Saturday, November 20, 2010

EFFEN Has Gone Too Effen Far

We all know that EFFEN Vodka intended to communicate a double entendre when they branded their vodka with a name that could easily be misinterpreted as the dreaded F-word. Admittedly, with a brand name that is a little off-center, there is an expectation that their advertising will be a bit off-center too.

But, when EFFEN's most recent advertising goes so far as to say, "There is nothing more satisfying than EFFEN on a plane" or "Everyone enjoys EFFEN in the Penthouse," they aren't pulling any punches. And, I'm afraid that it makes a sad commentary on what has become acceptable in our society.

I grew up in an era when George Carlin pushed the limits of what could and couldn't be said on television. Looking at the words from his Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV, you realize how much has changed since the 1960s. While there are still words that are banned from television, there are a bevy of colorful words that have become so commonplace that we don't even bat an eye when we hear them broadcast from our television sets. 

And our children are exposed to visual images that have come a long way from the days of the "I Love Lucy" show, when married couple Desi and Lucy (both on the show and in real life) slept in separate beds, or from that family-oriented show, "The Brady Bunch," who never once showed a toilet in their five years on television.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am a passionate believer in the first amendment of our constitution, which states, "Congress shall make no law ... prohibiting ... the freedom of speech ..." But, I believe that advertising like this is symptomatic of something much bigger underfoot in our nation. In my opinion, we have taken the inalienable right to freedom of speech too far. We use it to disguise the desire of some Americans to be crass and inappropriate, all in the name of freedom of speech. 

I believe the freedom of speech pendulum has likely swung too far and that it's time that we all become a bit more respectful of each other and a bit more careful about the words, images, and innuendoes that we pass on to our children.

Alright, time to get off my soapbox. Thanks to listening to my rants.

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