#FloBron? Is Lebron James’ New Progressive Commercial Emasculating?

November 7, 2014  |  

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.jsWhat did you think of NBA great LeBron James’ Halloween get-up where he dressed up in a wig as Progressive’s spokeswoman Flo last week? Well, it was more than just a costume, it was part of a digital marketing campaign called “The Switch” for the insurance agency. This week the company will debut the brand’s first video Instagram spot, reports Ad Week

“We’ve paired the King of Sports, LeBron James, with the Queen of Marketing, Flo, for a unique, digital-first execution we’re calling “The Switch,'” Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Charney said in a statement. “In the coming months, look for more digital bread crumbs that show a different side of each of these icons. The Switch is just getting started … there’s much more to come on Instagram and other channels. Stay tuned.” While the ad might have been all in fun, some are saying it’s part of an advertising trend to emasculate Black men. Just check out the Instagram comments on Progressive’s page shows. As one Instagram user wrote:

Pls stop posting ads like these and designing these types of ads promoting black men being feminine. Honestly, men altogether. I mean wtf you’ll have plenty of budget to think of something more creative than having this great grown black male athlete dressed wearing that bum ass wig looking all gay or like a woman & @brittney.montana wake up shorty, plenty other costumes than this homo antic right here. #DeathToThisF–kery #BeMoreCreative #StopSchemingOnTheMinds #Ridiculous

As  Yesha Callahan of The Root points out  it’s not the first time a Black NBA player has been dressed up as a woman for an ad campaign. “Larry Johnson was ‘Grandmama’ for quite some time back in the day when he was the face of Converse. The only difference back then was that we didn’t have social media that could expose any possible complaints people had about the ads. Maybe Progressive is a bit lazy in reviving the whole Black-man-in-a-wig routine, but you can’t forget that James is a willing and paid participant,” the site writes.

And that begs the question, are advertisers setting out to emasculate Black men or are they doing it to themselves? Check out the IG commercial below. What do you think?

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