Really, Met Service?

The NZ Met Service has a new app out, and very pretty it is too. It uses location data to give you local weather forecasts, for the current day, and for 10 days ahead. Very nice.

You can get it in two versions, the paid version, or the free advertising-supported version. Paying with your eyes instead of cash. That’s a fair enough trade of value. Unsurprisingly, they’re advertising the paid version on the free version. Here’s a screen shot.

Met Service forecast for Greenhills

(Description: weather forecast for Greenhills, showing clouds, and rain, all on a pretty green leafy backdrop, with a banner ad at the bottom.)

But take a look at that banner ad.

Banner ad from the Met Service

What do we see? A long necked, sultry brunette, eyes half closed, fully made up, against a dimly lit black and white floral newspaper, that looks very much as though it’s one of those touchable papers with the black flowers made out so some velvety sort of material.

And the words: “Extremely hot. Frequent stormy conditions.”

Oh yes. The best way to advertise weather forecasting is to imply that you need to be able to forecast a woman’s behaviour too. And not just any woman. A very beautiful woman, who could be described as smouldering. Yes, it’s good to be able to predict what a woman’s going to do.

It gets better. Or worse. After the advertisement banner has been on the screen for a few seconds, it flips to a new ad.

Another Met Service banner ad

There’s the same shot of the woman, but this time the words are: The best forecasts. Personalised.”

Geddit? Geddit? Hyuck hyuck hyuck.

It’s pathetic. The image I am left with in my mind is some middle aged advertising executive scratching his balls and thinking that he’s being very clever.

It’s not clever at all. It’s tired, and completely unoriginal. And yes, it’s demeaning to women, suggesting that they are things about whom forecasts should be made, so that people (that would be men) can plan their daily activities. It’s plain old sexism.

Perhaps the advertising people will say that it’s supposed to be ironic, and it’s just a joke, and don’t I have a sense of humour. Whatever. But for irony and humour to work, both people have to be in on the nuance and the joke. And even if I got the joke, that wouldn’t make it any less objectionable. It still relies on objectifying women, and peddling nasty tropes about us.

Here’s the wretched thing. I’ll be getting paid version as soon as I’ve topped up my iTunes account. Their advertising has worked on me.