Advertisements for various products are seen everywhere — on billboards, in magazines, on television, and countless other places. What draws the consumer into the advertisement — the actual product, the display of the sensual woman as she drinks a glass of milk, or the muscular man sporting a Ralph Lauren blanket as a loincloth? These types of advertisements display unlikely depictions of men and women to society. Today, advertisers use the influence of gender and sex to sell various products to consumers, resulting in unrealistic expectations of men and women to society.
According to Vernon Fryburger, author of the book The New Age of Advertising, “The most important job for advertising is to “make a sale” for a product or a service, and to do so it must clearly establish a rapport with its audience, which means that it must consciously stay within relatively narrow bounds of acceptability in terms of language, visualizations, and general background and frame of reference” (15). Advertisers use many different strategies to sell their products to consumers. They spend over 200 billion dollars per year attempting to get the attention of consumers and to influence their decisions. An average person views 250 advertisements every day and over two million advertisements by the time they are twenty-five years of age (Baran 278). When advertisers are working on campaigns, they think about what the consumer wants and needs to see in order to purchase the product. More often than not, attractive, seductive-looking individuals are chosen for ads (Percy and Rossiter 1-5). When advertisers are preparing ad campaigns, they will usually discuss women and men can be profitably pictured (Goffman 25). An example of how advertisers show how women can be profitably pictured can be seen in many Guess? advertisements. Guess? has published advertisements implying that girls can use their sexuality to free themselves from parental constraints (Moog 156).
Versace is yet another example of how sexuality and sexual-orientated ads are used to sell their products. In a recent advertisement for Versace Blue Jeans cologne, a nude male is seen in a waterfall-type scene. Oddly, this advertisement is selling cologne, but the focus is on the portrayal of the nude male body in the advertisement, not the cologne fragrance. Numerous ads show one thing, but mean something entirely different. Another example of this is from a Seagram’s ad where an attractive woman is seen dancing with a man. The ad says, “Seagram’s 7 gets things stirring.” The couple isn’t really laughing and carrying on, as seen in the ad itself; they just look like pictures of store mannequins instead of real people (Moog 60). The Seagram’s ad communicates the message that by drinking this particular alcohol, attractive people will be drawn to you, which will result in that person having the time of their life.
Most advertisers feel that by using sexually orientated or seductive...