Last week’s debut of the Rolls-Royce Wraith at the Geneva Motor Show was accompanied by a promo video we found a bit odd and somewhat misogynistic.
The video shows a man driving the Wraith through a dark forest, en route to a woman who seems to be in distress.
But when they meet, the man keeps driving, leaving the woman behind.
The video description says, “The darker side of Rolls-Royce is upon us.” We agreed with the YouTube commenter who said the unfortunate message is: “The Wraith…owned by blokes who don’t pick up women in the forest?”
Not all of the commenters concurred, and we even got one especially interesting email from reader Jordan Theodore McGill, who thought we were way off the mark. We don’t buy all of his arguments, but they’re worth considering. He let us share his email:
Subject: Wraith… “Somewhat Misogynistic Ad..???” Oh, please…
Dear Mr. Davies,
You are reading far too deep into the Rolls-Royce Wraith ad.
Rolls-Royce is only commenting on the relationship between men and the modern automobile that’s been with us since about 1885. It is not a misogynistic ad. Why is it misogynistic? Because a man is having such a good time driving an automobile that he doesn’t want to stop for a woman? Maybe they just had an argument and he needs to clear his mind; he’s obviously not ready to talk to her about whatever it is they were arguing about so he keeps driving until he’s ready to return home. How do we even know it’s his home? It could just be the ad is saying, ‘Look, when you’re having this much fun, you’re not going to want or need to stop for anything. What can a woman give you that the Wraith can’t, besides a human relationship? Can you drive a woman at high speeds through the woods at night (which is a very fun thing to do, by the way)? No, didn’t think so. Not that there’s anything wrong with having a Total Package lifestyle, but hey, we’re Rolls-Royce. We’re a car company. We’re just trying to sell autos here, get with the program.’
The ad, in essence, is about the joy of driving. Have you ever driven an F1 car? Do you know how much fun driving an F1 car is? Have you ever sat and driven a really nice car over a long period of time? Sometimes luxury is the way to go on a long road trip. Sometimes you’re having so much fun driving that you don’t want to do anything else, and guess what? There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s not misogynistic. The ad in and of itself has nothing against women. In fact, it celebrates the beauty, intelligence, and intuition of women. Keep in mind, Berta Benz, wife of Karl Benz, took the first road trip in one of her husband’s cars as a PR stunt to prove his cars were the future mode of reliable travel over long distances, and more recently, with Danica Patrick’s pole position at Daytona, it’s not like women haven’t been involved with the automobile in significant ways, so don’t tell your readers that Rolls Royce has a, “stunning and somewhat misogynistic ad,” because it’s just not true. You’ve thrown your own agenda on top of it. Where’s the objective journalism? They’re just selling cars. Why do you have to make it misogynistic?
So who’s right?
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