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Old 03-03-2005, 03:58 PM
Helen's Eidolon is offline
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Bell Sympatico and the Worst Ad Ever


One of the major high-speed internet providers around here is Bell Sympatico. And yes, it's a big new trend to have all those babysitter settings on your internet connection to make sure little Jimmy isn't surfing for porn. Well and good.

But this ad is appalling. I'm so glad to know little Jimmy will be protected from nasty textbook images of evil female bodies! And that he will never learn what an ovary looks like!
  #2  
Old 03-03-2005, 04:05 PM
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Bell Sympatico: Pandering To Those Who Also Thought Those Evolution Stickers Were A Good Idea.

On another note...what's so obscene about a stomach?
  #3  
Old 03-03-2005, 04:06 PM
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Oh god, they covered up that ovary and that stomach alright, but that duodenum was just hangin' out there in the open for all of God's green earth to see!

The horror, the horror.
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  #4  
Old 03-03-2005, 04:21 PM
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Her hips and thighs and stomach are still SCANDALOUSLY visible! Think of the children!
  #5  
Old 03-03-2005, 04:24 PM
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Ho mama! Did you all get a peek at that hot liver? Wow. And check out that circulatory system. What a bloody babe!

Hey, does anybody have the February centerfold from The Journal ofCardiovascular Surgery? Her pet peeves include cold forceps and doctors who forget to call after operating.
  #6  
Old 03-03-2005, 04:25 PM
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Not only that, but check out the other page! There's an uncensored HINDER!
  #7  
Old 03-03-2005, 04:26 PM
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I am, however, wondering if this is a parody.
  #8  
Old 03-03-2005, 04:27 PM
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Someone needs to tell them that the brain is the most important sexual organ. That's out there just a flappin' in the breeze, too.
  #9  
Old 03-03-2005, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenaroph
I am, however, wondering if this is a parody.
I assure you it isn't, although I wish it was. While the version in the picture is not mine, I could easily have scanned the identical version we received in the mail and which is still lying on our kitchen table.
  #10  
Old 03-03-2005, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenaroph
I am, however, wondering if this is a parody.
It has the hallmarks of one, actually. I suspected it, too. The textbook illustration looks like folk art, the censoring tags are just freeform cut & pastes of the logo bar on the right, and the url looks like a fark-type site to me.
  #11  
Old 03-03-2005, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by threemae
Oh god, they covered up that ovary and that stomach alright, but that duodenum was just hangin' out there in the open for all of God's green earth to see!

The horror, the horror.

Maybe they thought the stomach was the uterus? It's an easy mistake to make.
  #12  
Old 03-03-2005, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayjay
It has the hallmarks of one, actually. I suspected it, too. The textbook illustration looks like folk art, the censoring tags are just freeform cut & pastes of the logo bar on the right, and the url looks like a fark-type site to me.
The cut out parts look like the logo in that picture, because in reality they're just actually cut out of the page.
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Old 03-03-2005, 04:37 PM
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jayjay, I can back up with Laurange is saying. I got the exact ad in my mail today and one of Toronto's independent newspapers also mentioned it in this week's paper.

link deleted; not work safe

Scroll past the picture and quote...

Last edited by TVeblen; 03-03-2005 at 07:05 PM.
  #14  
Old 03-03-2005, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kid_A
jayjay, I can back up with Laurange is saying. I got the exact ad in my mail today and one of Toronto's independent newspapers also mentioned it in this week's paper.

(link deleted; not work safe.)

Scroll past the picture and quote...
That's no god damn work safe Kid_a. Please report it to have that changed.

Last edited by TVeblen; 03-03-2005 at 07:06 PM.
  #15  
Old 03-03-2005, 05:01 PM
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Oh wow. Wonder how many complaints they're going to get. I'd be sending mine in, if they were trying to do business here. Did they truly intend to imply that teaching kids basic anatomy is inappropriate, or was their advertising department really, really not thinking?

I may write them anyway.
  #16  
Old 03-03-2005, 05:03 PM
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This ad is also on TV. When the kid opens his text book there's parts missing (IIRC).

I dunno. It's either Bell making a parody of retarded parents or someone in their marketing department lost their minds.
  #17  
Old 03-03-2005, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badmana
That's no god damn work safe Kid_a. Please report it to have that changed.
I don't see anything not work safe there. Did I miss something?
  #18  
Old 03-03-2005, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurAnge
I don't see anything not work safe there. Did I miss something?
I won't open it again (I'm at work) but there was an ad or a picture of 2 people lying next to each other. The women was naked and quite visible.

It might be an rotating ad.
  #19  
Old 03-03-2005, 05:12 PM
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Re: the inappropriate page - there's a sidebar ad that pops up occasionally for the "Love & Sex Guide" with a nude couple in an embrace.
  #20  
Old 03-03-2005, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurAnge
I don't see anything not work safe there. Did I miss something?
Well, somebody's missing something. Like a sense of humor?

