Guest Blogger: Marcela Melara

Busy Moms need Energy

What’s your 2:30 feeling like? If you’ve seen any 5-Hour Energy commercial, you know they all start the same… In this case, they are asking a busy mom. Her 2:30 feeling lasts all day sometimes because she is so tired. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, if you’re a working mom, which is certainly not uncommon, you need to something that will help you stay awake throughout the day (we, as college students, know this feeling just too well). Anyway, I don’t want to give away too much…

If you’re not really paying attention, this commercial seems like any other 5-Hour Energy commercial. But if you are, there are so many implications made in this commercial…

The very first thing we see, is the busy mom walking in with two full grocery bags. And the two boys in the background? Out of control. From the first couple seconds of this commercial we know she is a working mom that must deal with running the household and her job. Notice how she mentions she has two jobs: some kind of job (most likely an office job by how she’s dressed) and motherhood. It is implied that her second job is being a mom. What is this commercial saying about working mothers in the States?

This working mom is aware that she has to deal with so much stress on a daily basis, so she decides to take 5-Hour Energy shots that keep her alert and energized all day. Her husband had suggested this energy drink to her (coffee must have not been enough anymore…). Although she refused to follow his suggestion for some time, she has to admit that “for once he was right”.

Gee, I wonder why she declined her husband’s suggestion for such a long time. It’s not like he’s just sitting on the couch…
“I told you so…” Is that really all you have to say?! How about: “Oh honey, let me cook for you tonight” or “I went to get the groceries for you today”? What is this saying about women in marriage? What is this commercial saying about husbands?

Let’s just solve all our problems with energy drinks, how about that…

22 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: Marcela Melara

  1. Courtney Waugh says:

    This is an all too common situation where the husband is relaxing from his long day at work and the working mom returns home after working and running errands with still much more to do. His day is over, he has put in his time. Shouldn’t hers be about over also? No, her work is far from over so she has to rely on extra energy. She has to rely on this extra energy because it is too much for one person to handle. After everything she has done today, her second job is only beginning. She is overworked and by the looks of it, her husband’s only suggestion is that ‘her’ work must get done somehow (try an energy drink, dear). He is not going to be the one to take the slack, she needs to find a way to deal with the ‘her’ work.. Good thing she has him sitting on the couch to tell her that she should just take an energy drink. What would she do without him?

  2. levenstein says:

    I am so glad someone wrote a post about this commercial. I have been seeing this a lot lately on the TV’s at the gym. The first thing that pops into my head is, “How unhealthy!” I personally am not a fan of caffeine and unnatural food products such as energy drinks and power bars. Why do we have to scientifically produce energy? I’m sure it’s not good for anyone.

    Marcela makes some great points about the gender implications in this commercial. The thing that bothers me about the husband the most is that instead of simply offering to help with wife with all her household responsibilities, he suggests she purchase and consume a form of unnatural energy that certainly won’t provide her with positive long term results. Get off your butt, man! Can’t you see your wife is about to drop the groceries she is struggling to bring into the house? It irritates me that in this modern society the media still perpetuates long-time gender stereotypes. I thought women were storing their spatulas and aprons in archives and moving in the man’s world. Although I guess this commercial does show this to be true to some extent. By taking her husband’s advice she chooses to try a drink that her husband enjoys. Yet on the other hand, the only reason he suggests it is because he doesn’t want to pick up her slack, thus it would just be a whole lot better if she could step up her game and do the damn housework.

    I may be looking into this too much, but the bottle for this drink screams man. The dark colors and the naked running person on the mountain embody masculine power and energy. Is the point of this commercial to show that women should still be working to assimilate to the man’s world? If the ad is meant to get women to start drinking this, producers better think harder about a way to attract consumers. Even if I liked energy drinks (blech, it’s never happening) I am too frustrated with this commercial and the idea behind the product to even consider buying it.

  3. Morgan Gibeault says:

    Ever since I have been in the women’s studies class I have payed closer attention to things like this. I saw this commercial the other night and it shocked me. The stereotype of mothers is still clearly in our society. If the media keeps putting up commercials like this then the new generations will never completely get rid of the notion that all women do is cook, clean, and take care of the children. Companies will do anything in order to sell a product, and degrading women is clearly something that they are not scared to do in order to make money. Instead of the husband telling her to take a break because she is tired, he tells her to take a 5 hour energy shot so she can continue to do everything around the house, as well as support the family with a job. Why cant he pitch in and take the weight off her shoulders instead? In my household everything is even. My mom works a job that takes her right until the end of the day, and my dad owns his own company so he is always on his own schedule. My dad cooks and cleans, and my mother does the same if she does not get home too late. Children also need to realize they need to help out around the house as well. And this commercial does not exactly send that message. I feel as though this is the case in many American families, but still these commercials still pop up here and there. If it never gets stopped, then new generations will never realize that this is not how it has to be. They need to know men and women are equal. Period.

