With the aftertaste still lingering from Paris Hilton’s hamburger commercial, there’s new beef over a racy ad from TBS.
A titillating TV spot promoting the cable network’s second season of reality series “The Real Gilligan’s Island” has become a lightning rod online, where clips of the commercial on TBS.com are being linked on countless blogs, some of which blast the ad.
The 30-second advertisement features busty actresses depicting “Island” icons Mary Ann and Ginger engaged in an acrobatic food fight. The women writhe around in coconut cream pies before getting doused with water in the spot, which winks at both the original “Island” and the notorious Miller Lite “Catfight” commercial from 2003.
Like the controversial Carl’s Jr. ad featuring Hilton, the “Pie Fight” advertisement has been bandied about cyberspace along with criticism that the spots objectify women.
“That ad is a visual signal, shorthand for a whole world of issues that women have to struggle against every day,” read one post on a leading liberal-minded blog called http://www.DailyKos.com, by a writer who identified herself as Nixie Knox.
“Shame on TBS -- not for producing soft porn, but for failing to also objectify men,” a writer named Amy noted on a blog of her own.
Steve Koonin, executive VP and chief operating officer of TBS and TNT, defended the commercial as a clever parody. “It was a very targeted ad to men that tried to answer the age-old question Mary Ann or Ginger? -- with a funny spin,” he said.
Despite the online attention, “Island” made a relatively modest debut Wednesday, with back-to-back episodes averaging roughly 1.9 million viewers between 9-11 p.m. The first season of “Island” drew more viewers.
A 60-second “director’s cut” version of the clip is also available on TBS.com, but only after 10 p.m. Traffic on the Web site has doubled, to its highest level ever, according to Koonin.