As if it weren’t bad enough that viewers have had to suffer woke protests, symbols and gestures from athletes at the Olympics, they also have to endure TV ad after TV ad stuffed with insufferable social-justice preaching. But it’s 2021, and corporations are desperate to woke-wash their brands, so here we are.
Do men even watch the Games anymore? Judging by the commercials, they can’t possibly. It seems all major American companies chose to feature women and girls in the spotlight of nearly every single one of their ads. The whole thing feels like an extended infomercial for feminine products — but with refs and scores here and there.
There is of course nothing wrong with promoting women’s athleticism, feminine products and the achievements of minorities. But the ads invariably contained a political edge: For their would-be heroes to shine, others must be torn down and denigrated.
Let’s take three examples.
Nike aired an ad titled “Tomorrow,” imagining a world in which women dominate every single sport (“Tomorrow . . . the WNBA will surpass the NBA in popularity”) and in which we “will all finally respect athletes’ mental health.”
That’s a fairly harmless fantasy, but why is it a fantasy at all? It might be good enough for the WNBA to simply equal the NBA in terms of public interest, though even that’s not likely to happen in the distant future, let alone tomorrow. In 2019, the NBA averaged 20 million viewers per game, compared to the women’s league’s 400,000.
It’s unclear what it means to “finally respect athletes’ mental health.” Everyone acknowledges a competitor’s right to back out of a game, whether because she choked or suffered a lapse of mania. But by “respect,” Nike means celebrate, as is what happened with the media and Simone Biles.
When she withdrew from several competitions, while still referring to herself as “the head star of the Olympics,” we suddenly went from “black women showing up, y’all!” to “black women backing out is powerful!” Sympathy would be one thing, but most of the blue-check Twitter media heralded Biles as a goddess during both phases.
Procter & Gamble paid homage to Zeina Nassar, a Lebanese-German boxer, not so much for her accomplishments as a champion featherweight, but her trailblazing achievement in getting Germany to allow headscarves during matches.
Lilly paid to have an ad promoting its pharmaceuticals, complete with a shout-out for transgender people, because “the body you are randomly assigned at birth shouldn’t determine how well you are cared for.”
The preachy voice-over was accompanied by footage of a trans man with visible chest scars, the result of a voluntary mastectomy.
The cringe is harsh — even when we’re supposed to be celebrating America’s most physically awesome athletes. Gone is the simple and broadly appealing message of how dedication, hard work and sacrifice can lead to success at the heights of athleticism.
Equally overpowering is the hypocrisy: Nike, PNG, Lilly and most of the other Western companies woke-vertising during the Olympics are perfectly happy to drop the lecturing when it comes to dealing with China’s tyrannical, genocidal regime. The corporate hectoring is meant for American audiences only.
And those audiences are … fleeing. “The opening ceremony in Tokyo drew 16.7 million viewers on NBC on July 23, accounting for both the live morning broadcast and the replay in prime time — the smallest audience for an opening ceremony in the past 33 years,” according to The Washington Post.
Maybe the ratings flop will focus the sharp minds on Madison Avenue and among the corporate elite. Maybe tomorrow they’ll give as much thought to the intelligence and respect of ordinary viewers as they do to the mental health of athletes and the delusions of gender ideologues.
Lilly — Gold medal in the Insufferably Woke category for promoting the notion that individuals are not born with a specific sex, but with “the body you are randomly assigned at birth.”
P&G — Silver medal in the Insufferably Woke category for reducing a woman’s athletic prowess to her achievement in getting Germany to allow burqas in boxing.
Nike — Bronze medal in the Insufferably Woke category for berating Americans who choose to watch the NBA en masse over the WNBA.