  4. Sarah Drapela says:

    I have seen this commercial several times before but I had never stopped to think about all that it was implying before. I agree that is without a doubt a lot of work to be a working mother but this commercial really seems to take advantage of that point. It goes beyond trying to promote the product and ends up reinforcing the gender roles that we have tried so hard to overcome. It is as if this commercial is suggesting that it is ok for the women to do all the work and that they don’t need any help; they just need this energy drink and then they can work both in and out of the home. It is also interesting how this commercial says that the husband is in need of the energy drink as well. It seems to imply that the husband, despite the fact he is doing nothing at home, works harder out of the home than his wife does. He needs his 5 hour energy to get through his job but his wife only needs it because she does 2 jobs. It implies that what she does out of the house it not as demanding or important as what he does. As a result this commercial just goes to reinforce gender roles and the idea that is it a woman’s job to take care of the house and family no matter what she or anyone else may be doing out of the house.

  5. Liz Liebman says:

    This commercial also makes me question this couple on a health level. I don’t care what is in this energy drink, but nobody should be taking energy drinks on a regular basis. They should not be purchased in bulk to be consumed every day. What is that teaching the children? That they should work hard, but neglect their own personal health? If this woman is really feeling tired and stressed than she should talk to her husband about it, and they could work out a way to share the workload. She shouldn’t be driven to energy drinks to live her life. Is that the message this commercial is trying to send? That you should be taking 5-hour energy every day? If you are feeling tired, especially on a daily basis, then you should probably be getting more sleep and not turning straight to energy drinks. If you have so much work that you can’t get more sleep, then maybe you should ask for help from someone (like this woman’s husband).

    What has this man we see lounging on the couch needed to take 5-hour energy for that he can recommend it so highly to his wife? He is clearly relaxing and well? If this man can suggest that she try 5-hour energy, than maybe the woman can suggest that he help around the house a little.

  6. Colleen Lukas says:

    I think Sarah made an excellent point when she said that the commercial is implying that the wife’s job is not as demanding as the husband’s job. Thinking about this a little more I decided to open a whole new can of worms and say that this commercial reinforces gender roles in the work place as well. By implying that the husband’s job is more demanding than the wife’s job, the commercial is implying that males have more important jobs than females. Then by implying that males have more important jobs than females the commercial hits the issue of gender inequality in the work place and the fact that males hold the majority of high-status positions in the work place. I may be reading into this commercial to far but I believe reinforces the idea of gender inequality in the work place.

  7. MEM12 says:

    This ad just makes me mad on so many levels. In a marriage first off, it it a shared duty and so are the household chores. Second off, having children is also a shared responsibility by both parents. This ad just reinforces the stereotype that we are trying to ween away from of the stay at home mom taking care of the house, groceries and the children. This ad is portraying it is too much for a women to be a working mother, its so difficult she has to refer to energy drinks! It wouldn’t be so difficult if the husband pulled his weight around a little bit more and took part in his half of the responsibilities. I couldn’t have thought of a better place to portray the husband in this scenario than relaxing, sitting on the couch…This is exactly what society is trying to avoid and provide opportunities for women to be successful, have a job but also be able to be a mother. The main point I took from this ad is that being a mother should not be considered a second job, but rather what it really is which is being a parent.

  8. Obi Juan Breton says:

    If I honestly did not take this course, this would’ve been a “routine” commercial that would’ve got the click for change simply for the fact that no one wants to see a commercial about an energy drink 30 seconds of my life unless I’m feeling extremely lazy. But wasting my 30 seconds to watch this one commercial to give feedback, I surprisingly didn’t like it…what? I honestly felt like I wasn’t myself. I didn’t like that. This commercial made me feel uneasy, especially when it was built up to be poking fun at the cliches of women in everyday life. I don’t consider myself a feminist by any means but I guess the big guy can still feel for their struggle. We’ll see how long this feeling will last….Hopefully longer than 5-Hour energy.

