Bratz Dolls: Passion for Fashion

Table of Content

Marketers advertise their products to children through television, the internet, print media, and movies. Children are constantly viewing these ads while watching television. Marketers use subtle advertising to influence very young children. They view children as current, as well as potential future consumers. Children are easily influenced by media and therefore, a good target for marketing. Advertisers target children’s key physiological centers that will affect their perceptions.

Some corporations abuse their persuasive powers and use their advertisements to manipulate children to boost their sales. Companies are aware and are taking advantage of children’s lack of critical thinking and analytical skills to make informed decisions and analyze situations, which makes them vulnerable to manipulation (Graboviy, 2011). One particular ad that caught so much attention among young children nowadays, specifically girls in their pre-teens and even younger, is the advertisement on the well-known BRATZ Wild-Wild West dolls ad campaign by Wal-Mart.

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In this paper, will be a description of the nature of the advertisement chosen, how this ad use lifestyle values and beliefs in order to sell their products, and its link to attempt to “brand” the consumers. Also, a discussion on how the images and messages from the ad illustrate the goals of the corporation to sell their products and the contradictions between the lifestyle depicted and the actual use of the products will be highlighted. The idea that consumers still have the ability to resist the messages they are receiving from the ad industry will also be discussed.

The Advertisement This ad was a television commercial by Wal-Mart. Targeted to pre-teens children, the ad started with an image of an array of toys with the voices of children proclaiming Wal-Mart Toyland! Then came a peephole view of long legs framed by knee high white gogo boots and very dark, short jean skirts- a reminiscence of the 1960’s peep show. A voice highlighted “Cowgirls style means rugged glamour”. Then came a full view of young attractive women with their long blonde, brown and dark hair down to their buttocks strutting down a catwalk.

These women were wearing sexy and revealing cowgirl outfits, with real horses on the show. Then, we are introduced to a “mom figure” in her 30’s playing with a white stallion in her right hand and a BRATZ doll in her left, sitting on her daughter’s bed. She was playing with the BRATZ dolls and the horse. The daughter caught the mom playing and asked her mom what is she doing. The mom said “nothing” and pretended she was tidying up her daughter’s bed. Then the dolls are shown on a shelf and a woman stated that Wal-Mart knows all girls love fashion but BRATZ Wild-Wild West dolls are “especially for your daughter” (Pecunia, 2006).

Lifestyle Values and Beliefs How does the ad or ad campaign you have chosen use lifestyle values and beliefs in order to sell their products? In order to sell their products, BRATZ dolls were introduced by using Wal-Mart toy land, which is very appealing to children and to parents. The company uses ethnic looking dolls showing that they are currently sensitive to global racial equality. They want to give the impression that they care about the issues that are important to today’s young audience.

The ad campaign portrays modern fashion style on cowgirls, which is very fitting to the latest fashion trends among young girls. The ad is trying to introduce new fashion styles that could influence and stimulate young girls thoughts and creative ideas. The image of the horses interest children, especially little girls who desire at one stage to become cowgirls. The ad shows a general idea on the current fashions that girls, especially pre-teens are very interested in- the clothing or outfits, hairstyles, make-up and accessories that these BRATZ dolls are introducing.

The BRATZ company is insinuating that all good mothers and daughters should love BRATZ dolls as the mother is modeling behavior for her child. If the mother, being discerning, loves the dolls, therefore all should as well. Also bear in mind that the parent, especially the mother, is the first role model a child will have. The mom playing with the dolls portrayed the idea that adults are okay that their young daughters play with the ‘hypersexualized’ dolls (Andrea, 2011). How is this linked to attempt to “brand” the consumer?

This ad campaign attempt to “brand” the consumer by showing current styles of clothing and accessories, trying to address the fact that they are modern and relevant in today’s modern world; that, to wear cowgirl outfits is a glamorous thing for women. By showing repeated images of women with long hair, attired in tight, revealing clothes and their model athletic physiques, the ad portrays how women feel: that any women or girls should look like. Images and Messages of the Ad

How do the image and message arising from the ad illustrate the goals of the corporation employing the ad industry to sell their product? The images and messages arising from the ad illustrate the goals of the corporation employing the ad industry to sell their products by portraying fashionable outfits and accessories that are of pre-teen’s interest. The use of different images of women in their different ethnic appearances, appeals to children of different race and ethnicity. Portraying attractive and beautiful faces of women appeal to children’s desire to be grown-up and look beautiful.

Using the ethnic dolls, the corporation showed that they are ethnically diverse and sensitive to consumer groups. The portrayal of the mom playing the BRATZ dolls suggest approval from the parent side, therefore, it is an appropriate toy to play with among young girls. Are there contradictions between the lifestyle depicted and the actual use of the products? In the ad, the way BRATZ dolls dress-up and look like in general does not fit to young girls’ ordinary clothing and appearances and are inappropriate to their ages.

BRATZ dolls are marketed towards the four years old to early teens age group and portray sexy, fashion savvy, self-centered, consumerist characters with lots of “needs” and “plenty of attitude”. The imagery in BRATZ ad abounds with sexual cues and material accessories (Price, 2005). Wal-Mart toy land wants to give the impression that it is a simple doll and aimed at pre-teens and younger, however when analyzing the ad, the first view portrayed was a through a peephole and showing women’s bare legs with knee high gogo boots with the message of “the style from the yesteryears” (1948NineD, 2011).

For anyone older than forty years of age will typically understand that the image portrays ideology arising from peepshows of the past and therefore be an indication of pornography. “In contemporary use, a peep show is a piecewise presentation of pornographic films or a live sex show which is viewed through a viewing slot, which shuts after the time paid for has expired” (Peep show, 2012). The mother playing with the daughter’s toy is a contradiction as parents rarely play pretend.

The mother is depicted as being immature having something to hide from her daughter and the child is acting as the domineering parent figure. The Power to Resist Discuss the idea that the consumer still has the ability to resist the message they are receiving from the ad industry. As a consumer, one has the power to decide whether or not to purchase goods or services suggested and marketed by the different advertisements we encounter in our daily lives. It is up to one’s personal decision to choose.

There are many ways to resist from all these negative advertisements in media. Simple acts such as turning the television (TV) off or ignoring the negative ad from TV or radio by leaving the room or by just not watching or not listening. One can turn on pop-up blocker software on internet sites so we are not bombarded as well online. One can use a Personal Video Recorder (PVR) on their TV shows or movies so one can zoom through the commercials when they arise. One can limit the amount of TV or internet use for children.

Ask one self if the purchase is a need or just a personal wants. One can make a budget and live within it therefore not being susceptible to whim purchases. A consumer can find out if the corporation is interested in the welfare of their employee, if they are involved in politically incorrect practices such as sweat shops and force labor. Being aware of the corporation policies help protect the consumer. Conclusion Advertising has shown to be a popular way of manipulating the masses through corporate advertising of lifestyle values and beliefs.

Although contradictions arise within the advertisements, they are for the most part successful at meeting their goals. The consumers can be empowered with the knowledge they are armed with to be able to resist the messages of the big corporations and be able to say no to unnecessary purchases. Therefore, as parents, one has the most power to have full control of their underage children in choosing age appropriate sources of media to use and most of all, parents can better protect their children from the negative aspects of advertising.

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