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Dairy Queen helps little girls stay flirty and dependent.

Date: May 9, 2008 | Posted By:

Courtesy of a tip from Feministing, this ad from Dairy Queen, showing a little girl flirting with a little boy to get him to buy her a hot fudge sundae. Now, maybe my dad would say it’s cute. Or maybe not.

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There are so many things wrong here:

1) The little girl seems to know she’s attractive — why else would she assume the boy would buy her a sundae?

2) When the girl says “make it one,” at first I thought it was because she was watching her weight. Is that the advertiser’s intention?

3) An 8-year-old girl is already into courting and flirting. (Not unlike how many of them also know about being “sexy” and “hot”.) Also, she first seals the deal with the boy at the same moment the mother says the word “temptations.” Accident? I think NOT. The advertising agency wrote the script and synchronized it with the commercial’s action.

TAKE YOUR OWN ACTION: I’m gonna go let Dairy Queen know how I feel about this ad that encourages gender stereotypes that encourages girls to be dependent and manipulative. I hope you’ll do the same. Here are some ideas.

  • Go to this web page to give ‘em a piece of your mind.
  • If you’re a Dairy Queen customer, don’t go there for a while. (Resist!) Or pull the super-gutsy move: Go to your local Dairy Queen, ask for the manager, and tell him/her that you are not buying anything there because of this ad. Heck, fill out a complaint form while you’re there!
  • Call DQ Corporate headquarters: (952) 830-0200 (I just checked the number, and yes, a real person answers.)
  • Write a real, paper letter and send it to:

American Dairy Queen Corporation Headquarters
7505 Metro Blvd
Edina, MN 55439

We hope you’ll let us know whether you took these actions in our comments below, and what the result was.

- J. B.




What Do You Think?

11 Responses to Dairy Queen helps little girls stay flirty and dependent.

  1. Jim on 05-10-2008

    I've only seen this ad once, and from my point of view (51-year-old male) I chuckled, because I was thinking the little boy was more like a fish on a line being reeled in by a savvy angler. "Like shooting fish in a barrel," she says.
    I didn't think of it as her being dependent on him for a sundae, as much as getting him to spend his money for what she wanted. I thought the little girl was completely in control, actually.
    It made me smile to think that that little boy is just beginning on the fool's journey so many men head out on, thinking that buying women things will win their hearts. Boy, is he in for a shock when he finds out that women want more than just a guy with a paycheck...ANYBODY can buy things.
    But that's me. If you were offended and felt the wrong message was being sent, then that's the way it is. As I said, I'm looking at it through male eyes, and I can't tell people what to be offended by. I mean, I could have been offended because it makes the boy look like an easy mark, but I wasn't because that's the way guys are -- willing to do anything if it'll get you to smile at us.
  2. Jennifer on 05-11-2008

    I really like that you offered your perspective, Jim, and were also open to our point of view. And it's interesting that you have such a positive opinion of women that you understand that we want something more than "a guy with a paycheck." Lots of people I know have more cynical views of women... including most of our media, I'm sorry to say.

    The ad definitely shows the boy as an easy mark, but it also shows the little girl as a manipulative coquette. And that's the issues I have. Girls don't need to learn this behavior from an ad, and boys also don't need to learn about their expected reaction this way. We need to evolve.

    Jennifer
    About-Face
  3. Porscha on 05-12-2008

    I sent an email via DQ's website, and received the following response:

    Dear Ms. ********,

    Thank you for contacting International Dairy Queen, Inc. (IDQ) with your
    comments regarding our commercials featuring Waffle Bowl Sundaes.

    I am truly sorry that our commercial has upset you and that we have
    disappointed you.

    Your concerns have been documented and forwarded to all appropriate IDQ
    personnel for their review. We are taking your comments seriously and will
    take them into consideration as we review our advertising plans for the
    remainder of this year.

    Best regards,

    Carolyn




    Carolyn Kidder
    Senior Consumer Relations Manager
    INTERNATIONAL DAIRY QUEEN, INC.
  4. Jennifer on 05-13-2008

    Porscha, thanks for letting us know! Everyone who reads this should keep putting the pressure on. Companies know that we are powerful as consumers, so if enough people send them a note about this ad, we can be a voice together that may influence them to stop running the ad or rethink their future ad strategies.

    Jennifer
    About-Face
  5. Jennifer on 05-13-2008

    Here's the letter I wrote to Dairy Queen using their web site. Feel free to copy/paste it and edit it as you see fit. In fact, please do edit the letter a bit, so they get different letters. (Note that you should always specify the ad you're complaining about, and what your action will be if they don't pull the ad and/or apologize. Not buying the product they're selling is good enough.)

    ----------------------------------------

    To Whom It May Concern at Dairy Queen:

    I am very troubled by your latest ad for Fudge Temptations sundaes, in which a little girl catches the eye of a boy and assumes he will buy her a sundae. As a Dairy Queen customer, I will not be purchasing any Dairy Queen products until this ad has been pulled. I will also be spreading the word to my friends and acquaintances about this ad.

    Some people may find this ad funny or "cute," but it plays on harmful stereotypes that keep little girls dependent on men's affections and gifts. It also does not reflect well on men: It continues the stereotype of a man or boy as being manipulated by women.

    Our culture needs to mature beyond these assumptions about men and women. However, the assumptions about girls and women are particularly harmful.

    The harmful part has to do with early sexualization of young girls. In the ad, an 8-year-old girl is already into courting and flirting. (Not unlike how many of them already know about being “sexy” and “hot” -- this isn't the 1960s, guys.) Also, she first seals the deal with the boy at the same moment the mother says the word “temptations.” I know that the advertising agency wrote the script and synchronized it with the commercial’s action. The girl is meant to be seen as a "temptation." That's unacceptable, Dairy Queen.

    If Dairy Queen has any problem with making girls into sexual objects early in life -- and I know many of your customers do -- then you will remove the ad from the air and issue an apology press release to Associated Press and other outlets. Until then, I will not be buying your products.

    Sincerely,
    Jennifer Berger
  6. A B O U T - F A C E — blog » How to Write a Complaint Letter About an Ad on 05-13-2008

    [...] On the About-Face web site (that is, on this blog and elsewhere on our site), we talk about a lot of ads and other media that require action from consumers. But when we say “write a letter or e-mail,” what does that really mean? I used to think about what I would say for so long that I’d never write the letters. Those days are over for me, but a lot of people don’t know what to say to these companies. Here are some tips. For an example, check out the comments in the Dairy Queen post. [...]
  7. Jennifer on 05-14-2008

    I got the same e-mail back from Dairy Queen that Porscha got, but signed by someone named Mark.
  8. megan on 05-15-2008

    everyone who is offended by this commercial needs a life, a sense of humor, and an enema. you are all pathetic!!! lol.
  9. Anon on 05-17-2008

    Yeah, that is just disturbing.
  10. Sibyl on 06-16-2008

    I think you are reading too far into things about the "is she watching her weight" speculation...

    but I do agree that it's wrong how they have a girl using boys to get stuff. We don't need that stereotype to be used anymore.
  11. Sarah on 07-02-2008

    I do understand and respect your views on this. I saw the ad as cute, myself. But I do see your point.

    But instead of simply sending in letters to a company, why not try to push parents to reinforce the ideas that girls shouldn't have to be dependent? For that matter, why not push them to reinforce that they don't need to live up to society's expectations? Yes, what the media promotes is not right, but lessons at home can go a long way.