Metaphorical Analysis of Living Grace: Graceful Advertising Introduction “Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee…” This opening line of the Catholic prayer, The “Hail Mary,” epitomizes the importance that the Church, the larger Christian Church, places on grace and women. The culture of America, and arguably Western society, carries Christian values. Because it is such a core notion in our culture, Christian language and references can many times be used to connect with even non-Christians in America.
The Philosophy (2012) perfume ad for Living Grace illustrates how religious metaphors can be used effectively in advertising.
Description of Text The Philosophy (2012) ad for Living Grace perfume was found in a popular women’s magazine. Magazines such as Glamour, In Style, and Lucky feature fads and trends, what’s hot now, and what women ‘should’ be doing. Subsequently, their ads also carry these messages. Philosophy uses the medium of a magazine advertisement to reach their target audience: women. The ad itself is very minimalistic, with a predominantly white background.
On the bottom right hand corner, the sky can be seen. Beneath this is black blocking with logo. The product itself is centered below the texts, “you don’t wear it, you live it, introducing a new fragrance from philosophy,” and “philosophy: the deeper we dive the more remarkable we become. and in the end, the one truth that rises to the top is that our tomorrows belong only to this day. the lesson we learn is to passionately express our daily moments with living grace and gratitude. ” The text throughout is all lower cased.
The bottle is clear and square, with the label in blue, and looking very similar to the ad setting. When researched, the bottle looks the same as in the advertisement. Philosophy (2012) boasts its scientific background. On their main web page, it states, “philosophy is a brand that approaches personal care from a skin care point of view, while celebrating the beauty of the human spirit. Our skin care products, fragrances, bath and body products and philosophy gift sets are formulated with scientifically-proven ingredients” (Philosophy inc. , 2012).
According to the website, “theskinplace,” the scientific background is reiterated saying, “The story of philosophy products begins with the story of BioMedic, and medically-based skincare line distributed by the world’s leading plastic surgeons and dermatologists and the first company started by philosophy cosmetics brand creator and founder, Christina Carlino” (Tulsa Web Design, p. 1). The product in the text being analyzed is the Living Grace scent. According to the company website, one can purchase the 0. 5 oz bottle for $15 dollars, and the 2 oz. bottle can be purchased for $44.
The other 9 scents include: Amazing Grace, Summer Grace, Pure Grace, Inner Grace, Falling in Love Summer, Falling in Love, Unconditional Love, Love Sweet Love, and Field of Flowers (Philosophy inc, 2012). Description of Method: I will be analyzing the Philosophy (2012) ad for “Living Grace” through the lens of Metaphorical Criticism. Sonja K. Foss (2009) discusses this method in her book, Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and Practice; describing metaphors as being, “the process of transferring or carrying over aspects that apply to one object to a second object (p.
267). Metaphors use the imagery of one object to describe another. They consist of two parts: tenor and vehicle. According to Foss (2009), “the tenor is the topic or subject that is being explained;” whereas, “the vehicle is the mechanism or lens through which the topic is viewed” (p. 267). The vehicle will be the major focus of this criticism. Using metaphorical criticism, I will analyze the Philosophy (2012) ad through the lens of women and religion as it relates to grace.
In doing so, it is important to understand what grace is, along with understanding how women and grace have been connected in the Bible. Burton Scott Easton’s (1930), encyclopedia, The International Standard Bible Enclopedia, tells us that, “in the English New Testament the word ‘grace’ is always a translation of ????? (charis), a word that occurs in the Greek text something over 170 times” (p. 1920). The word grace has several different uses throughout the Bible. Grace can either be a thing that is being given, or a quality being held.
Grace is used alongside with certain women in the Bible. Two examples are Esther and Mary, Mother of God. In Esther’s case, grace is something which is won in site of a man, the king. And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vasht (Esther 2:16-17, Revised Standard).
In the case of Mary, Grace is something that is held, something she already has. She carries grace characteristics. The following text is part of the prayer, “Hail Mary. ” To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
(Luke 1:27-30 Douay-Rheims); [Latin Vulgate: ad virginem desponsatam viro cui nomen erat Ioseph de domo David et nomen virginis Maria et ingressus angelus ad eam dixit have gratia plena Dominus tecum benedicta tu in mulieribus quae cum vidisset turbata est in sermone eius et cogitabat qualis esset ista salutatio Esther’s and Mary’s grace juxtapose each other. Esther’s was given to her by an authoritative figure; whereas Mary carried her own grace. Regardless of rather the grace is achieved through divine means, given by man, or an inner characteristic, it is something that we strive for, regardless of our religion.
