The Social Complex

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A Blog dedicated to the exploration of height bias and discrimination.


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  • October 30, 2011 1:53 am

    Walmart Ad Rejects Male-Taller-Norm

    TSC: I’m not exactly sure what to think about this new Walmart ad, but I’m inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt.  Though the ad involves a short man and his taller wife; the plot doesn’t seem to revolve around humiliating the couple.  Many other ads which address the Male-Taller-Norm are much more brutal and cruel.  However, even in this ad, we are invited to gaze with whimsy at the prospect of a nebbish little man dancing with his woefully oblivious full-figured wife.



    The ad explicitly calls attention to the couples height difference by inviting the audience to focus in on the “silver high heels”.  With this being the case, let’s quickly deconstruct the ad in order to see why its not as bad as other ads of its kind.  

    This is clearly an example of an "odd couple" type of M-T-N ad.  However, this ad tells a story which makes the whole play on height more interesting and a little less gratuitous.  

    The ad starts at a Walmart check-out conveyer belt.  We see “Dove beauty products”, “Degree deodorant”, and “silver high heels”.  Then we cut to a scene in which the husband is giving his wife the deodorant that she clearly has never seen before.  This implies that the husband has purchased all of these items at Walmart for his wife; including the “silver high heels”.  So, in that context, the joke works on multiple levels.  For the neanderthals among us, we have the hilarious prospect of a taller woman pairing with a shorter man.  But for the rest of us, the joke is not on the height difference per se; but on the idea that the husband had the foresight to know that a stronger deoderant would be needed when they go out dancing in high heels - presumably because of what happened the last time.

    So again.  Not a perfect ad.  But not a particularly offensive one either.

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