesen
Sporting bare legs and briefs, a flock of men trudge through a field of grass like lost sheep, letting the wind tangle their long unkempt locks. With wild eyes and flailing arms, they sing, “For I wear no pants! I wear no pants!” WEAR THE PANTS, flashes the script at the end of the clip.
Inscribed in form of a Man-ifesto is Docker’s new marketing campaign. Using phrases like Khaki Diem, Man Hood, Behold the Dawn of the Second Man, it seems there’s more then cotton woven in a pair of pants these days, there is a deep-voiced mantra for masculinity. It’s more than advertising, it’s a call for social change.
The campaign, launched in December 2009 in print, radio and social media, has its television debut set for February while masses watch the Super Bowl XLIV. In an effort to make khakis the symbolic dress of the testosterone-loaded, awe-inspiring hero, the campaign literally and figuratively challenges men to order steaks instead of salads, as if leafy-greens have weakened their ability to save the day. Kind of ironic considering Popeye the Sailor Man pumped his pipes a diet regiment of spinach. “It’s time to wear the pants” the tongue-and-cheek line rolls, implying that men have traded authority and power -to women? For this reason, some find that the campaign leaves a sour sexist taste in their mouths.
Jennifer Sey, global VP of marketing for Levi Strauss & Co. acknowledges the campaign has caused outrag
e, especially amongst feminists. However, while opportunity has never been more accessible for North American women, Sey says men are “off their game.” Women are tromping all over men’s former territory in education, the job-market and social circles, reducing men to the cultural status of a man-baby. And so, Dockers are campaigning for male empowerment.
It’s a striking concept, considering women have fought for equality rights since the sixties and are hanging on whitened tooth and polished nail to maintain their positions in a world still ruled by male CEO’s and government heads. While men may be suffering the bulk of the job layoffs, the female population survive on smaller salaries and men still claim the crème of the highest paying jobs.
So women have cut a wedge into male dominance in the modern world, but does that mean men should feel the walls of their identity are crumbling? Perhaps it’s not time to put the pants back on, its time to accept that women wear pants too. And they look damn good on.
The women’s answer to this campaign might sound something like this, as a parody of the original:
ONCE UPON A TIME, WOMEN WORE THE APRON. AND WORE THEM IN TWO INCH PUMPS. WIVES WOULD GREET THEIR HUSBANDS AT THE DOOR WITH FRESH CHERRY LIPSTICK ON A PERFECT SMILE, AND KISS THEIR MAN ON THE CHEEK. WOMEN STAYED AT HOME TO COOK AND CLEAN BECAUSE THAT`S WHAT THEY DID. BUT ONE DAY, MEN REALIZED THEY COULD MAKE THEIR OWN SANDWICH. OR BETTER YET, GRAB SUBWAY FOR LUNCH, AND TAKE THEIR CLIENT FOR A STEAK DINNER TO MAKE A BUSINESS DEAL. WITH NO ONE TO COOK FOR AND THE SHIRTS AT THE DRY CLEANER, WOMEN WERE TRAPPED AT HOME TO MORN THEIR GIRLHOOD DREAMS OF BEING A GOOD HOUSEWIFE. BUT TODAY, WOMEN ARE OUT OF THE HOUSE. WITH FRESH LIPSTICK ON A REAL SMILE THEY ARE FREE TO GO AND DO IN THE WORLD. FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE PUMP, THERE ARE THE KILLER HEELS. AND POWER BOOTS. MEN STEP ASIDE BECAUSE SHE WIELDS A BRIEFCASE AND WALKS THE STREET LIKE A RUNWAY MODEL. IT`S TIME TO SHAKE HER MANICURED HAND. IT`S TIME TO ANSWER HER BBM. IT`S TIME SHE DROPS THE APRON.
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