I posted the ManCrunch ad the other day was rejected by CBS for the Super Bowl. Interestingly enough, a few of you found it offensive, while I just thought it was tired (although something like that during the Super Bowl would be new - they didn't end their kiss by trying to kill each other). But I'm not really the type who gets offended easily, although the backstory shines a more negative light on the whole operation.
As I do with any post, I searched out what other people were saying about the same topic and a few are hesitant to say that the ad wasn't either a stunt by ManCrunch's parent company, which owns a few other dating sites, or a complete hoax. CBS, in their rejection letter, said it didn't meet their standards, and they also mentioned the fact that they had "difficulty" verifying ManCrunch's credit.
Honestly, this whole thing does sound like the exact result they were hoping for. I don't really even get how the ad was supposed to be selling a dating/cruising site, and there isn't anything special enough about the site to set it apart from other gay dating/cruising sites. The frontpage looks amateurish and their profiles are limited in scope (I signed up for an account to see what the fuss was about, but they don't even ask about penis size. How can you run a gay cruising site without inviting people to lie about their penises?).
If so, it shows the kind of attention someone can get on the internet with a camera and a clever idea.
Since the other dating sites represented by the same ad agency are ones that focus on rich men dating younger women and AshleyMadison.com, a site directed towards married people who want to cheat, it seems that the saucy gimmick around with ManCrunch was built (hastily, as the idea seems to have come just from the FOTF Super Bowl controversy and they'll probably upgrade the site as they figure out how to run a gay cruising site) is "closet cases." They claim to be for men on the "down low," without really understanding the racial implications of that phrase or the cultural implications of using it next to a series of pictures of white gay men, and don't mention the word "gay" anywhere.
Consider the opening paragraph of their TOS:
Man Crunch Inc. ("we," "us" or "Man Crunch") owns and operates the Man Crunch.com web site (our "Site"), on which we provide an interactive way for like minded users to explore whether they wish to meet each other, chat with each other and/or explore extra-marital relationships (our Site and such services, collectively, our "Service").
Avid Dating Life Inc. ("we," "us" or "Ashley Madison") owns and operates the AshleyMadison.com web site (our "Site"), on which we provide an interactive way for like minded users to explore whether they wish to meet each other, chat with each other and/or explore extra-marital relationships (our Site and such services, collectively, our "Service"). Your use of our Service is subject to the following Terms and Conditions of Use (these "Terms"). The terms "you", "your" and "yourself" each means the person who accesses the Service whether or not such person is a paid subscriber.
The TOSes are pretty much the same after that. Like I said, hastily constructed.
Too bad that the idea won't work. Most of the guys I found on there are within the same range of out-ness as other gay cruising sites. The problem with creating a site for the very "naughty" purpose of giving closeted men an outlet with other men is that there's really no distinction between that and other gay cruising sites. While eHarmony and other straight sites frown upon married men and women seeking a relationship there and have other members who might go so far as to report a philanderer to his or her spouse, gay websites are a lot more tolerant of people's discretion. The most a married man will get on a gay site is people rolling their eyes, which is not much of a deterrent to mixing the discreet and the out 'n proud sets.
A few others have pointed out that it makes no sense for a website to spend millions on airing an ad and next to nothing on producing it, and then there's the fact that no one heard of this site before and nothing can really be confirmed about them. I wouldn't say it's a hoax as much as a spur-of-the-moment stunt that garnered an incredible amount of publicity, and it'll probably stick around until people realize there's no reason for its existence.
Not that there's anything wrong with any of that. It's all a lesson in how the internet works, if we want to take it that way. Consider:
According to web traffic stats posted on Alexa.com, the number of global Internet users who visit the site has spiked from 0.0006 per cent earlier this month to 0.013 per cent on Sunday.
That's impressive. Getting all that off the ground is a marketable skill.
Update: Look what was in the LA Times this morning:
"It's one thing for CBS to say they are not going to have any issue advertising on the Super Bowl," Mancrunch.com spokeswoman Elissa Buchter said. "But when they accept issue advertising on one side of the social agenda [the Tebow ad] while rejecting others, it looks like a double standard."
Yeah, being gay is a "social agenda."
"I don't think we've really established who gay-secretive men are or what they watch," she continued. "As a demographic, they are not well understood. That makes this a unique marketing challenge."
"Gay secretive"? It's usually obvious to anyone that they're keeping a secret, but I've never heard those folks referred to in that way. Usually it's "MSM who don't identify as gay" or "Men with little contact with the LGBT community" or "closeted gay men"....
That's suspiciously tone-deaf for a gay cruising site....