Subway Implies That Women Should Stay Skinny for ‘Sexy’ Halloween Costumes

subway halloween adSubway‘s most recent ad implies that people — “people” meaning “women” — should stay thin past summer because they have to look good in all those “sexy” Halloween costumes like “attractive nurse” or “hot devil.” Because we need more stupid marketing in the world.

The ads have been called sexist. And, yes, meh on this ad. Subway tells the Today show that “some people” (also women) are missing the “intended humor of the ad,” which is another way of saying, “We’re sorry you were offended.”

We’ll propose that the problem here is taste as much as sexism. And no, we’re not talking about the taste of the sandwiches.

Time magazine goes all the way off on its website.

Thank your lucky thigh gap the sandwich chain, which recent research asserts is just as unhealthy as McDonald’s, is here to remind you that it’s your moral obligation to stay skinny. Because “bikini season may be over” — that’s an actual quote from the company’s YouTube page — “but there’s more reasons right around the corner to stay fit.

Jezebel calls it “stupid and lazy,” not just because of what’s in the ad but because of what’s not: men, who also tend to go shirtless on Halloween.

Here we have a case where someone almost certainly saw the controversy coming but decided that generating buzz would be worth it. The brand has always marketed itself as a healthy alternative that can aid in weight loss efforts, á la Jared. And here’s a way, perhaps, to add an edge.

Equally problematic for this ad and others is that far too many people don’t understand the difference between “edgy” and driving into a deep ditch. The act of overstepping prompts customers to question not just a brand’s taste, but its integrity. Not cool to make a joke at another person or group’s expense.

Unfortunately, far too many women go all in on this “slutty” costume business. In fact, we’re going to have sexy Frozen costumes to burn our retinas this year (no words for that snowman costume).

(FYI, the ad has been removed from YouTube.)

Publish date: October 6, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT