A number of disturbing and sexually violent images have appeared on the social media platforms of watch company Mariner Watches.
The pictures ranged from depicting a woman being forced to drink alcohol, being strangled and passed out beside a man. One ad reads, “Like whiskey and a beautiful woman, timepieces demand appreciation, you gaze first and then indulge!!” The images are overtly sexual, sexist and work to purport the rape culture that has become increasingly prevalent in today’s society.
A Twitter backlash was quick to follow, which led to the company’s Instagram and Twitter accounts and even its website being swiftly disabled. Mariner Watches then posted a statement they described as an ‘apology’ on their Facebook page.
They claimed the post had not been approved by the company, despite the ads featuring their logo. They also lay the blame on the offended viewers, rather than taking responsibility for the poorly judged advertising campaign themselves.
Unsurprisingly, people were unsatisfied and replied to the post. However, two males took it upon themselves to make comments deriding those who objected to the ads as ‘prudish feminists needing to get laid’ and ‘feminazis’.
As if the initial ads and insincere apology were not bad enough, Mariner Watches then preceded to “like” these comments, showing their support for and humouring misogynistic views.
They then had another go at an apology on their website. When accessing the website, a pop up appeared:
This apology did take responsibility for the creation and publishing of the advertisements. However, the damage has already been done, and these attempts at an apology will certainly not be enough to redeem the brand.
So, were the ads merely a publicity stunt conducted on purpose, with disgusting photos used for shock value? Some people have even questioned whether the brand is even real, as no one had heard of Mariner Watches until their ads went viral.
Real or not, the ads reveal the terrifying reality of the sexist nature of the advertising industry today.