Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Come on, I dare you!

Advertisements seem to come in layers these days. Right here in El Paso you can find billboards of certain outlets or boutiques where there are brand name clothing being worn then at the bottom of the billboard you will see the name of the company who owns the billboard. That's like three advertisements in one, all in a matter of only 6 seconds as we pass by on I-10. Talk about getting bombarded with commodified culture!

And what about movies in which we see the people drinking or eating certain products, or saving up to buy a specific name brand thing, or the movies that show the status of people according to the type of car that they drive. My favorite quote is one from the movie "Bride Wars" when one of the characters is purchasing her wedding dress and the sales lady is sure to remind her about the name brand dress she is buying and says: "We don't alter Vera Wang, you alter your body to fit Vera."

And what about the ads for a certain pair of jeans where you see two sexy people kissing/making out and you are only able to see the very top of the jeans (if any part at all). Or how about the ad that shows a lady in the shower and you see her silhouette while the jeans are thrown on the floor. Is this really an ad for the jeans? Or is it merely the ad for the image that the jeans will give you?

Advertising is all around us and if we are not careful, we too will be sucked up into the seduction of advertising and end up buying things that we only think that we need when in reality we have done fine without them this far.

So here are my two challenges for you:

#1) Go out and try to find more of these kinds of advertisements and write about them here in the comment section. (This task will be all too easy to complete.)

#2) I dare you to go out there and find an advertisement that is actually an advertisement of itself. Not those advertisements where the sign-value overshadows the use-value of the product. (Like my jean ad example.)

Have fun on your search but be careful. This is an assignment, not a reason to go shopping. ;)


  1. I can think of one off the top of my head, Chocolat has a billboard that says the name and has a strawberry that was just dipped in chocolate. The chocolate is dripping off the strawberry and it looks delicious to the eye. That is the epidemy of advertising, it wants the viewer to want chocolate, to go to the store and buy it. That is all the billboard has, the strawberry the name Chocolat and the where it is located. Most advertisements are fabricated to give the purchaser the sense that if you buy product x, you will be sexy or have a good life ect. But when an ad just gets down to basics and sells the product, they seem to have more success.

  2. Very interesting assignment. For the ad of daring us to find something, I can think of Old Navy, the new mannequin ads on television. Sure they're talking about social, normal stuff, but they are all clearly wearing the clothes they are advertising. Not just thrown around somewhere or barely visible, they are fully visible. These mannequins don't even move and aren't even real people, so that seems to emphasize the attention that much more towards the clothes themselves.
    For the first one, I think of the Britney Spears perfume a while ago, where she is walking all sexual and starts touching her body, and puts her ear towards the wall and peeks to see a man's eye looking towards her and then silhouttes come out of them making out. Then they show the perfume bottle at the end. They didn't show her putting on the perfume or modeling the bottle or anything.
    How about the Axe chocolate commercials, where the dude is made of chocolate and all the girls go crazy and start eating him, this is advertising how women love chocolate no?

  3. Acually i believe that the advertisments that i truely truely ads are those if reference to the medical system such as CHIP. Ads such as these help to push the proper educationg and helth for the needs of our children. Now an ad that is nearly intended for us to buy something is the Cleopatra ad. It states "the queens perfume". It stresses the emphasis on Cleoptra being the eny and that you to shall join with her. n

  4. The abundance of pro-life billboards on I-10 are pretty straight forward. It expresses one idea only "No to abortion" and doesent fade away into other ideas or advertisements. That was about the only one i could think of off the top of my head that didnt involve layering or mixed messages.

  5. I defenetely agree that advertisement is necesarly at a certain point, but i find advertisement unuseful when all they announce is beuty supplies, surgeries and products that would make u more happy. This types of advertisemets make society become more materialistic and makes people buy things they dont need. Also, many advertisements help people be inform, and get resourses those are the ones that are useful and necesary.