Textual analysis – advertisement
Advertising is the promotion of a product or service and is extremely persistent in contemporary society. To maximize their sales, the companies pay a premium for wide exposure through the mass media. Advertising space includes billboards, public transportation, movies ( product placement ), television, schools, clothing and even washroom stalls carry ads. Advertising, including traditional media such as newspapers and magazines too. Then there is new media such as websites. Thus the Industry is constantly finding new ways to advertise. Even though we may only look at them for a few seconds, our everyday life is affected by them. Since we live in a consumer society, it is inevitable that advertisements bombard us all the time.
This essay aims at investigating the main features of advertising, the impacts of advertising on our lives, and the significance of advertising in the media and communication studies through a textual analysis of a magazine ad of Embrace disposable razor.
Similar to other advertisements, this advertisement too follows a basic format- a combination of different elements, including slogan, image, factual information of product, and logo of the brand. Firstly, the advertiser uses a striking image to draw attentions of potential consumers. In the advertisement, there is a young couple sitting happily on the wharf. The young female character is embracing the young male character from his back while he is touching and gazing at her legs. Both of them are having a smile of contentment and satisfaction on their faces. Unlike other advertisements, the portrayal of the female in this ad is not sexually exploitative and submissive. On the contrary, the female seems to be playing a dominant role in the relationship, which in itself makes it a little striking, as it is common for the male to take an active role and embrace the female from her back, but not always common for a woman to take the lead..
Besides, unlike the females appearing with sexually connotative facial expressions in many other ads, the female in this ad looks confident and pleasant. This advertisement seems to suggest that the position of young female adults is equal to or even higher than the males. They can do or act independently and confidently in a relationship, in order to assert their own happiness and satisfaction. However, this is not the whole story.
Apart from the apparent image, consumers can get more ideas about the message being conveyed by the advertiser by considering the second element, the slogan. – Goddess of he’s mine and a sub slogan: Embrace- It- our closest shave for your closest moments. Because it all starts with an embrace it is shown a bit higher than the eye level in the advertisement. The slogan and sub slogan conveys to the consumers that the happiness and confidence of the young female actually comes from her closeness with her male, instead of merely performing the act of shaving itself. This closeness is smooth and comfortable, devoid of any flaws because of her smooth satin like skin which is the result of shaving with the product of their company .An ordinary female too can become a goddess or can feel like a goddess while she has in her embrace the person she most dearly loves, .because she has acquired now the ability and the satin beauty to own a guy. It implies that the male is still dominating the relationship, because the male is the center of her thought and her entire focus. Thus the females who opts to purchase the Embrace disposable razor are not primarily thinking about themselves and their happiness, but about their partners happiness and satisfaction too.. The slogan is suggesting that males can be satisfied by the stain and smooth skin of female in the intimate moments. Females in turn can be satisfied by satisfying the male or in this case the love of their life.. Thus in reality or apparently the advertiser is using image and slogan to tap females desire for pride, self esteem and successful romance. However, from the perspective of media and communication studies, this advertisement is an illustration of patriarchal society and it also shows some gender stereotypes in the consumer society.
This ad can be found in the female magazines like Vague. Inherently, its target consumers are females. However, the consumers can only get the message from the advertisers accurately by adopting male-gaze, or a male angle. According to Laura Mulvey, male-gaze meansâ€¦ in respect to this ad, the young female is wearing swimming suit and showing her satin skin. The message of an ideal and a beautiful female body with an equally beautiful and smooth skin is produced by advertiser. Besides, the gaze of the male character on her beauty directs the audience and their gaze to the female and her beautiful legs. Therefore, the female model in the ad provides a perception of how females should look and should be looked at. The prominent audience of this ad is a female, it engages in the mirror effect which means females are encouraged to view themselves as the photographer views the model or as her lover views her.
It has been an age old custom with women- they like to dress up the way their men want them to .Looking at this ad the women would, undoubtedly be inspired to buy the product, shave their hairy body in order to become as desirable as the model in the advertisement, and achieve their ultimate goal of winning the attention of their man and attain happiness and satisfaction for both of them. . On the other hand, it reflects the bitter reality that we are still living in a patriarchal society.
Form the above analysis, it is clear that men admire beautiful women and women admire what men admire in them and they can go out of their way to achieve it. The standard of the beauty of the women to some extent is set from the male perspective. However this is not the ultimate truth. There are some women with an independent mind and integrity, who are more of feminists, whose actions are never guided by any male perspectives..
They are extremely independent with a mind of their own which cannot be influenced by males.
This ad suggests another negative angle too, which is very prevalent in our society. By becoming the interest of a male-gaze, the female model in the advertisement becomes an object for audiences to gaze, specially for males. Such advertisements do not focus on the inner beauty, strength, integrity and intellectual qualities of women. They fail to focus on the intrinsic qualities of female and focus only on the outer beauty which is very often skin deep. It is because only the objectified image can be consumed in the consumer society. Objectifying female image has become a major feature of advertising. Since a scantily dressed female body is always more attractive than that of a male. Thus consumers should be very careful and sure about the quality of the product while buying a product instead of being influenced by the exterior beauty of the models. The purpose of a beautiful model in an ad is generally to titillate the viewers and their fantasies.
The third element which draws our attention – the factual information of the Embrace disposable razor is not significant as compared to other elements in the Advertisement.
This ad can be categorized as a transformational advertisement since it provides minimal information about the product attributes. The advertiser uses less than 1/4 space of the page for placing actual product without detailed descriptions and instructions about its quality and compositions..The consumers can only get to know that there are 5 blades in the package and how the Embrace disposable razor looks. Unlike informational advertisement, this one is not directly stating its product features or quality. In other words, it provides benefits in terms of perceived value, which has been explained in the previous paragraph, rather than product quality.
The reality or the actual knowledge that consumers should gather from such analytical studies of advertisements is that while buying a product the visuals of advertisements of a particular product are important, but to a certain extent. One must go deep into the chemical compositions and the ingredients of the product. How good and beneficial they are form the human health view point. A product must be purchased after being totally convinced from all aspects.
REFERENCE : An article on advertisement written by me in the magazine JITO
A link on advertisement from google.