"A Woman Has Needs. And Right Now, I Need This Wild Cherry Steam Thing"

The copy on this Best Buy ad sent in by tipster Jordan reads, “A woman has needs. And right now, I need this wild cherry steam thing.” Oh, it’s a washer. And a dryer too, you say? Golly! I’ll take two. Let me just give you some of these emerald rectangle monetary devices out of my ebony zippery pouch device here… Full size inside.

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  1. ViperBorg says:

    Yeah… no.

    Borderline sexist in my opinion.

  2. Shaneniganz says:

    Damn! Saw the headline thought it was for a different kind of “appliance”

  3. wellfleet says:

    Umm, yes, yes, I work at Best Buy. I’m also a female, I read lots of chick mags, and this looks like one of those ultra-cheesy Monistat/Birth Control/Osteoporosis ads. It’s a… JOKE y’all! I know BBY is the source of all terrestrial evil, along with cancer and Hummers, and backwards baseball caps, but come on. Can we please, please have a sense of humor when appropriate? And btw, I’ve tried those, and they’re badass. I’d still go with the Samsung steam set, especially if the house doesn’t sit on slab, or if they’re going in a second floor, but they’re pretty sweet…

    • tmed says:

      @wellfleet:

      It’s not a good joke. Can’t we all have a BETTER sense of humor.

      I do kind of want the washer, though.

      • SacraBos says:

        I find it much less insulting and sexist than all those “Enzyte Bob” commercials. The only unfortunate thing is there are also some guys that think their girlfriend/wife really wants one of these (and maybe they do), and will realize too late it’s not a good birthday or Mothers Day gift. Maybe Xmas, but you totally need to get something else, too.

      • Elcheecho says:

        @tmed: it’s a great joke. YOU get a better sense of humour. ha ha, ha ha!

    • NYGal81 says:

      @wellfleet: Why is it appropriate to portray a woman as being so daft that she can’t even say the words “washer” or “dryer”? Nevermind the fact that it makes the blatant assumption that women base all their big-ticket purchases based on which one looks good, and not based on any other factors like say, features, performance, reliability ratings, consumer feedback ratings, price, energy efficiency, etc. I’m no stick in the mud, and I like a good laugh–when it’s appropriate. I generally-speaking don’t laugh at, or remotely enjoy, advertising that paints women vapid creatures concerned with only superficial things.

      • wellfleet says:

        @NYGal81: I sold appliances for a long time and I would say 80% of purchases are based on looks alone. Of course we have customers coming in with Consumer Reports (which is complete crockery and is wildly inaccurate), but most decisions are based on aesthetics, even on appliances that are typically not visible, like laundry.
        The Wild Cherry was originally a Home Depot exclusive and I lost dozens of sales because people wanted the red and not the white. Not just women, men too. Consumers who value the features in these machines are typically heads of larger, middle to upper-middle class households, who want to be the envy of their neighbors AND be able to do three loads of laundry at once.
        Never underestimate the power of “oooohhh”. Has nobody here ever wanted something cause it’s pretty?

  4. M3wThr33 says:

    Is it sexist if it’s still true of a good chunk of the population?

    Hell, my mother was considering getting them on color alone.

    • camille_javal says:

      @M3wThr33: Is it sexist if it’s still true of a good chunk of the population?

      I get annoyed with ads like this, though, because I think they feed into what people expect of women, women play into those just-a-girl expectations, and the cycle keeps going. (Ha! Cycle…washing machine…eh, whatever.)

      Of course it isn’t the job of marketers to change this or anything – they want to dive into that ready-made demographic. But I think some of the annoyance comes from the apparent assumption that it’s the only buying demographic – that men don’t clean (I’m looking at you, Clorox), that women don’t consider technical specifications. Hell, marketers could suck up to the same demographic they’re targeting above by flattering their intelligence. They could split the difference. It’s the focus – the focus that has a woman, who seems to be born to clean anyway, who apparently cannot even say washing machine (steam thing?!).

      I don’t know – maybe they think that, because “Mad Men” is popular, it’s time to rake up the Golden Age tactics. But, if that’s the case, I want some Valium to keep myself properly cheerful.

  5. the-perfect-face-for-radio says:

    honey, i’ve got yer wild cherry steam thing right here, and it’s totally awesome!

  6. marsneedsrabbits says:

    The spin cycle: it’s a chick thing.

    ::rolls eyes::

    I want a washer that works well and is fairly priced. Who cares what color it is? It’s in the laundry room behind closed doors most of the time.

