Rich Ceccoli Ceccoli 1Dr. SterlingEffective WritingNovember 10, 2000Man Enough?Advertising plays an essential role in our society today. On some levels, it shapes us into the people we are by implanting in our minds certain ideas of what we should own. Advertising agencies are out to strike a nerve or hotspot in our consumer driven minds that will lead us to buy whatever product they may be selling.
In recent times we can see a rather disturbing and not so subtle advertising strategy developing. Agencies are associating their products with masculine homilies such as sex appeal and the male competitive drive. The new trend among ads and commercials is to question the consumer’s masculinity and align their product with masculinity. Men are very concerned with their sex appeal and how women view them.
Many new ads are sending the message that their product carries with it the essence of sexiness. A perfect example of this is a “KOOL” cigarette ad in Playboy magazine. The ad depicts an overly crowded bar packed with young attractive people. In the back of the room there is a sign that says “BE KOOL,” which jumps right out due to its green lighting.
Everyone in the bar is preoccupied Ceccoli 2with conversations except one girl. She is a very beautiful twenty-something brunette with a very seductive and hypnotic look on her face. She is locked in a dead stare with a man’s hand holding a KOOL cigarette. The only part of the man showing is his hand and forearm and it is clearly apparent that this girl is staring at it. The add is basically saying that this girl singled this guy out of a packed crowd just because he smokes KOOLs. The fact that she is staring at his hand and not him is very interesting.
The girl in the ad cares nothing about the man holding the cigarette or any other men surrounding her. She is simply entranced by the cigarette itself. The ad agency is directly aligning its product with sex appeal. Not only does this ad say “Smoking KOOL makes you look sexy,” this ad says “KOOL’s ARE sexy. ” Another ad that takes the exact same approach is a recent Levi’s television commercial. The commercial is about 30-45 seconds long and it features numerous women that live in the same apartment building.
Each scene displays a different woman doing something drastically destructive to their apartment. One woman even cuts into her wall with a chain saw. Each time one of the women destroy something the commercial cuts to the repairman (landlord, superintendent) who receives a beep on his pager. Throughout the commercial, one accident after another, this repairman goes to the Ceccoli 3women’s rooms to make repairs. Surprisingly enough, each room that he visits is inhabited by an unusually attractive young female.
Every time the repairman enters or leaves a room to respond to a call the woman will look glare at his jeans. The ad ends with this as he receives another page and says, “God, this place is falling apart. ” This ad is absolutely ridiculous. The advertising agency is actually telling you that these jeans are so sexy that women will destroy their personal property just to look at them for a short while. To be adored and desired by women is something that every man dreams about.
The man in the ad is depicted as the most desired man on the planet and if the ad agencies can make someone feel that these jeans will work the same wonders for them, well then they will definitely have another customer. The masculine homily of keeping up with the competition seems to be a highly effective advertising method. A shining example of this can be seen in a very recent commercial for the new online brokerage firm “Ameritrade. ” This ad is about 45sc-Min long and it displays a cocky young stockbroker making his way through an airport.
He is talking on his cell phone and from his conversations and the way he talks down to people the viewer assumes that he is very well to do and knowledgeable in his field. He takes a seat next to an ordinary looking gentleman. They begin discussing stocks and Ceccoli 4the second man dazzles this cocky young broker with his ability to watch the market as it moves and his easy access and fair price for trading. The cocky young broker has a very defeated look on his face and is almost reluctant to hear the explanation of Ameritrade. It can be ascertained that this young broker was outright angry and embarrassed that he was educated on what he thought to be his field of expertise. The ad is saying that Ameritrade can give even the average person an easy and effective way to maneuver around the market, and that even the likes of an experienced broker can be lost without it.
Another commercial that appeals to the masculine need for competition is a recent milk commercial. The commercial is aimed to reinforce the fact that milk has high nutritional value and strengthens bones and muscles. Strength and the ability to overpower ones fellow man has always been synonymous with masculinity. The commercial takes place in a diner where three very docile looking old men drinking milk with their breakfast. Sitting a few booths away from them are three extremely large and menacing looking men.
The old men begin catapulting little chunks of food at them with their spoons. All of the men stand up and approach each other until they finally meet in the middle of the aisle. A short standoff ensues and one of the burly men looks at the old man and says Ceccoli 5“What?,” as if to say “what are you going to do old man?. ” A second later the old men head butt the three large men and render them unconscious. The idea this commercial conveys is that milk will increase your chances of victory in a fight despite what the odds may be. It is basically saying that with strength and a little testosterone driven fortitude a man can overcome anything.
A man’s insecurities over his masculinity can compel him to do anything he can to prove himself. Advertising agencies use masculine homilies to lead us to believe that their products are manly products and in buying their products we can prove ourselves as men. It’s a little depressing to think that we have come to a point in marketing where our possessions define the people we are. English Essays