The Fragrance of Advertising – Marketing Essay
Advertising is often considered in adding in the development of stereotypes in our society. Ads cover everything from the classic “women in the kitchen routine,” to the man being portrayed as the tough rugged
individual. As our society becomes more accepting the ads have become increasingly sexual, from women lying nearly nude in provocative positions to men posing shirtless with their legs open. These styles are all prevalent in the nations leading magazines, including Cosmo and Maxim. As I searched through these various magazines I saw this style repeated many times in one particular product advertisements. I noticed that more often than not, ads for perfume were highly sexualized. I choose two in particular, which follow the highly sexualized ad stereotype, as well as one that would appear to negate the repeated theme witnessed by our culture, that will be the thesis of my essay.
The first ad is for Davidoff “Cool Water” perfume. This particular ad represents Susan Bordo’s idea of a stabilizing image. In this sense, the particular ad helps to contribute to our society’s view of a woman. A young beautiful woman, shown nude, lying on her stomach is certainly the way women are preferred to be seen. In order to sell their product the advertisers use this beautiful woman to have their product seem more appealing, much like any clothing ad where a skinny model is used to show off the latest pair of jeans. The advertisers hope that when other women see a beautiful model they will believe that the perfume is responsible for her beauty. The shape of the bottle poses another issue. The curves of the bottle are much like the curves of a beautiful woman. The bottle could represent the missing lower half of the model shown here. The skinny top signifying her tight stomach slowly curving into her full hips. Regardless of why the bottle is there, it still represents the beauty of a woman. The ad is a contributor to the stereotypical view of women in our society.
The next ad is for Dior “Jadore”. Once again this is a stabilizing image of our society. Another young, beautiful, slightly more clad, woman is enticing you to purchase this product. This skinny model looks as if to say “You can be beautiful like me, all you need is a bottle of Jadore.” Advertisers know that all women have issues with their body and clearly exploit this fact. There are very few women in this world who would not want to look like these models. Advertisers try to connect owning their product with being as flawless as the women used to promote it. They manipulate a woman’s perception of beautiful in order to market their product more effectively.
As in the previous ad, the bottle shown here is again curvaceous, another symbol of the beauty attainable by using this product. Also predominant in both ads is the use of water. In the first ad crisp blue water, matching the models eyes, with waves crashing in the distance fills the picture. The Dior ad has a more tranquil look to it. The model is immersed to her chest in a brilliant gold liquid, this time matching with her hair as opposed to her eyes. The gold color adds to the beauty of the women as well as to the appeal of the perfume.
There are, however, ads out there that seem to be contrary to the normal stereotype. Referred to as “Destabilizing Images” by Susan Bordo, they often portray a man or woman in an environment contrary to our cultural beliefs. For example, it may show a man cooking dinner, or a woman in her corporate outfit working in the office. These images are not usually the first to come to mind when you think of the traditional roles of both men and women.
In the Adidas ad for their fragrance “Moves” destabilizing images are present. First you notice that the women are not only clothed, they are also dressed in rather “sporty outfits.” The girl on the right has on capris and a sports bra, implying that she is actively involved is some form of athletics. The girl on the left, even though she is seen in a bikini top, is a shown wearing soccer shorts, also resulting in the athletic type of appearance. Their environment is also different. They are shown jumping on trampolines as opposed to the classic “deserted beach” look. These variations result in an ad removed from the previous stabilizing images that break away from the stereotypes of society or does it?
If you take a closer look you can still see the young beautiful girls shown in the previous ads. They too have flawless bodies. Even though the girls are represented as “athletic” they most certainly don’t have the athletic style of body. The girls are very lean much like the models of any other stabilizing image. Even though the girls are shown with more clothes than the previous ads, the bare stomachs and exposed legs add to the sexuality of the ad. Also, written across the ad is the line, “For all the ways you play,” a sexual innuendo? I believe so. So at first glance this ad may seem to be a contradiction of modern societal views but it is still nothing more than a “complicated and bewitching tangle of new possibilities and old patterns of representation,”(Bordo 167)
Advertisers follow trends in society. At the current time thin women are praised in our society. Advertisers know this and use these stereotypical women to promote their products. Many people, however, argue that people’s views are controlled by what they see. Therefore our nations infatuation with skinny women would supposedly have been started by advertisements. In the early part of the 1900’s, however, large women were the rage. Men were more interested in large busted, full figured women. As the nation grew, however, and became more health conscience there was a change to women of leaner statue. As our nation changed its perspective on women, the ads had to follow and give their public what it wanted. Now ads are filled with lean beautiful women because that is what people want to see. These are representations of what people wish they could look like. In all three of the ads I explained, beautiful women were used as an enhancement of their product. This is the trend found in all sorts of products. Skinny beautiful people are what our society wants to be and that is what the advertisers supply us with.