Calvin Klein Crosses The Line. Essay

968 words - 4 pages

A chiseled man stands alone. His muscles bulge through a tight white t-shirt that subtly defines his silhouette. The positioning of his arms, hands, legs, and even the way his head is directed right at the camera, implies that there is more to this advertisement than the two words stamped across his chest...Calvin Klein.Advertising today is very strategic and precise. As societal norms evolve over time, advertising seems to be the driving force defining what is acceptable. By using articles by Tom Reichert, Douglas Rushkoff, and the duo of William L. James and Arthur J. Kover, it is clear as to what is socially acceptable today and how advertising has impacted culture. Today's advertising shapes our culture by defining what is deemed socially acceptable because provocative advertisements are more prevalent in today's culture, advertising companies use new strategic tactics such as psychological targeting, and persuading audiences to enjoy the advertising system.Provocative advertisements are more prevalent in today's culture because advertising agencies have strategically pushed social boundaries over time. The Calvin Klein advertisement previously described would not have been displayed in magazines twenty years ago, but as social boundaries have been pushed over time, this advertising trend has become popular in today's culture. Reichert's The Erotic History of Advertising depicts advertising strategies and chronologically orders them to exemplify how social boundaries have been pushed over time. Today, advertising manufactures images that are not supposed to provide information about the product, but promote a specific type of lifestyle. The idea that, "Lifestyle marketing appeals to those who aspire to be more than they are." (Reichert, 232) further shows that advertising is strategically focusing on people's insecurities. The advertising, "appeals to those who desire to look like the models." (Reichert, 232) and therefore pushed the boundaries further by selling a lifestyle. When applying this to the Calvin Klein advertisement of today, it is easy to see that the social boundaries have been pushed even further. It can be assumed that this is an ad for underwear, but the real motive of the ad is to make people associate the words "Calvin Klein" with an attractive young man. The man in the ad has a chiseled jawbone, an extremely physically fit body, and his tight underwear that provides society with more than enough information about his anatomical state. This advertisement depicts the evolution of what is considered socially acceptable in the year 2005 by selling lifestyles, which is indirectly shaping modern culture.The tactics that advertising companies use today, such as strategically targeting audience's psychologically, are yet another way culture is evolving. As different advertising techniques are born, so is a new ploy to reach audiences on a different level. Douglas Rushkoff's Coercion depicts these strategies by pointing out, "In...

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