  9. Erin Meehan says:

    I have to admit I have noticed this commercial in a much different light since taking this class. As I have most commercials. In many ways I feel advertising has become the most gender role endorsing quality in society today. Every commercial I have seen recently shows a woman in the kitchen promoting some food or household item. While men are most likely seen as drinking beer and staring at a “hott” bartender. One of the greatest examples of this is a beer ad on TV which shows a man ordering a light beer. When the bar tender asks him which one he says I do not care as like as it lite. Her reply is either okay when you loose your purse come back and get a Miller lite. I am not going to lie the ad is funny. But at the same time hard to watch. Qualities of life down to what type of beer we drink have been genderized.
    Going back to this particular commercial though is interesting. Because if this woman is coming home at 2:30 in the afternoon as it seems then she must a hold a “part-time” job which means her husband, who does not seem to be in the house is the sole breadwinner. Oh and he is also not the parent picking up the children from school. Why isn’t that interesting as well. However, in this brief 2-3 min long segment they have managed to not only promote and energy drink… which does not sound very safe or healthy but also re-enforce what a traditional household should be. Mom getting the kids coming home hopped up on caffeine and Dad is no where in sight. How lovely!

  10. I think both Katie and Liz brought up good points about the unhealthiness of energy drinks. I’m not going to lie—I love coffee. I can’t function without caffeine. I have my two cups in the morning while catching up on the news, and then I can begin to start my day. However, I have never had, or will have, an energy drink. There’s Red Bull, Tab, and now this 5-Hour Energy junk. Sure, they may contain the caffeine our bodies crave, but it’s not healthy to be ingesting this artificial substance routinely.

    There was a previous blog post about how our society’s food is gender-coded. Both “Hungry Man” and “Lean Cuisine” frozen meals cater to a specific demographic. The 5-Hour Energy container looks very masculine, as Katie mentioned, and I think it’s only a matter of time before a feminine version is released. I’m anticipating lots of pink and purple, and maybe a few hearts and starts for good measure. And you can bet the “only four calories” will be a central component to the marketing strategy.

    OK, time to talk about Tannen. This commercial addresses two of the main concepts she discusses in “Gender and Family Interaction.” The first is the problemitizer/problemitizee dynamic. Although the husband doesn’t directly judge or assess his wife’s actions, his authority in their relationship is clear: She was so exhausted and didn’t know where to turn; he suggested she try 5-Hour Energy. This directly relates to the second concept of “father knows best.” Never mind what she or her girlfriends think. Because her husband advocated 5-Hour Energy it must be the answer.

  11. Nick B says:

    I like this piece because you do mention a lot about the problems with the images of being a mom and dad in this country. As most other things we see, these responsibilities come with gender implications. The mother and father traditional jobs are demonstrated in this short commercial. The mother comes back from a long day of work with the groceries and needs to handle the kids and the cooking, so she needs a boost. The dad gets to come home and sit on the couch, relaxing. While this is actually true in my house, I have seen and know that it is not for many people. I think that more and more the responsibilities of the household are being split between the parents equally. So, the commercial is playing on what is believed to be true for most houses, or just using stereotypes to sell the product. I just think it is ridiculous and cliché to picture the two parents as the commercial did and it is just another thing that reinforces the roles everyone has grown accustom to in our country. It is only more difficult to get rid of these roles when they are still constantly shown as the standard, no matter how small it appears.

  12. Merrill Amos says:

    So I feel like I can’t watch ANYTHING on tv anymore because either the show itself or the commercials end up pissing me off in some way. (Two and a Half Men…..just….why???) I think that women are SO domesticated and stereotyped in their advertisement portrayals. Cooking/cleaning/Glade commercials: she’s a hostess. Everything else: she’s one stressed out mom with a million messy boys around. The common denominator in all of these: the responsibility is always placed on the woman/mom and the products are marketed to help ease the stress that inherently comes along with “being her” as if these companies are her best pal for “understanding” her. Not only do these reinforce gender stereotypes for women…but also for men…by portraying the husband typically as lounging on the couch incapable of anything resembling domesticity. I can laugh at satirical commentaries on stereotypes just as much as the next gal…but in excess I really think these examples can be quite detrimental.

  13. PJ Julian says:

    Okay I understand the implications of this video, but not every household is like this. I think it more appeals to how mothers feel than what is actually happening.

    My mother works 10-12 hour days getting paid for only 8 of them cause she is salary. My dad works for the state, he gets his 8 hrs in and leaves. He picks up my autistic sister from school then drives my other sister to dance. He then goes to the store for dinner, usually puts on a pot of sauce the night before, and drops pasta when my ma gets home at 6 at night. When he is done with the everyday errands, he cleans the house and does all the yard work too. My ma is exhausted and comes home to a cooked meal and the chores done. So for anyone to say that this is how our society is you would be insulting good people like my mother and father who share the work load and work their asses off to provide for their family.

