• 11.25.15

Least Creative Thing Of The Day: Harman Kardon Tunes Out Women In New Print Ads

Women ruin everything, right, fellas?

On the list of wrongheaded ideas about culture that need to go away forever, “Yoko Ono ruined the Beatles” and “Courtney Love ruined Kurt Cobain” are right up there near the top. Blaming Ono and Love furthers some pretty gross ideas about how relationships between men and women actually work, it denies the fact that both women are important, successful, and legitimate artists in their own right, and it weirdly treats both Kurt Cobain and John Lennon as dudes who couldn’t think for themselves (which is pretty much the opposite of what people love about Cobain and Lennon).


Which makes these ads by Bates Chi & Partners for Harman Kardon’s noise canceling headphones–in which “John, Paul, George, Ringo” and “Kurt” appear within the headphone’s radius, while “Yoko” and “Courtney” get canceled out as noise–pretty wrongheaded in a lot of ways. The pre-Thanksgiving advertising glut can be a time for tone-deaf ads, and while the campaign was surely intended in good fun (the third ad in the series puts “Justin” within the headphone, while the other N’Sync fellas are on the outside, so it’s not all sexist), the idea that “good fun” translates to “casual sexism” is something that Harman Kardon probably should have given some thought to.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.