    Best Buy really misses the mark on this one.

  7. weakdome says:

    sometimes, we all need a little wild-cherry-steam-thing.

  8. Amazed says:

    WildCherrySteamThing: Apply directly to forehead.

  9. Cliff_Donner says:

    Well, play that funky music, white boy!

  10. Crabfeast says:

    Finally the truth is coming out about the Wild Cherry Steam Thing. I picked up one for our house after reading “Wild Cherry Steam Things ‘They’ Don’t Want You To Know About.” It’s a real eye opener.

  11. I think they’re referring to the fact that you will have an orgasm if you sit on their washers while you do a load.

    But that’s only on “heavy wash.”

  12. Jordan Lund says:

    Wild Cherry Steam Things are an inside job?

    I submitted the ad and was pretty surprised… I have an (increasingly) gender neutral name so I get interesting e-mail from time to time. Just before this one was one from “Michele Obama” telling me how important it was for women to vote in November.

    It just struck me as more than borderline sexist – first pitching washer/dryers at women in the first place, then not even having the decency to assume that women might call them something more than a “wild cherry steam thing”.

    It would be like pitching an iPod to geeks like me and saying “Hey, you have needs, and right now you need this shiny happy flashy music phone thing!”

  13. crazydavythe1st says:

    This ad is important because men need to know that all women do have needs. I was previously unaware that women had a yearning for candy colored appliances that surely are of a higher debt:clothes-washing-ability ratio. I was under the impression that women admired frugality and financial conservatism over appliance color. This has shaken my belief system entirely.

    Seriously though, this isn’t a bad ad as much as it is….awkward. Kind of like the soul-less teacher that never ever cracked a joke trying to elicit laughter through a joke that became stale in the early 70s, we try to pretend like it never happened, lest said happening feeds the soullessness of the teacher/electronic chain.

  14. kryrinn says:

    They’re assuming that women will want an appliance based on color – that women won’t want to look at specs or anything! Seriously, if you’re going to spend that much money on an appliance, you’re going to compare it to everything else on the market, and that line just denounced the fact that women have brains and do think and dumbed the decision down to decor. How about something like “This washer will get your clothes cleaner than ever”. Non-gender-stereotyping, and focusing on what the machine does than interior decor. And the whole point is to buy a machine that gets clothes clean, so color shouldn’t be your deciding factor.

  15. anker says:

    @Jordan Lund -

    “first pitching washer/dryers at women in the first place.” You should save that for jezebel.

    There is nothing wrong with advertising household appliances to woman!

    I know, the point of your submission was what you felt to be very obvious sexism.

    It’s not. It’s marketing and advertising. That particular ad is aimed at a certain demographic market. I would guess this target is middle age women. I am in that target group. As someone else posted, “my mom was going to purchase them on color alone.” I would factor in color as well in my choice. I like the ad.

    If they were marketing these washers to a younger college age demographic they would use a different ad with different views aimed at your liking. However college age kids are not generally the target age group to sell high priced washer/dryers too.

    Besides, some of us middle aged single moms haven’t had the wild cherry steam thing in awhile…

  16. chiieddy says:

    I have a coworker who spent a fortune on one of the steam dryers that supposedly works out the wrinkles in clothes. She complains how it doesn’t work. I’ve never had a problem throwing in a wet washcloth with an item I want wrinkle-free.

  17. Nixi says:

    Sometimes I feel like I should have gotten a degree in “fashion technology” and charged companies a bazillion dollars to make their boring products hot and trendy.

    Now, if only there was such a thing.

  18. lovelyivy says:

    This is ad is lame. Not because it’s sexist, just because it’s lame. I am highly amused that Best Buy feels that they can try to sell me crap through such lame advertisements. Did any focus groups see it at all?

    It would be a great vibrator ad though.

  19. Mfalconieri says:

    The color of it isn’t the problem in my opinion. It’s the semi brainwashing way of advertising. If you are that compelled to purchase something because you are a “woman” and you “need”, the fork over the green.

  20. TommyFeds says:

    But what about my needs? Like an electric screw gun in Burnt Sienna with racing stripes and a chrome grip? I HAVE NEEDS TO!