    That may have been the implications of the video, but I think we need to look at more why they say things are this way when in reality, most households now share the load. Why do they not give men credit for the work they do? Men like my father. And women like my mother.

  14. Claire says:

    I am glad that someone wrote about this because I myself have seen this commercial multiple times and have noticed the gender connotation it has. There is also a commercial that has stuck out to me for a cell phone that can do all the “mom tasks”. The mom tasks include, picking the kids up, grocery shopping, and making play dates, which are all activities done within the home. Or how about the cell phone commercial called “Shine” where a cell phone provides a mirror when inactive. In the commercial for this phone, guys use the mirror to look up girls skirts. How is this seen as acceptable in our media, it’s completely degrading. Both the cell phone commercials and the 5 hour energy commercial relay cultural presumptions that devalue women.

    These commercials cling to ideologies that women have tried to eradicate. There is still this higher belief among our patriarchal society that women are supposed to be in the domestic sphere and men are supposed to be in the work sphere. The media plays such a critical role in our lives, and we continue to allow it to speak against gender equality. The media conveys gender expectations that people subconsciously and consciously process as being norms they must follow. How are do we change norms that are imbedded in things we are exposed to on a daily basis thousands of times?

  15. Ashlinn Barber says:

    This a classic image. The mother is carrying the groceries while the father is relaxing after his long day at the office. The mother is juggling her career, children, and cooking, while the husband must maintain his job. The issue with this commercial rests on the fact that the mother has to rely on “5 Hour Energy” to run her family. This creates the idea that females are incapable of raising children and working without help. Moreover, this commercial shows that this female’s children are out of control, giving the idea to the viewer that the mother does not know how to raise proper children. Through the media, the image of females has been downplayed. By showing a mother in her kitchen with groceries and badly behaving children, the media is implying that females can’t live without assistance. Ironically, the male in this commercial is just relaxing, implying that it is not his job to discipline the children. Conforming to expected gender behaviors, this commercial proves that the media has failed to accept that females are capable of working and mothering children at the same time.

  16. Tom Michaud says:

    well apparently the folks over at 5hour energy believe that a husbands job is the primary breadwinner and nothing else. This woman works a regular job, then has to take care of the whole household while her husband just sits there. The kids are freaking out, and does he step in? No, its implied that mom will be the one to control the kids after she gets done putting the groceries away. And the only way she can stay alert enough to handle all of her responsibilities is to take an energy shot. I understand that they are trying to make it seem like her life is so hectic and thus requires a boost, but im pretty sure that people have been doing just fine for thousands of years without the need of an energy drink to raise kids and live life day to day. This commercial also says that men, though they are the ones that make the real the money, are not smart and do dumb things that would lead to a wife not trusting her husband. And of course, that he was right all along. So if you believe 5-hour energy ladies, value your husbands ideas and take an outside supplement to just have a normal day. Oh yeah, thats healthy, and im not talking about physically. Mentally, this commercial is just perpetuating the stereotype that women dont know whats best and that their lives should revolve around taking care of the house.

  17. Sheba Morgan says:

    I definitely caught the husband sitting on the couch reading the newspaper! I cannot believe this commercial is serious. I am actually kind of angry watching this commercial because that woman should not be so tired if he is sitting on the couch reading a paper. He needs to get up and help her. There is no reason that he is home before his wife and she still feel so stressed. It is call equal contribution.

    This commercial cannot expect the wife to have a job and fulfill the stereotypical role of being a house wife. I have never seen this commercial before but it is supporting inequality, it is sexist and disrespectful. The man needs to get up and help his wife with chores, from what it seem like in the commercial he doe not have energy who is he to advertise recommend anything for energy. He does nothing. This commercial is influencing men. This commercial is telling men they should do not tend to families issues, men are suppose to sit down on the couch and read the newspaper while their wife take care of the house. The commercial is telling girls what they are supposed to do, run around all day taking care of the house and having a job.
    This commercial needs to rethink their sales pitch. The man in this commercial does need energy, to get off the couch and contribute to his family. His wife should be telling him about five hour energy after she tells him off for not doing anything around the house.

