Whitney Thompson was the first plus-size model to take home the title on America's Next Top Model in cycle 10 of the show. She's worked pretty regularly since then, most recently filming a commercial for a plus-size dating site which she founded, TheBigandTheBeautiful.com. The PR company for this website is trying to drum up some buzz for the commercial, which was "rejected" by NBC for a Super Bowl spot--and they're using the argument that plus-size bias is to blame. But is it?
AdAge got their hands on the press release which states:
"I wanted to pass along an ad that has been rejected by NBC. The ad stars America's Next Top Model winner and plus-sized model Whitney Thompson. She believes they rejected the commercial because it features bigger women and not the skinnier accepted norm.
The ad is for TheBigAndTheBeautiful.com -- a dating site for plus-sized men and women that was founded by Thompson. NBC Universal's rejection email said: "Unfortunately it needs to be completely reworked for our air. S&P [Standards and Practices] wouldn't approve it."
Whitney goes on to say via the release:
"TheBigAndTheBeautiful just launched, and the Super Bowl is the best way to make a big splash and be noticed by millions of people. Our ad is fun, sexy, and speaks to the demographic, so of course we were prepared to spend $3 million dollars. Super Bowl ads are always risque, and ours is actually quite tame in comparison with some other companies' ads."
Yes, commercials featuring T&A abound during the Super Bowl. The difference is that they are often funny, clever, or tongue-in-cheek. This commercial is none of the above--it should frankly offend everyone: men, women, skinny, plus-size. It's just that bad. Watch:
AdAge points out that the production value and acting both suck. The line, "I'm sick of these women who are too skinny and too sexually experienced" is also infuriating, especially when in the prior shot Whitney is whipping off her bra for the gross guy she's with. It's shot like a soap opera on steroids, and we would argue that it looks more like an SNL skit, except not funny.
The plus-size vs. "skinny" debate is obviously one that produces a lot of heated discussion (see: Katya Zharkova's controversial editorial). Advocacy for plus-size women (or any other group for that matter) is one thing; inflammatory and derogatory crap like this is quite another.
Is Whitney making a case here or setting back her cause?