  21. jenakle says:

    I don’t care what you, or that ad says..those things are damned sexy. I can’t walk by a pair without slowly turning it’s shiny little silver knobs. They rotate around the dial so seductively, so smoothly. Like the caress of a well-educated lover. They’re quiet and strong and beautiful, and I’m sure they do many wonderful things but I don’t need to know about them all just yet, as long as my needs are met regularly, they can go steam someone else’s shirt..hell, they can even mix colors with whites, I don’t care, as long as they’re there when I need them and they keep those knobs well lubricated, sliding around and around…

    Go ahead, I dare you. No one’s looking. Turn the knobs. You’ll want a pair too.

  22. timmus says:

    So does this “steam thing” heat to above 212 degrees? If not, it’s another misleading use of the word, like the so-called Rug Doctor steam cleaners.

  23. First off I am a man. I saw that washer (along with a cool looking green one) at Best Buy a few days ago. I like that color. Its kinda the color of the first car I owned. But I rent and don’t have any way to use it now.

    Secondly I think some of you are taking this way to seriously. Sexist? No. Marketing to a specific demographic? Yes. I’m not John Stossel and I say give me a break.

  24. Pithlit says:

    Okay. Just because something is marketing doesn’t mean it can’t also be sexist at the same time. It is possible to be both. Just wanted to throw that out there for those who are poo pooing the sexist claim because it’s marketing to a demographic. It’s also sexist, because guess what? Women aren’t the only ones who do laundry any more. We’ve moved on. The advertising industry could stand to catch on. It’s not just sexist against women. It’s also sexist to assume men can’t or won’t do laundry. I think the commercials that portray men as buffoons who can’t figure out domestic chores are sexist, too.

  25. Eh- I don’t think it’s sexist… Just gender specific marketing… It’d be sexist if it were a photo of a MAN and the text said “Wives have needs. Right now my wife needs this washer/dryer so’s she can clean my skivvies for me.” JMO

  26. Farquar says:

    I know this is going to be shocking to some of you.. brace yourself.

    For people that can afford this type of washing machine and dryer, color is a driving factor in the decision on which to purchase. They will see the multitude of features on the different models as fairly uniform and make their decision based on which one they think looks nicer. Really, not much different than buying a new car.

    Shocking. I know.

  27. “Let me just give you some of these emerald rectangle monetary devices out of my ebony zippery pouch device here”

    ROTFLMAO. Excellent line.

    Sexist or not, lame ad.

  28. bagumpity says:

    It’s payback for every add in which the underlying theme is “Men are bumbling oafs.” And there are lots. Hell, I can write one in twenty seconds:

    The stars:
    - Bumbling Oaf Man (BOM)
    - Smart and Savvy Woman (SSW)
    BOM: I don’t feel so good.
    SSW: What’s the problem?
    BOM: I don’t know. I just ate a sandwich.
    SSW: Did you use the old jar of mayonaise again?
    BOM: (sheepish grin) Yes, Honey.
    SSW: Don’t you know that Hellman’s Mayonaise prints a easy to read best-if-used-by date on all its mayonaise products, making it simple to tell if it’s safe to use that jar in the back of the fridge? You should always discard any unused amount prior to the date on the label and no later than 3 weeks after opening. Hellmans, now with easy labels that even a husband like mine can read!
    BOM: (sheepish grin)
    SSW: Let me make you a sandwich with a fresh jar of Hellman’s Mayonaise, Sweetie.
    BOM: (sheepish grin) Awwww.

    • DrGirlfriend says:

      @bagumpity: You know what, though, as a woman I find those ads just as annoying for both genders. The bumbling man persona in so many ads and tv shows is old and tiresome. But the woman, who is portrayed as smarter or more capable, also comes across as smarmy and condescending. In the end I hate everyone in the commercial for being so unpleasant.

      As for an assessment of this ad in particular, I defer to @Saboth‘s post

  29. bagumpity says:

    FYI – anything other than plain white costs you extra. Lots extra. We bought LG washer & drier at Sears. While the red was cute, we didn’t feel like paying the extra money for something that sits in a closet and processes clothes. Sorry, LG.

  30. The_IT_Crone says:

    So, let me get this straight: technology keeps improving, but women are supposedly getting dumber?

    :(

    It’s not borderline sexist- it’s full. Not only are they portraying women as brain-damaged, they’re implying that all women NEED washers because ONLY women wash. Greeeeeat.

  31. As for sexist ads, for ads that portray women as idiots. Here is the hands down winner:

    [www.twix.com]

    Go ahead, click the start button and play along….

