A Texas signage company recently made the Internet angry by using an image of a woman who has been bound, gagged and held captive in the back of a truck to sell tailgate decals.
The image is violent and disgusting, but here's the other troubling thing: It did exactly what owner Brad Kolb intended -- drum up new business.
After noting that the decal had brought in new customers, Kolb remarked to a local news station the he "wasn’t expecting the reactions we got, nor do we condone this by any means." In fact, he is now trying to spin the stunt as an effort to raise awareness about violence against women.
Kolb probably felt pretty comfortable using blatantly misogynistic imagery to make money because there's a good marketing precedent for this kind of thing. Plenty of ads use women's bodies and women's sexuality to sell products, and those ads are undoubtedly sexist and deserving of critique. But some companies take rank misogyny to new lows, cutting away with metaphors and quietly offensive assumptions about gender to let raw contempt for women and a disregard for their safety stand front and center.
A roundup of nine of the worst ads we've seen recently: