Advertisements come in various shapes, sizes, and mediums, and as humans, we are constantly surrounded by them. Whether they are on TV, radio, or in a magazine, there is no way that we can escape them. They all have their target audience for whom the advertisers have specifically designed the ad. When a company produces a commercial, their main objective is to get their product to sell. This is a multibillion-dollar industry and the advertisers study all the ways that they can attract their audience’s attention.
The producers of advertisements have many tactics and strategies they use when producing an ad to get consumers to buy their product. These include things such as rhetorical appeals, logical fallacies, and “the male gaze. ” The function of marketing is to either increase the number of customers or increase the rate of use among current customers. The number of customers can be increased by converting customers from competing brands, developing loyalty to the brand among current customers, or expanding the total market for the product class. The more ads they make, the more they in turn have to make in order to get our attention, it’s led to a vicious circle of clutter” (PBS Frontline: The Persuaders). Advertising is a battle of which company can fill up the most empty wall space. Consequently, cities turn into a mass chaos of posters and billboards. Subway tunnels have now been turned into moving pictures, to produce almost a “commercial” if you will. The buses themselves have been turned into moving billboards. Nowadays the thirty-minute block for a television show is about 15 minutes worth of advertisements and 15 minutes of the actual show.
Along with that, many people are actually being paid to be an advertisement, whether it be standing out in front of a building with a sign, or putting a company decal on their car. Advertisements, likewise, cannot be escaped. However, often advertisers have to be sure and not “over do” their advertisements, or else the audience in which they are trying to appeal to will become annoyed. Old Spice, a major company for men’s hygienic products, has created a line of men’s body wash that has a very appealing and humorous advertising campaign.
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These ads are designed not only to get their product noticed in the marketplace, but also to eclipse other lines of men’s body wash. The Old Spice commercials imply that by using their product, a man will be or become more similar to the Old Spice man, or in other words, the ultimate man. The Old Spice advertisements capture men by reaching out to the needs of women, giving the ideal image of what a man should be and how he should smell, and by creating a sexual theme that attracts attention. The bottles used for all Old Spice products have red incorporated within the design.
This is because red is the color of attraction. That is why red always surrounds Valentine's day. Red can also signify power and strength. The Old Spice design tries to go with a classic, authentic look. It wants to appeal to a variety of ages. It has a very sophisticated look (Keitel). In our society, an extremely smart and effective way of selling a product designed for men is to appeal to women. Women have many opinions on commercials that deal with men’s products, and if they like the commercials, they will be more apt to either buy the product themselves or influence the men they know to buy it.
Advertisers not only use sexual appeals to attract attention to their ads, but to position their brands as sexual and to suggest that sex-related benefits can ensue to the brand purchasers. In Old Spice’s current ad campaign, there are a series of commercials using different actors and sports stars that are very fit and good looking to highlight their body wash. In the ad they use ex-NFL wide receiver Isaiah Mustafa, promoting elements of masculinity, sex appeal, and humor.
In the ad, Mustafa is coming out of a shower dressed only in a towel, saying in a deep voice, “Hello, ladies”, and then continuing to talk directly to women viewers, telling them to look alternately at him and then the man sitting next to them for the implied comparison in which no normal man would come out very well. The commercial then continues with rapidly shifting scenes that show Mustafa in romantic fantasy--? like settings designed to appeal to women. He is shirtless on a sailboat at sunset, then holding tickets to “that thing you love”.
The tickets then turn into diamonds, and finally then ad ends with Mustafa sitting shirtless on a white stallion on a tropical beach. The commercial’s appeal to women relies not only on the attractiveness of the actor and the settings, but to the humor that is based on the idea that such a perfect man can exist at all. Conversely, not only do these commercials reach out to women, but also there are men in the target audience and there is a message for them as well. These ads present an ideal image of how a man should be and what he should smell like.
By using a good looking, fit, man for this advertisement, it gives the product an image that men want. The logical fallacy, ad populum, is present in this commercial. This ad almost shouts out the ideas that if you use the product you can look, smell, and be exactly like the man you see on your television. The Old Spice man, Mustafa, does everything better than you do and will give your woman more than you can give her. You can smell like the “ultimate man”, or as the slogan used in the ads says, “Smell like a man”.
