Advertising has become a large player in industrial growth and marketing. It is the medium that helps organizations sell, whether products, policies or just publicity. It is typically a form of persuasion and means of assurance for consumers to buy products being sold to the. But adverts have always been a matter of speculation (Turow, 1997). Taking up trends in advertisements especially when focused on a particular group of the society provides the shifting representations and the picture they paint to the world. Advertisements change with the changing society, but this trend is obsolete (Tsai and Shumow, 2011). With the dawn of a more consumerist market, advertisements sometimes impress upon the society (Turow, 1997). Representation of different sections of the society, especially the two sexes in advertisements is a matter of scrutiny if representations of society by advertisements are to be considered. What follows is a discussion of advertisements as misrepresentations of the American society today (Thesis).
Every individual who views TV shows has definitely witnessed advertisement of brands like Axe deodorants and body fragrances and Dove. The discussion of this article hovers on the representation of women and men in commercials of these brands, as the depiction of the sexes is a fair measure of the society and its representation in advertisements.
Several advertisements of Axe, beginning from the year 2002, from the famous Axe Pied Piper advert to the Axe Chocolate advert depict men as becoming objects of desire for women because of men’s preference to use the particular products (Felix, 2012). Such adverts have been a pointer to an already developing “hook-up” and “break-up” culture in the United States while addressing the age old male fantasy of being the object of appreciation of females (Felix, 2012). Not only this, the increasing sexual content in these advertisements is a false representation of the American society. These advertisements also paint a demeaning picture of women as hormonal and men craving, as objects without human like feelings and reacting basically on animal instincts. Also another factor that needs mention is the use of pencil figure models as the only females in the “Axe world”. This again is a serious demotion of feminine values.
In another example, the Dove Real Women campaign also draws speculation. It depicts women in their natural form with naturally occurring flaws. The campaign pointed out the accentuation of feminine features in women to make them look more attractive. However, it was reported that Dove still used Photoshop to erase imperfections from their intentionally imperfect forms (Felix, 2012). The campaign fails to comply with its own claims of using perfectly natural looking women, which again misleads viewers to believe that bodily imperfections are the points of rejection for the society. This fact is not true at all. These and so many other examples point out the serious misrepresentation of men, women and the American society in advertisements.
The real American society, no matter how it may stand today, represents a hard working population that has developed a work culture incorporating class and a definite sense of style with responsibility, and rarely is this fact depicted in the advertisements shown of television or newspapers or heard on radio podcasts today (Turow, 1997). The average American is a working class individual who works hard seldom has time to stop and think of the correlation of real life with these advertisements, let alone question its logical validity. Advertisements, therefore, may depict a fraction of the mindset of some Americans and not all, and therefore is not a general representation of the people of the American society (Tsai and Shumow, 2011).
Felix, S. (2012). 18 Ads That Changed How We Think About Women. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/18-ads-that-changed-the-way-we-think-about-women-2012-10?op=1&IR=T
Tsai, W.S. and Shumow, M. (2011). Representing Fatherhood and Male Domesticity in American Advertising. Interdisciplinary Journal of Research in Business Vol. 1, Issue. 8
Turow, J. (1997). Breaking Up America: Advertisers and the New Media World. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 10: 0226817490, ISBN-13: 978-0226817491. Edition: 1