We carry an understanding that grace is positive. Rhetorical Analysis The magazine ad issued by Philosophy (2012) for the fragrance, Living Grace, is full of religious metaphors. The vehicles throughout these metaphors are highly religious, and describe the tenor, the perfume, which is something non-religious. The ad incorporates both verbal and visual metaphors throughout the text. Verbal: The name of the perfume, Living Grace, caries metaphors in and of itself. The word, living, denotes action. Living is the opposite of death. Death can many times carry a negative connotation.
We, as humans, strive to live. We fight for life. It is an active thing that we do each and every day. Grace, on the other hand, carries many other possible connotations. Grace usually denotes something being good or holy. Furthermore, it has been used in describing women. This could possibly stem from its connections with women in the Bible. The metaphor of life is again used in the first line of the ad stating: “you don’t wear it, you live it. ” The line seems to be referring to grace. You live grace, in it, or of it. The perfume is the “it” of the sentence.
“It,” the perfume, is the tenor. The vehicle is grace. Next comes a small paragraph that looks very similar to a dictionary excerpt. It states: “Philosophy: the deeper we dive the more remarkable we become. And in the end, the one truth that rises to the top is that our tomorrow belongs only to this day. The lesson we learn is to passionately express our daily moments with living grace and gratitude. ” The metaphor of diving describes going deeper, like diving into water. It describes uncovering layers to gain a better understanding. It can also describe faith.
Diving into the unknown. When we dive, we don’t always know what is beneath the water. The line, “and in the end, the one truth that rises to the top is that our tomorrow belongs to today,” can be analyzed as a metaphor for life. “Rises to the top” conjures imagery of oil and water. When oil and water is mixed, a clear separation occurs. Religion often creates imagery of loftiness. In rising to the top, it is being elevated or lifted above. The defining word, philosophy, metaphorically describes a way of life or thinking. Philosophy is meaningful and thoughtful.
Separated at the bottom of the page is the line, “philosophy believe in miracles. ” This line eloquently separates God and man. Philosophies are man-made; whereas, miracles, Biblically speaking, are of God. Visual: Like the verbal metaphors, the metaphors found in the imagery also relate to religion. The setting of the ad is the sky. The sky relates to Heaven. It raises the product, the perfume, up, creating a lightness or freeness. If we accept grace as being of God, then it only makes sense for this ad to be set in a heavenly setting. Throughout this text, there are no capital letters.
This implies a freeness, which can be achieved through grace. The colors in the ad imply grace. With the sky setting, this again ads a sense of freeness, or being relaxed . Both blue and white can represent grace; blue being serene and white being pure. The colors are also used often in Christianity. White is the color of pureness. It is the color of the dove, which represents God’s Grace. The color is worn on garments of priests, brides, and during baptisms. Blue is the color of water, which is traditionally used in Baptism, which again, symbolizes God’s grace.
The bottom of the ad, where the line, “philosophy believe in miracles” resides, is set aside visually with the color black. As earlier discussed, this line verbally sets apart the human from the Divine. The contrast of the black with the lightness of the sky visually achieves the separation. Again, this creates loftiness, thus elevating the product, Living Grace. Centered in the middle is the product, the perfume bottle. The bottle is clear, which again implies pureness, or being clean. Light seems to be reflecting off of the bottle, which connotes holiness.
Going through the bottle, there appears to be a ‘god-ray,’ a ray of sunshine, shining grace down on to the product. Conclusion: The smaller metaphors throughout the Philosophy (2012) magazine advertisement all combine to create a larger metaphor; the metaphor of grace; with, the perfume itself as the tenor and grace as the vehicle. Historically, grace has been something that women strive for, this could possibly be derivative of the impact religion has had on American and Western society. Rhetorical Conclusion Many rhetoricians have noted that in order to persuade an audience, one must connect with the audience.
This analysis provides an excellent example of how advertisers can potentially identify with their audience, of whom they wish to sell a product. Philosophy (2012) connects through culture and gender. They use Christian based metaphors throughout. Though not every member of the potential audience will be Christian, they will understand the Christian based metaphors simply because they grew up in America. Religion itself is, like it or not, a huge part of American societies, thus allowing us to identify with it. Potentially, religion can be used throughout
advertising to reach very large audiences. Bibliography Easton, B. S. (1930). Grace. The international standard bible encyclopedia, (vol. 2) Chicago, IL:Howard-Severace Co, Retrieved from http://www. bible-researcher. com/grace. html Foss, S. K. (2009). Rhetorical criticism exploration and practice. (4th ed. ). Long Grove, Illinois:Waveland Press Inc. Philosophy, inc. (2012). Philosophy . Retrieved from philosophy. com Tulsa Web Design. (n. d. ). The skin place for philosophy. Retrieved fromhttp://www. theskinplace. com/philosophy. asp –Philosophy advertisement attached.
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