  32. madanthony says:

    Maybe I’m a sexist jerk, but it doesn’t seem that bad to me. I don’t think it’s that out of line to say that the average woman is more concerned about things like interior design and decorating than the average man. Not to say that there aren’t men who do and women who don’t, but if you watch enough HGTV, lots of that kind of stuff is pitched to women. And appearance is a driving factor in buying a high-end appliance – why else is everything covered in stainless steel these days?

    My washer and dryer are the “Estate” brand ones that came with my house, and look like they belong in an ’80’s laudrymat. But I’ve been known to buy more clothes just so I can put off doing laundry, and they are in the basement behind a door, so i don’t really care.

  33. mugsywwiii says:

    I thought it was pretty funny

  34. jimdoria says:

    You can see invisible vampire bats everywhere if you know where to look for them.

    I agree the ad is kind of lame, but come on, they’re not impugning the intelligence of the model in the ad or the customer. It’s just that no one is EVER going to get as excited about a “washer/dryer” as they might about a “wild cherry steam thing.” She doesn’t use the correct term not because she’s dumb, but because the correct term is DULL.

    Perhaps what’s sad is that this ad pitches candy red washers to women as an answer to midlife crisis in exactly the same way candy red sports cars are pitched to men going through midlife crisis. But a sports car is at least fun to drive and takes you somewhere. A washer/drier just lets you do chores.

    • mugsywwiii says:

      @jimdoria: She doesn’t use the correct term not because she’s dumb, but because the correct term is DULL.

      That’s what I assumed as well.

      My wife thought it was funny, not sexist.

  35. Saboth says:

    Hi, I’m a woman and don’t much, but I do know I need to spend money. And I don’t know what I am buying, but blind consumerism is what I like, and I want wild cherry steam things, and gunmetal oblong cold things, along with flat, shiny, eyeball things. My friends all have them, and I feel I deserve whatever they have.
    Even if I don’t know what they are.

  36. airren says:

    I agree that it’s sexist. But I’m another one that has these appliances and they do indeed rock.

    …And yeah, I like the red.

  37. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    Um, There are Needs and then there are Wants. This is clearly the latter.

    Otherwise, she’s gonna need to buy pricier detergent, a bigger H/W heater and need bigger service if the electrical outlet isn’t a dedicated, GFI’d, circuit.

    Maybe she just needs to live within her means…(like we all should). (@ $1500 each…and more for the gas dryer…jeesh!)

  38. dragonfire81 says:

    $100 says a man designed that ad…

  39. @bagumpity: While I totally get that… I do – I take umbrage with the attitude of it being “payback”.

    In my view those ads that portray women as super-able to do all sorts of things and superior are annoying to us in the same way… it’s so close to being the same issue, and yet so often, when women start complaining about sexist ads, men will chime in with the ‘yeah but commercials show men as stupid’ counter argument, but it’s the same thing.
    Commercial shows man as stupid: most men aren’t stupid.
    Commercial shows woman as smug superwoman: most women aren’t smug superwomen.

    At least – (here’s the cruel irony and/or joke of it) – at least men have an easier “ideal” to aspire to, it’s a lot easier to fake stupidity than it is superwoman-ness. giggle.

    superwoman Kelly Ripa:


    + Watch video

    Brian Regan did a HILARIOUS bit in his “Epitome of Hyperbole” special about the dumb husband phenomenon. It’s too new though (fresh on sale) and keeps getting yanked from youtube…

  40. cpt.snerd says:

    Pretty girl with curls + key words like “women”, “needs”, “wild cherry steam thing” = subtle sexual innuendos?

    Dunno, maybe I’m just looking to hard for their angle.

  41. S-the-K says:

    What this ad says to me, is “buy your woman this and you might get ‘lucky’.”

    Like a guy cares a whit about steaming his clothes? Guys put on their cleanest dirty shirt and they are good to go.

    Hmm… Maybe if the ad featured a man, the copy would read something like “A man has needs. Right now, I need to use this steam thing to make my cleanest dirty shirt smell fresh.”

  42. Nighthawke says:

    I wouldn’t call the ad sexist, but intellectually degrading.

    Taking a stereotypical blond and tagging with her the “Wild Cherry Steam Thing”, just really irritates me to no end.

    And BBY’s mAD men doing it, does not surprise me in the slightest.
    This places BBY in the spotlight of the “all of our customers are dumb” mentality. Once upon a time there were smart customers that went shopping at BBY’s. Maybe it is true now, or maybe not, I haven’t been in one for over 3 years now.