The ad makes a man react emotionally and appeal directly to his masculinity, vanity, and even his insecurity in being able to impress, attract, and keep women happy. This ad also portrays the idea of “scopophilia”. Scopophila is known as the pleasure in looking; by this, women want to have a pleasure in looking at their man, and the only way that will happen is if he uses Old Spice. In addition to appealing to women’s tastes and a man’s emotional need to smell like a manly man and attract a woman, this commercial uses the old reliable advertising strategy – sex sells.
A sexually themed commercial can appeal to both men and women, and is sure to attract attention. Men and women are often portrayed in a sexual manner in ads of products that have absolutely nothing to do with sex itself. However, the sexiness of the advertisement causes people to remember the ad, and thus the product. This sexiness in advertising is enhanced and affected by the physical attributes of the models, their movement or actions, their interactions if there is more than one model, and the special effects provided by the camera.
The desired result is achieved, because of the sexual nature of the ad, a fit and good-looking man talking directly to women in a seductive voice and in a romantic location. People, both men and women, stop what they are doing and watch. Sex can make the beholder feel young again. Sex may also reassure men of their masculinity and women of their femininity. The sexual content of the commercial also does more than grab people’s attention, it helps them remember the ads.
The Old Spice ads are successful because they make an impression on people and lead to discussions with other people who have seen them. The advertisers do have to be careful with the use of sex appeal in these ads. If the sexual content is overdone, it might not work as intended. They need to make sure that people are not so distracted by the sexual appeal of the ad that they do not remember what the ad was for in the first place. It does not do any good to create a sensual or sexual message when all they can remember is the image and not the brand name.
Therefore, advertisers need to make sure the sexual/sensual image being used is connected in some way to the product or service being promoted. This will create a link between the two and make the viewer much more likely to remember the product or service being advertised. When making a sexual ad, producers must tailor the message to the people they are targeting, which includes understanding the audience’s feelings and beliefs on public sexuality. Women have a different viewpoint on the subject of sexual appeal in advertisements.
The objectification of women in advertising campaigns has significant psychological implications. It socializes women to think of them in the manner in which they are depicted, and causes them to engage in self-objectification. When women view advertisements featuring thin female models, it causes them to think that their own bodies should also be thin, creates anxieties relating to their weight, appearance, body satisfaction, and creates a negative mood. Thus, their body image causes them to suffer emotionally and psychologically.
Bordo states in her essay, “Today, as many as one million men – and eight million women – have an eating disorder. ” Perhaps, by buying the advertised items, the viewing audience of women believes they will instantly become taller, thinner, younger, and prettier. This is not the same psychological effect experienced by women who view ads with female models of average proportions, or with no female models at all. Objectification of women in advertisements and emphasis on the size of their breasts has created a society of cosmetically enhanced, large-breasted women.
Their self-image is predicated on the media's portrayal of a desirable woman. In order to have high self-esteem, and see themselves as attractive and valued women, many females feel this enhancement is necessary. Most human consumption is a result of a drive to satisfy sensuous desires. Advertising uses sexual images to encourage this consumption. People become dissatisfied with their imperfect selves, and seek to become perfect by buying the sexually charged products. Sex is an easy way to get the attention of males and make a product seem desirable.
Women are objectified, and men are swayed to purchase the product and as a reward, get the women. The women represented in these ads are all beautiful and physically well endowed. Men are stimulated by the immediate physical sexuality in the ads, whereas women seem to be more stimulated by the sexuality for the romantic aspect of it. Men want to get the women. Women want the sexuality for the promise of the future. There seems to be no question that the use of sexuality in advertising helps to sell a product.
However, when sexuality is used, the concept is true that there is greater consumer interest in observing the ads. This increased consumer interest often leads to the purchase of the advertised product.
- Bordo, Susan. “Beauty (Re)discovers the Male Body”. Writing Analytically with Reading. 2nd ed. EDS. Rossenwasser, David and Jill Stephen. Boston: Wadsworth, 2012. 821-843. Print.
- Keitel, Victoria. “Old Spice Analysis. ” Personal. PSU. n. d. Web. 11 Nov. 2012 Rushkoff, Douglas.
- “The Persuaders. ” PBS Frontline. 9 Nov. 2004. Web. 11 Nov. 2012
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