CarMax Agrees to Pull Problematic Advertisement Following GLAAD Outreach

April 30, 2009
GLAAD constituents alerted us this week to a problematic advertisement by CarMax, a Richmond, Virginia based used car company with 100 stores across the country. After reviewing the ad we immediately reached out to the company. The ad, titled, "Smart: Pick-up Artist" depicts a man in a coffee shop trying to get the attention of a person he believes to be a female customer with long hair. He stands behind the person and says:
"Do you believe in love at first sight or should I walk by again?"
But when the person with long hair turns around and appears to be male, the man making the advance reacts with shock.   The picture freezes on the both men's reaction and the words "not smart," appear on the screen. The announcer says:
That is not smart. What is smart is shopping at CarMax. With thousands of cars priced at 12-thousand or less the right one for you is ready today.
Then a CarMax employee says to the customer who had made the earlier advance and is now looking at a car on a lot full of cars:
"So is she the one?"
He responds:
"I love her."
Announcer then concludes with:
"Now more than ever the smart choice is CarMax, the way car buying should be."

GLAAD called public relations representatives at CarMax and asked that the ad be removed from their website and pulled from the local markets where it is airing. We explained that it gave the impression that a man hitting on a man or being gay is not ok or "not smart," as the ad said. It also played on troubling gender stereotypes about being "fooled" and then "shocked" after realizing someone is not the "right" sex. CarMax representatives listened to our concerns and agreed to pull the ad from the website and remove it from further airings in local markets. They also discussed potentially collaborating with GLAAD on future ad campaigns to ensure they are in line with fair, accurate and inclusive standards. This is the link to the removed ad but you can view other ads that were part of the same campaign. You can view the CarMax diversity policy here. It states:
Our commitment to diversity
We are committed to welcoming, respecting, and celebrating the unique attributes of our Associates, customers, and communities.
We recognize the value that diversity contributes to our organization and the competitive advantage we can maintain by having a broad range of talents, perspectives, and ideas with a commitment to continuously improving our business.
GLAAD appreciates that CarMax listened to our concerns and realized that the "pick-up artist" ad was not in line with its own diversity policy. We applaud the company for pulling the offensive content and look forward to keeping an an open dialogue. CarMax sent us a note this morning confirming the ad would be pulled and indicating their willingness to communicate with us in the future:
CarMax appreciates the open dialogue with GLAAD. We want to continue this dialogue and build upon that relationship.