    Move on, go get a Whirlpool or Speed Queen. SQ’s have a 3 year factory warranty, and Whirlpools are legendary in durability and ease of maintenance.

  43. pozican says:

    You all are missing the point.

    We now know about this great washer that happens to be sold at best buy. Look at all the free marketing they got?

    A nice side effect is some laughter with a certain percentage of the population. I didn’t think it was sexist. It was classic comedic misinterpretation. Comedians do it all the time, even your favorite ones, lead you in one direction and punchline in the other.

  44. Jordan Lund says:

    I have to admit, when I bought my first washer and dryer I knew jack all about washers and dryers… So I went to Consumer Reports.

    Their article was great… “First off, every washer gets your clothes clean. Every dryer gets your clothes dry. That being said, here are the repair rates by brand…”

    The top rated brand for repair was a Whirlpool derivative called “Roper”. I had never heard of Roper before, but found a washer and a dryer COMBINED for $500. I’ve had them close to 10 years now and they have never failed. Not once. Oh, and they get my dirty clothes clean and my wet clothes dry.

  45. madfrog says:

    Well, at least this “Steam Thing” doesn’t need batteries, you just plug it in!

  46. picardia says:

    It’s sexist, but its sexism is outweighed by its sheer stupidity. Color can be a compelling consideration for purchases by both men and women (as Apple knows very well), but this ad doesn’t sell anything BUT color, and features a woman who apparently doesn’t even think about OR SAY anything other than how “fashionable” this might be. This is not the best way to sell your product. Also, if they honestly want to sell these things based on how attractive they are, might it not be smarter to have a great big picture of them, instead of tucking them into the corner beneath a huge stock image of a woman that I suspect has also been used to sell prescription medications? Seriously, I think I’ve seen her before praising Nasonex or something.

  47. hills says:

    This ad is directed towards me and I’m eating it up – me want!

  48. Zulujines says:

    I don’t think it’s sexist; I think it’s a terrible ad. It just confusing. I’ve seen that face before–it’s the face of a woman who is confident in the birth control/yeast infection/STD treatment she’s chosen. It is not the face of a woman hellbent on buying a red washing machine.

    And the stupid husband commercials really irritate me–and I agree, it does a disservice to both sexes.

  49. katylostherart says:

    oh please, like a woman would EVER forget what a washer and dryer are called.

    /sarcasm

  50. mannyv says:

    If you’ve been around women, you know that women can be like this. Men can be too, but they tend to be like that around electronics and various gear/equipment things.

  51. this is actually pretty hilarious. bad advertising? more like bad-ass advertising!

  52. gmoney says:

    This is not even funny. Almost bizarre, actually.

    As for stupid husband commercials, isn’t that also the basis for 75% of the bad sitcoms out there?

  53. This may be off topic, but doesn’t “Wild Cherry Steam Thing” sound like an awesome band name?

  54. wgrune says:

    Today’s “Wild Cherry” washer = 1970’s avocado colored appliances?

  55. taiterhead says:

    Could this be the angle; Women have become so liberated, they don’t even know what a washer and dryer are anymore? I know the appliances in question are but vague “concepts” to my wife. And yet she still complains about my folding technique. (bitter aside)

    Taiter

  56. PlayerX says:

    Bart: “Quick, mom! Better whip up a cake before dad fires you!”

  57. citybuddha says:

    How you doin”

  58. thelushie says:

    Hey guys, I suggest you get into a good washer and dryer or you will never get a woman with needs.

    The ad is stupid. Just stupid.

  59. Carbonic says:

    I know a place in Philly you can get a wild cherry steam thing…..for much cheaper

  60. bones11 says:

    Wasn’t there a That 70’s Show episode where Red worked at Bob’s appliance store and had to realize that the women that went in there only decided off of color alone? He tried talking a woman out of a specific appliance because she needed something better but it didn’t come in the color she wanted so she walked out of the store. Anyways, if I was an ordinary not technologically advanced woman and saw the price tag I would have decided based off that it is a better machine than the $100 ones. Who needs to look at specs when it’s so shiny and red??

  61. bones11 says:

    oh and sex sells.

  62. bwcbwc says:

    Wow, this is right up there with Geritol’s infamous “My wife, I think I’ll keep her.” There are so many gender stereotypes embedded in this meme my head hurts. She buys things purely based on their decorative value, she has “needs” that can only be solved by consumerism, her place is in the home doing the laundry. I wonder if she has a cherry steam thing in the kitchen too…