For the love of God, people, lighten up! The ad is a joke. It's saying "Look how far we'll go to protect your kids", ie way past the bounds of sanity. Didn't the censored stomach give you just a tiny clue that this ad was not serious?
  #21  
Old 03-03-2005, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badmana
The women was naked and quite visible.
Yeah, and unlike in the first picture, parts weren't cut out of her body! It's clearly inappropriate!

  #22  
Old 03-03-2005, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badmana
I won't open it again (I'm at work) but there was an ad or a picture of 2 people lying next to each other. The women was naked and quite visible.

It might be an rotating ad.
It is a rotating ad, and shows a lot of flesh and about half a nipple if you look closely.
  #23  
Old 03-03-2005, 05:22 PM
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I'm trying to figure out where to e-mail a complaint but their website doesn't have any section where I can e-mail then other than for "technical or billing help".

Does anyone have a way I can contact them?
  #24  
Old 03-03-2005, 05:25 PM
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A friend of mine got one of these in the mail and showed it to me. We discussed it and came to the consensus that it was a downright stupid ad. Then, in Tuesday's Ottawa Citizen, on page A3, I found an article about it which I will reproduce below in a quote box:

Quote:
Bell Sympatico meant flyer
of cutout female to be funny

WINDSOR - Bell Canada insists it was just a joke. But a flyer depicting a textbook image of the female anatomy with certain body parts cut out is being described as offensive by feminists and Bell subscribers, some of whom are threatening to drop the service unless the telecommunications giant issues a public apology.
The flyer, part of a campaign to highlight Bell's Sympatico Internet service and parental controls, was mailed out last week. It shows a diagram of the female body with the breasts and pubic areas scissored out. Part of the ad reads: "You'll do anything to protect your kids from inappropriate content. So will we."
According to Bell spokesman Mohammad Nakhooda, it was "not intended to be offensive in any way. The idea was to show a humorous representation of what steps a parent might take to manage what children will see, and illustrate the parental control features in our Sympatico service."
But the humour was lost on Sungee John, interim president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women.
Bell may decide to do more consulting with women ... they need to do better outreach before they put out such clumsy advertising," said Ms. John. "If you examine it through various lenses, it would be perceived as anti-women; why single out the female body?"

THE WINDSOR STAR

I may have made a typo here or there (I've previed a couple of times) but that's the whole of the article. I can sorta see how someone thought it would be funny -- isn't it ridiculous that someone would try to do this? I guess they figured they were saying that parents desperate for the "parental controls" in their internet service might go to "any lengths", even stupid ones, in their frantic rush to protect their kids from porn.

It's still a really dumb ad. If you take it at face value, it implies that a woman's breasts are the sort of thing you should use their software to defend your kids from.
  #25  
Old 03-03-2005, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldiboronti
Well, somebody's missing something. Like a sense of humor?

For the love of God, people, lighten up! The ad is a joke. It's saying "Look how far we'll go to protect your kids", ie way past the bounds of sanity. Didn't the censored stomach give you just a tiny clue that this ad was not serious?

See, when I looked at the copy that came in the mail, I was tempted to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I couldn't find a way that it was funny. I can see what you're getting at now, though.

I honestly couldn't figure out why they had a cutout in that shape covering part of the stomach. Call me simple, I guess.
  #26  
Old 03-03-2005, 05:33 PM
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This website has info on what number to call to complain. Possibly NSFW, no images, but the word "breast".

My bestest friend posted about this in her LJ last night, and I called to complain.
  #27  
Old 03-03-2005, 05:35 PM
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I refuse to believe that ad's meant to be taken seriously. Most likely it's an elaborate and fairly convincing mock-up of Bell Sympatico's ad campaign done by some hoaxers. If not that, perhaps their agency prepared an ad tweaking the blue noses of overly protective parents as a joke only to have Bell think it was for real and accept it.

In any case, if the ad is for real, I suppose there'll be a companion ad featuring a copy of the Webster's (do they publish this in Canada?) or Oxford Unabridged Dictionary open to a page with some "objectionable" words and definitions blacked out with a magic marker. After all, every right-thinking parent should know a seemingly "innocent" dictionary is really a gateway to hard-core pornography!

[QUOTE][QUOTE=LaurAnge]
Quote:
Originally Posted by badmana
That's no god damn work safe Kid_a. Please report it to have that changed. [/QUOTE
I don't see anything not work safe there. Did I miss something?
That ad on the right side of the web page is a bit questionable.
  #28  
Old 03-03-2005, 05:47 PM
Helen's Eidolon is offline
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Um, so hoaxers put that exact same ad in my mailbox, and in the mailbox of [b]Kid_A[b/]? Pretty darn organized hoaxers.
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Old 03-03-2005, 05:48 PM
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Having read the "official" explanation, I guess I can sorta see what they were trying for - humor through absurdity. The execution sure is poor though. The main problem is, it's not nearly absurd ENOUGH. I know this is coming out of Canada, but there are FAR too many people in the States who are lobbying their local public school districts to remove all vestiges of sex ed. The textbook with the cutout boobies and organs wouldn't strike them as humorous. It's what they're AIMING FOR.

