Going Dutch?

Click for a larger, floating, image. Marlboro ad with phallic shape and 'penetrable' hole. Here at last we would seem to have a genuinely innocuous Marlboro ad.   There is no hidden meaning in the wording. There are no embedded elements. Or is there?   If you have become attuned to the double meanings embedded in Marlboro ads you are unlikely to be taken in by the overt visual message and the apparent innocuous meaning.

The scene is almost idyllic, even if the colouring is again rather sombre and less than appealing.   In the background is a dust cloud, apparently the basis for the caption 'It must be the Dutch settlers, then'  But beware, this ad has nothing complimentary to say about Dutch settlers.  In fact, anything more than an initial appraisal would seem to do the opposite.   

Each group of immigrants into the USA. undoubtedly found themselves forming the basis for a prejudicial, negative, stereotype.   The Dutch were no exception. They, are often steretyped as stolid, upright, citizens.    They wouldn't be interested in sex, would they?   They certainly would, if the message implied by the secondary imagery embedd in this ad is an indication of their activities. But the type of sexual activity indicated would undoubtedly handicap their reproductive potential. Curious? Then read on. But beware, the interpretation of this ad leads into more adult material than most of the 'sexual' commentary so far.

A closer look at the landscape reveals more than a hillside topped with windmills.  There is a section of the landscape that can only be described as a a good representation of a rather Extract with flaccid penis.flaccid penis.   Does Philip Morris really think the Dutch are unable to 'get it up'?  Or is it simply a case of this ad picking on a negative stereotype as a vehicle for a message that appears a number of times in Marlboro ads. This is a message associated with sexual inadequacy, castration and loss of manhood.   Only Philip Morris' ad agency know for certain.

If you think this image is simply an area of the hillside, with a pair of converging streams, then you undoubtedly were not convinced that this aspect of the ad was intended to convey a sexual message. Would you still hold to the same conclusion when it is pointed out that the letters SX are inscribed a number of times in this area of the ad. A number of these are indicated on the rollover. SX seems to have much more in common with sex and a penis than a hillside and converging streams.

There is another interpretation that can be given to this ad. This has nothing to say, at least directly, about Dutch settlers. Instead it relies upon a knowledge of, or use of, colloquial language.

Extract with  'breasts' and nipples.Look up any contemporary dictionary of slang and you will find the phrase 'Dutch Fuck'. The derivation of the phrase is unknown but it is a reference to stimulation of the penis between a woman's breasts. And this seems to be the key to one additional meaning that can be attributed to this ad. And it was presumably the phrase that stimulated (no pun intended) the creative juices of the ad team who worked on this ad.

The flaccid 'penis' shape is, as you will note from the rollover, is complemented in the ad by two 'budding', breast-shaped, hills. The 'penis' is in the lower right and the 'breasts' in the upper left of this extract. The location above the flaccid penis might also be considered indicative of the genital area, given the relative location of the 'breasts'.

This ad is thus a creative, visual, rendering of a phrase that would never be acceptable if presented as text in an ad. And it is just one of many Marlboro ads that play visually or linguistically with language, images and meaning. Note that appreciation of such a deeply embedded message, visually and linguistically, could only exist if the phrase 'Dutch Fuck' were a normal part of one's language. This ad was thus not primarily designed for sophisticated, middle class, smokers. If it had any relevance to a substantial proportion of the public, it would be to those whose use of language was likely to be crude i.e. the less well educated, working class, members of society.

See Slang and Just Words for additional examples of ads based on colloquial slang.

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Last Revised: 3rd January, 2003

 

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