Analysis of Graphic Advertisements
The stereotypical features of each society find their realization in all the phenomena of that society. Some forms of such realization may be more direct and conscious than others, but in fact, all the elements of a single culture reflect the same particular list of ideas and cultural patterns. As a result, it makes possible to speak about culture as a multidimensional phenomenon. In the same way, graphic advertisements, being the modern cultural phenomena, may represent some common ideas and stereotypes of the current culture. Thus, through the in-depth analysis of the most representative graphic advertisements in their connection with the key texts that interpret the today’s culture, it is possible to identify those patterns, ideas and stereotypes.
This paper analyzes and discusses the advertisements of Tipalet cigarettes, American Apparel socks, and the eighth model of Mercedes-Benz. It is clear that the product provided by the mentioned companies and advertised by the images analyzed is very different. Besides, the analysis helps recognize the common cultural features that are present in each of those graphic advertisements. Through the analysis, it becomes clear that the modern American culture is a male-centered one, and in this way, females are not considered to be independent personalities as well as males, but just sexual objects and aesthetical attractants.
The Images Description
The advertisement of Tipalet cigarettes uses the image of a man who smokes and blows out the smoke to the face of a woman, while the she looks excited. The slogan of the advertisement underlines that blowing the smoke of Tipalet cigarettes in the woman’s face would make her interested in a man. The next advertisement shows a nude woman in socks, while three smaller images demonstrate her in the state of getting orgasm. Thus, these three smaller images are associated with the socks of American Apparel. At last, the advertisement of Mercedes-Benz uses the images of breasts of four women around the logo of the eighth model of the advertised car.
The Images’ Meaning
It is clear that all images mentioned explore the same detail: female body as a sexual object and a source of attraction. Thus, in the case of Tipalet cigarettes, the assumed increasing of popularity among women is proposed as a reason to buy the cigarettes. Furthermore, it is obvious that the neglectful position of the man toward the woman from the image is positioned as a bonus that follows the smoking of these cigarettes. The same idea is promoted by the socks of American Apparel: the female on the advertisement is shown as the source of sexuality, and the buying of the socks should be interpreted as a means of satisfy her in this aspect.
At last, the female breasts from the advertisement of Mercedes-Benz clearly show that the advertisers appeal to their customers’ desire of popularity among women (because the breasts should mean the women who surround the car). Besides the sexual subtext of each of the advertisements mentioned, it is symptomatic that the supposed customers to whom the advertisements are addressed are males (especially due to the use of the pronoun ‘she’ in the advertisements of the cigarettes and the socks).
The Interpretation through the Literature Assigned
The constant application of the sexual subtexts in the today’s advertising is perfectly demonstrated in the essay of Damien Cave. According to Cave, the goal of the modern advertisers is based on the use of nude bodies, appealing to sexual subtext and other similar tips that help advertisements to influence subliminal instinctive level of the potential customers’ psychics. As Solomon clearly shows, the advertisers use the peoples’ fears and desires and, in this way, manipulate the masses. For example, fears that appeared as the reflections of the American dream became an important mechanism of the advertisers’ influence. Cave also mentions the gender aspect of advertising but underlines that “women appear in the ads as well, but the boys rule”. Besides, it seems that the author is mostly focused on the boys in the sphere of advertising in his essay.
Thus, while Cave’s discusses the use of males in the advertisements, Kilbourne underlines that females are used for the purpose of advertising much more often. According to Kilbourne, the reason for that is the dominance of patriarchal values and worldview principles in the current society. Through the texts of both Kilbourne and Solomon, it is clear that the modern image of females created by the advertisements makes females look as only the sexual objects and, in this way, diminishes their dignity in comparison with males. The connection of Kilbourne’s feminism and Solomon’s semiotics allows making the conclusion that the women from the advertisements personify the most desired objects of the majority of Americans. It is highly important that, according to Solomon, “the success of modern advertising, its penetration into every corner of American life, reflects a culture that has itself chosen illusion over reality”. In this passage, in fact, Solomon claims that all features of advertisements are just the transformed and adapted reflections of the social reality in which advertisements appear.
The mentioned kind of females’ advertising images mostly appeals to the desire of status than to sexuality because “sex in advertising is more about disconnection and distance than connection and closeness”. Thus, sexuality in advertisements mostly appeals to some hidden motives. As Solomon considers, the desire of status is one of the most important one among the Americans, and thus, the mentioned kind of females is as “status symbol” as anything else in the sphere of advertising. It is reasonable because the goal of advertisements is to attract potential customers, and in this way, successful ads should correspond to the state of mind of an average citizen. The point here is that the chauvinistic images, that humiliate females and show them just as sexual instruments of males as well as the mindless sexual bodies, reflect the current social reality in the USA.
Furthermore, there is a vicious circle of the interrelations between the society that creates such advertisements and the advertisements that create this society: “advertising helps to create a climate in which certain attitudes and values flourish, such as the attitude that women are valuable only as objects of men’s desire”. Thus, the connection between the reflected reality of advertisements and the reality of everyday social life is very difficult. It is possible only to claim that, despite chauvinistic advertisements are the results of social life, they must be prohibited because they, in their turn, make society much more chauvinistic, and as a result, the level of gender inequality may constantly rise.
Through the analysis provided, it is clear that all the advertisements mentioned appeal to the sexual abuse of females and promote this as a normal way of behavior. Female body is positioned as an object of sexual desire (as in the case of Mercedes-Benz), and females in general are showed as those whose sense of life is mostly limited by such themes as sex (as in the case of American Apparel) or subjection to males (as in the case of Tipalet cigarettes).
This conclusion corresponds to the general position of Solomon and Kilbourne who consider that the modern market is governed by the desires of males. Consequently, the chauvinistic features of the current American culture become obvious through the analysis of the advertisements.