Given that social reality, the ad just ain't funny.
  #30  
Old 03-03-2005, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NDP
I refuse to believe that ad's meant to be taken seriously. Most likely it's an elaborate and fairly convincing mock-up of Bell Sympatico's ad campaign done by some hoaxers.
No, it's definitely real. I've held a paper copy in my hands. The article I posted above includes a statement from the company about it. Here's the online version of that article, but you need to be a subscriber to read more than the first paragraph.


(Actually, come to think of it, that calls into question whether I was within the SDMB's rules on copyrighted works. I posted the article because I thought it was unavailable online and saw no harm in doing so, but after doing a google search for the story in response to NDP's post, it looks like I've just given away what the Citizen is trying to sell. To moderators: if I get a ruling on this, I will comply with it in the future. Please understand that no transgression or ill will was intended.)
  #31  
Old 03-03-2005, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenaroph
Having read the "official" explanation, I guess I can sorta see what they were trying for - humor through absurdity. The execution sure is poor though. The main problem is, it's not nearly absurd ENOUGH. I know this is coming out of Canada, but there are FAR too many people in the States who are lobbying their local public school districts to remove all vestiges of sex ed. The textbook with the cutout boobies and organs wouldn't strike them as humorous. It's what they're AIMING FOR.

Given that social reality, the ad just ain't funny.

Exactly.
  #32  
Old 03-03-2005, 05:57 PM
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OK, badmana and anyone else who saw the NSFW ad on the newpaper's website. It's a rotating ad and wasn't there when I had seen the link. My apologies all around.
  #33  
Old 03-03-2005, 06:04 PM
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Thing is, IMHO, if the ad is meant to be over-the-top absurd, it's not going to be effective as an advertisement. In essence, it's saying "Overprotectiveness is stupid--let's perpetuate it!"
  #34  
Old 03-03-2005, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kid_A
OK, badmana and anyone else who saw the NSFW ad on the newpaper's website. It's a rotating ad and wasn't there when I had seen the link. My apologies all around.
Not a problem. I was at work (ironically at Bell, HOWS THAT FOR IRONIC) and I didn't want to get caught having a pic like that sitting on my machine (it's a wee bit too late now).


Yeah, the ad is real. I checked it out and the 'retraction' if you want to call it that, is real as far as I can tell.

I wouldn't bother calling Bell to bitch through. Media and marketing issues can't really be 'reported' as the ad is "print safe" (meaning no outright inappropriate images or words).

You could send a quick message via their web site but I'd be lying if I told you they'd do anything about this ad. Really, it's not a huge deal and Bell isn't in any way anti-feminist IMO.
  #35  
Old 03-03-2005, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeshaJoy
Thing is, IMHO, if the ad is meant to be over-the-top absurd, it's not going to be effective as an advertisement. In essence, it's saying "Overprotectiveness is stupid--let's perpetuate it!"
True. If it's not absurd enough, it's not funny; if it's too ridiculous, it doesn't say anything useful about the product. So it's just a bad advertising concept all around.
  #36  
Old 03-03-2005, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
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Really, it's not a huge deal and Bell isn't in any way anti-feminist IMO.
That's my problem with it. It's NOT anti-feminist. They could have done the same with an anatomical picture of a man, with the wedding tackle cut out. The ad is anti-knowledge. It's not sexual. It's not porn. It's anatomy ferchrissake!
  #37  
Old 03-03-2005, 10:03 PM
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That's my problem with it. It's NOT anti-feminist. They could have done the same with an anatomical picture of a man, with the wedding tackle cut out.
And they did (look on the left side of the page).
  #38  
Old 03-04-2005, 06:43 AM
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I don't watch TV much, and the other night in my hotel the ad that includes that particular image flashed by. I waited for the rest of the commercials to end, just to make sure I wasn't watching This Hour Has 22 Minutes or Air Farce or some such.

What in the name of Og were they thinking? The comment above about "Overprotectiveness is stupid! Let's perpetuate it!" is right on the money.
  #39  
Old 03-04-2005, 07:16 AM
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It seems in general advertisers try to make an attention-grabbing scene, then connect it to the product with a weak joke. The joke is just a segue from the attention grabber to the pitch. The initial scene just gets your attention so you can see the pitch. In that regard, this ad works.
  #40  
Old 03-04-2005, 09:25 AM
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The ad is real; it appeared in our local Metro commuter paper sometime last week. LaurAnge's mockup is quite close, except that in the real ad, the Offending Bits were obliterated by cutouts through the thickness of the anatomy book.

I was appalled. The ad praised perpetuating ignorance even in the context (an anatomy textbook) where depictions of such body parts, even to kids, are legitimate. And it praised mutilating books.

Go to this page and select Canada; you can download a PDF of the paper that includes the ad. Unfortunately, the site is incredibly slow and often times out when a new page is requested. I was only able to download two PDFs out of about eight attempts.
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