What I’m thinking about this morning:

1. Sexy salad dressing.
2. Topless Toyota ads.
3. Gender can’t be taught. Just ask millennials.
4. A new era of social responsibility.

1. What, you don’t like salad dressing? Did you see this ad for Kraft’s Zesty Italian Salad Dressing? It features a gentleman enjoying his picnic. So what if he’s not wearing any clothes. (I guess you can say salad is the only dressing he likes…ba-dah-bum.)

One group that doesn’t like it is OneMillionMoms, who told us that boy is a P-I-G pig. And “Christians will not be able to buy Kraft dressings or any of their products until they clean up their advertising.” For me…eh, I don’t know if I’m that offended by this. Would I want my seven-year-old looking at it? Probably not. Then again, unless Kraft buys space in Ranger Rick, my seven-year-old isn’t going to be seeing this as it’s running in the like of People magazine.

However, that being said, it was only a week ago I had beef with the Radio Shack Beats commercial. I guess that’s what makes this world – and the advertising world – great. There are some things you find funny and I find offensive. And vice versa. Kraft certainly isn’t the first advertiser to offend with its use of skin…have you seen the Carl’s Jr. ads? Here is their latest, hitting next month with Jenny McCarthy eating a salad (what’s the deal with sexy salads?).

Regardless of what you think about it, Kraft’s ad did its job – people noticed it and are talking about salad dressing. When shopper see Zesty Italian dressing on the shelf, will they buy it? Who knows. But in an aisle where there are a ton of options, they might be a little more likely to stand out.

2. If OneMillionMoms hated the Kraft ad… they definitely won’t like this. Or will they? I don’t know what they can really say about this ad from Toyota for its Auris, a hybrid. Now, I’m a little late to this one as it ran a year ago, but this ad that ran in Japan features a topless bikini model. And it raised all kinds of questions in how ads should be regulated…but not for the reason you might think. See for yourself.

As the author asks, should censors have any role in an ad like this? And as one of the readers asks, how exactly does this help the Toyota brand? I think, when looking at a commercial like this you have to look beyond and realize that you made an ad everyone was talking about, appealed to an edgier, more open-minded, diverse group.

Oh, and you should look at sales – the quarter after the ad aired the Auris sales were up 69% over the previous year’s quarter. Because of this ad? I don’t know. And as for censoring it – I don’t think ads like this are going away. Apparently androgynous models are being used more and more as the article points out, referencing a model by the name of Andrej Pejic and his ads for push-up bras. Google him – he’s more sought out than some women models.

3. Phil Gingrey should skip this next one. Last week I wrote about Rep. Phil Gingrey and his suggestion of gender classes being taught in school. Well, I hate to break this to him but according to this infographic in AdWeek (from JWT’s The State of Men report),  gender lines are more blurred than ever. Especially among millennials. Male millennials are more likely to embrace women’s cosmetics and skin care products such as eyeliner (12%), foundation (14%) and nail polish (18%). Beyond products, males say fashions are also acceptable, such as Spanx (11%), leggings (14%) and women’s jeans (12%).

This is very interesting from a marketing perspective as I think we’re going to see more gender neutral ads than ever. Think about 10 years ago even where  the majority of ads could be classified as a ‘men’s ad’ or a ‘women’s ad’. Now? Not so much. How do you market women’s jeans to men? Eyeliner? If they’re starting to represent a larger percentage of your audience agencies have to start considering this in their strategy. And how does this correlate to sales? Do men make up 18% of nail polish sales? I’m pretty sure they don’t, so from a business perspective is that an untapped growth potential? Marketing and advertising in the year 2013 and beyond will continue to prove interesting and unpredictable, if nothing else. Great challenges ahead – have I mentioned how much I love this business?

4. Social responsibility has many meanings. A few weeks back we talked about PRISM and what that actually means for us as users of social networks. This blog by Amanda Kleinhenz, at The Brew, is very well done in answering that very question. We are entering a new era of social responsibility and we have no further to look than ourselves to see who is/should be responsible.

And as marketers, we have the added responsibility of providing council to our clients that help the corporation and its employees. Just as we learned not to make prank calls to 9-1-1 or yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded room, we will learn that there are some standards that need to be upheld in our use of social media. We’re just not there yet.