These days you can't release a product-based video that uses bikini models without knowing there will be blow-back. Unless that product is for something that legitimately requires showing skin, like Nair or Banana Boat, it's just not going to be released into our society without complaints. People will inevitably make the case that the video is detrimental to the progress women have made in society, saying that putting them in barely any clothing has nothing to do with the product and that it's painting a poor picture of women as objects.
Forgiato is not a sunscreen company. Nor is it a swim suit company or a shaving company. It's a custom wheel company, and that's why the comment with the most upvotes its YouTube post looks like this (yes, we realize six isn't a ton, not the point):
The response above, as well as the fact that the video, directed by Avi Cohen, has more than 700,000 views and 2,790 thumbs up and only 44 thumbs down, makes it pretty clear that there are a ton of people (a majority of the comments are males), who couldn't care less and just like looking at near-naked women. This isn't surprising.
That's why Forgiato used Sarah Stage (well, multiples of Sarah Stage), of course. Marketing wheels can really only take so many interesting angles. We like wheels. Customizers like wheels. But that's because we're car people. The actual content of this video, and the way it's shot, is very cool to us. But we would watch this video whether it has women in it or if it were on How It's Made on Discovery Channel. Not everybody is like that, and it absolutely wouldn't have that many views without the help of a model who has most recently made headlines for suing Playboy and popping up on the red carpet with Sasha Baron Cohen (on the left).
Forgiato knows that its main audience is males, and they know that beautiful women are a part of the car customization culture. You don't need to look further than the "Import Model" section of Import Tuner's website to know that. The fact that women model cars isn't going to change. We've even promoted the practice with weekly import model Instagram galleries. It's not the fact that Forgiato had a model in the video that we're pointing out as a bad idea. We'd like to point out two huge mistakes that were completely unnecessary and take "objectification" to a level that actually should be addressed.
1. She has barcodes on her neck.
2. The video is titled "PERFECTION" and features a super skinny girl with completely unfair proportions (listed at 23-inch waist, 34-inch hips and a C cup) and a barbie doll face.
However you want to look at it, however you want to disect it, those were just stupid decisions. No matter the intent, the instant relation with barcodes is a product that you can buy. Maybe they're supposed to be cloned robots? Maybe, but that doesn't really matter. There's no legitmate purpose in having barcodes on the models that would override the undertones.
The title "PERFECTION" surely is aimed to portray the message that their products, wheels, come at the highest level of quality, are made with the most high-tech devices, and are as good as it gets. But, it also gives off the message that they picked a woman that they found appropriately matched that perfect ideology. The woman they chose just so happened to be extremely close to the proportions Sir-Mix-A-Lot loves so much (36-24-36) and happens to have a face that looks like it's been carefully crafted. Probably not a coincidence.
Coming from a men's lifestyle magazine and website that features its large share of attractive women in tiny outfits, this commentary might seem a little misplaced, that's true. But somebody had to say it.