Friday, November 2, 2012

Explosion Shaped Cupcakes, Talking Dolphins, Challenged Norms?

I get back home last night and while doing some surfing I find in my feed this post at The Consummerist, with two new ads for the Acer Ultrabook.

The first ad features Kiefer Sutherland deciding he wants to get into making cupcakes. But not just any cupcakes. No Jack Bauer does not simply make regular cupcakes. He instead, with the help of an assistant, records an explosion, with an Acer Ultrabook of course, and then utilizes software to actually bake a cupcake that looks like the mushroom cloud of an explosion.

The second ad stars Megan Fox who works on developing software that would translate the sounds a dolphin makes into actual human speech. And guess what type of computer Fox and her development team use? Yes they use Acer Ultrabooks obviously.

Now as interesting as these ads are one might think quickly and conclude that they are challenging the gender norms of "men don't bake" (even if you look at the popular male chefs like Flay and Legasse you'll see that they do mostly stove top and grill cooking, not a lot of baking) and "physically attractive women don't do science". But I'm not so sure.

First and foremost as interesting as the idea of Bauer making explosion shaped cupcakes this seems to fall into the trap of "when men do something that is considered outside of the scope of being a man said activity needs to be mannified", hence the explosions and threatening of people to learn the location of cupcake ingredients. And the Fox ad has similar caveats (like the "fat geeky guy that doesn't know how to act around an attractive woman" bit).

So I guess I'm asking this. Is Acer actually challenging gender stereotypes or are they just trying to score some cool points off of using them in some sort of hipsterish "ironic" way?