The Stupid Kate Upton Mercedes Ad May Have Finally Killed the ‘Women Washing Cars’ Genre


If you’ve seen the stultifying ouroboros ad for Kate Upton’s Super Bowl ad for Mercedes, then you’re probably bored. So bored, in fact, that you’ve taken to the Wall Street Journal blog to reinvigorate your lust for life, your joie, your wonder at the bacterial Caligula orgy we so blithely call “life.” But you’ve been betrayed by the cultural firestorm that is the Wall Street Journal, because it is also wondering about Kate Upton’s ad for an ad, wondering just why it is that advertisers seem to think what the ad-gobbling American public wants is another entry in the women-washing-cars-in-slow-motion genre.

So, shrugs the Wall Street Journal as it kicks an empty soup can across the digital freight rail, how did this whole dames-washing-cars ad motif get started anyway?

We’re talking about the video sub-genre of women in revealing clothing washing cars in a sexually suggestive manner. Such imagery has been fueling fantasies at least since the 1940s, when women’s two-piece bathing suits met the auto industries new round, voluptuous, wheel-enveloping fenders. Just try typing “women washing cars” in your browser. Make sure you clear the kids out of the room first.

Yes, get the kiddies clear from the masturbating corner while you Google “car washing hotttttieezzzz.” After you’ve climaxed, you can freshen yourself and realize that the round, dare we say breast-shaped fenders on old automobiles gave advertisers an idea: boobs. Boobs next to the car, boobs next to shaving cream, soda pop nestled between boobs, boob peaches, boob cupcakes, boobs for you, boobs for me, a boob for every American from sea to shining sea. And the Americans in Hawaii and Alaska, don’t forget about them. How will they know what to buy if it isn’t endorsed by boobs?

The Kate Upton ad of an ad car-washing parody lets us know that, like all storied genres, the women-washing-cars genre has gotten stale. It’s starting to devour itself, but not in a clever way like Scream because, according to Ronald C. Goodstein from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, the Kate Upton ad sucks. Really. It doesn’t make fun of the car-washing gag so much as it objectifies Kate Upton for a full-minute-and-a-half before the hose the male car washers are using prematurely ejaculates all over national TV. Mercedes may as well have just run a text-only TV ad that says, “Happy Super Bowl, America. You’re all boorish idiots. Now buy a luxury sedan.” Fart Noise. Fade Out.

Why Do Advertisers Think We Want to See Women Washing Cars? [WSJ]

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