Rhetorical Analysis: Life is Beautiful
As an exquisite woman walks into a room, it is not uncommon to see heads turn her way. We have seen beautiful women be the center of attention in many instances, such as when a bride walks down the aisle to her groom, or perhaps when Julia Roberts walks out in a stunning red opera dress in Pretty Woman, illustrating her transformation from rags to riches. The familiar arrival of the pretty woman in movies and books is also seen in Lancôme’s perfume advertisement.
Julia Roberts, the face of this particular perfume, walks into an elegant event wearing a glittering gown and is strongly portrayed as the most striking woman of the party. Throughout the advertisement we see that Julia is different than the other characters at the event, and she sets herself apart from them with the help of her perfume.
This commercial’s use of contrasting characters, setting, and sequence strongly implies that using ‘La Vie est Belle’ will allow you to become an individual among your peers.
Lancôme’s use of characters shows the audience that their perfume introduces uniqueness by showcasing Roberts’ beauty and using contrasting elements amid the characters. Julia Roberts is a well-known actress who is seen as beautiful by many men and women, and is often referred to as the leading lady (Cieply). By using her in the Lancome campaign and producing an elevated party scene, viewers are interested in learning about the product she is endorsing. The first thing noticed about her in the commercial, is that she is wearing a sparkling white dress. This creates an angelic characteristic about her, and it produces an ambience among the party as if she is glowing. The other party-goers are dressed very simply in an all-black style.
Their formality and sharpness exude seriousness, whereas Julia is the opposite. Her smile and white dress let off a warm, bright personality, making her well liked among the audience. Her introduction is the first obvious aspect of Julia’s character that the audience can immediately see distinguishes her from others. The advertisement also uses the color black to form an illusion that the party characters are all one in the same. The fact that they are all wearing black makes them look like an amoeba of aristocrats as she scans and observes them. This is Lancôme’s way of showing the audience the underlying constraints of society. Julia’s opposition to the other characters in terms of clothing shows the audience that right off the bat, her perfume is daring her to be different. As the advertisement begins, one of the first things to notice is where the event is taking place. The black interior, cosmopolitan atmosphere and beautiful décor illustrate the magnificence of the event and create an assumption of high social status. The black interior creates simplicity in the commercial because it allows the audience to focus on the facial features and looks of the characters. The jewelry and expressions on the characters exhibit a high status that the audience wants to be take part in. Lancome uses the black interior to their advantage so that the audience will notice important emphasis.
The atmosphere of this party is created by constructing contrast between dark and light. The dim lighting creates sharp images in the room. The sharpness and clarity give the atmosphere a very refined touch and the party seems more impressive to the audience. This sophistication of the advertisement is suggesting that by using Lancôme’s perfume, the audience can be incorporated into a high class social setting and can be as elegant as Roberts. It is important for the audience to feel this way because Lancome wants their viewers to feel a sense of luxury from using the perfume. The sequence draws upon the strategies of cinema to portray Julia’s individualism to the audience. When Roberts walks up to a large mirror and sees the reflection of herself and the people standing behind her, she sees small silver chains on her wrists and on the wrists of others. This makes them look like puppets.
The advertisement is implying here that all of the people at the party are being constrained by the social constructs of their society. The advertisement goes in slow motion as she looks at specific individuals around her who are constrained by the puppet-like strings. This type of sequencing illuminates the actions of the high class as being ordinary, because they left their chains on their wrists. She looked at her wrists and looked again at those around her, and then she decides to break off the chains. This is her final breakthrough as she sets herself apart from everyone around her. Also, throughout the commercial, the music is dramatic, intricate, and very climactic. With the music of the advertisement building up to her awareness in the mirror, tension is released at the same moment she breaks her chains.
The music’s purpose is to contribute to the sequence, leaving the audience feeling as if they can push past the social constructs around them and feel beautiful. The sense of drama portrayed to viewers, and the peaking point in the music help illustrate the turning point for Julia when she becomes her own person. Lancôme’s combination of characters, setting, and sequence build a lasting impression on the audience in that they are captivated into the concept of breaking free and being your own person. The sense of individualism that Lancome promotes is something that an audience will pay to have, so viewers are likely to be interested in ‘La Vie est Belle’. Also, by producing a high social structure, viewers will have a connotation of sophistication when thinking about Lancôme’s product. This marketing strategy however, is ironic. If more than one person buys Lancôme’s product, then are they not all part of the same social group again? If everyone uses the same product, they cannot all be different. It would be interesting to see how many audience members catch on to this strategy, and as they do, the amount of interest remaining in these types of advertisements.
Cieply, Michael. “The Return of Julia Roberts, Leading Lady.” Nytimes.com. New York Times, 6 Oct. 2011. Web. 13 Sept. 2013. The Purdue OWL. Purdue U Writing Lab, 2010. Web. 14 Sept. 2013. Selfridges. “Lancome La Vie Est Belle with Julia Roberts at Selfridges.” YouTube. YouTube, 28 Aug. 2012. Web. 15 Sept. 2013.
Cite this Life Is Beautiful – Rhetorical Analysis
Life Is Beautiful – Rhetorical Analysis. (2016, Oct 01). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/life-is-beautiful-rhetorical-analysis/