  18. Tristan Bartsch says:

    I find the most bizarre line in this commercial to be “for once he was right.” This snappy line, said as she hands the pack of Five Hour Energy to her husband, quickly snatching it away, is a male-female form of “poking fun” we all know too well. Although this may appear to be the most empowering and woman-friendly line in the commercial, I took it to be quite the opposite. Women are always criticized for their dissatisfaction and tendency to “nag” their husbands when they want something to change. This line, to me, said “there goes that woman again, nagging at her husband to try to gain control.” This commercial presents the woman as running around, working her ass off, and coming home ready to start her second job of motherhood. Her husband, however, is already home, sitting on the couch reading a magazine, waiting for her to waltz in and perform her duties. Although the commercial attempts to place the mother in a position of power, exemplifying her as an amazing person who can handle two jobs as opposed to one, it is obvious she is a slave to her home, but just laughs it off with a cute exchange with her husband.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I could not agree more with Marcela. The way that five hour energy goes about advertising is ridiculous. They portray the “everyday” mom who is run down by work and has to come home to two rambunctious kids. The clip says that she has two jobs. the first is being a professional, the second is being a mother. since when did being a mother become a job. Know I am not by any means trying to down play the importance of a mother or say that mother hood is easy. But raising a child should not be looked at as a job. If someone is going to have a child and raise it you should not view it as a job. raising a child is an experience that should be pleasurable and something that you are very sure of. It should be cherished and not taken advantage of; and definitely not looked at as a job.

  20. Yuliana Baez says:

    I laugh at these commercials all the time. They keep advertising all these energy drinks but in my opinion why not make an ad council commercial advertising healthy ways of getting energy. It could be something as simple as taking out time to eat a healthy meal and getting some sleep. We all just need to relax sometimes and get some rest. I know myself no matter how much work I have to get done I really cannot function if I do not have the sufficient amount of sleep. Pretty much I am wasting my time just staring at a computer screen. I tried this once here at college went a few days running on 2-3 hours of sleep. That did not go well. I just ended up crashing.

    Now to address this commercial and all the subliminal messages that it is said to have. I agree with PJ not all households are like this. I don’t think everyone should take an offense to this commercial because a lot of women choose and like to live like this. Coming from a Spanish household my mother enjoys taking care of all the household chores and still works. Obviously after a long day you are going to be tired and there are days where its 2:30 and you just want to go to bed. I don’t think this commercial meant any harm nor have sub messages.

  21. Eliss Manon says:

    As I saw the commercial I automatically saw what was wrong! Why the hell is it that the mom is doing all the work while the dad is just sitting on the couch just reading? I mean could he not get up and help around the house because clearly he seems to do nothing meaning he is not busy while the mom has a ton of stuff to do….. well no wonder he suggested the 5hr energy drink.
    Commercial or ads like this remind me of how much of a long way women have came into building their independents such as being able to work and not be house wives or how the man use to control everything as in what is said or did. But this commercial just proves that just because times have changed does not mean all men will, such as in this case. Did he really have to offer her to take the 5h energy when she seems to be soo busy because he won’t help around the house?
    The answer is no, he didn’t have to offer it but as we see in this commercial he is stereotypical man figure who expects the women to get everything done because that is her job as a wife and mother of their household. Now if he would have offered his help or just did the extra stuff that needed to be done around the house (because it is both their house and their children) then there would not be any need for the 5hr energy drink know would there?

  22. I totally agree with the point Marcela is making- 5 Hour Energy is disgusting, and so is this commercial. First, I don’t even think it’s FDA approved, so who knows what’s in there- second, if you’ve ever smelled it, you know it smells and tastes like shit. This commercial totally pissed me off- everyone has made a point that this is just reinforcing stereotypes about the jobs of a man being more demanding than that of a woman. No way! Get your lazy butt off the sofa and help your wife out! I don’t know who said it above- but I don’t understand why we have to “create” energy. Okay, so not all working mothers have time to sit down and take a nap, BUT! Maybe if their husbands helped share the workload, they wouldn’t be so tired, and need to drink this shit in a bottle that is probably in some way bad for their health. This commercial has a horrible message- Men need to realize they aren’t above household chores and that being married is a team effort and that raising kids is too! People shouldn’t rely on “fake” energy to get stuff done around the house; it sets a totally bad example for their children (5 Hour Energy isn’t recommended for children under 12) and is probably detrimental to their health- it will end up causing bigger problems down the road, even a few hours from after you take it. Sure, having 5 hours of energy (sometimes so much energy you need to go the hospital because of irregular heartbeats, etc.) is good, but is the crash after the five hours even really worth it? Or could you try and make it through the day with help from your spouse and make sure to get to bed early so you have enough energy the next day…?

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