Tala El Hallak
American University of Beirut
Professor Jad Melki
Media interferes in our daily lives almost all the time. Unfortunately people became like robots and are manipulated. Most of the advertisements are fake but yet they attract people, therefore promoters achieve their goals. Advertisers have found various techniques in order to magnetize people towards their products such as attractive ladies or sturdy men. Media has created a sort of norm that nowadays everyone follows. One of the most apparent is the fact that all ladies are represented with skinny bodies, exposed breast, and most of them have had plastic surgeries. This encourages young ladies to lose weight, to have plastic surgery done and a lot of other things. If the world wasn’t based on media, everyone would get to know himself better, to gain confidence, to develop their minds by reading or doing anything else but consuming and swallowing whatever media throws at them.
This assignment will show you how different types of ads are represented and in what way they affect people.
Nowadays media plays a big role in our society. Little by little, people are consuming more therefore there’s a higher concentration on ads whether they’re in magazines or on the billboards. People are quite naïve and believe everything they are told. Therefore we can say that media controls in a way its viewers and their choices and this will be apparent by analyzing three different ads. First of all I’ll be talking about an ad that shows only women, second of all about one that shows a man and a woman and the last one will show only men. Each one will be interpreted differently based on its content. They all have different impacts on the viewers depending as well on the people targeted and their cultural backgrounds.
This first Louis Vuitton ad was extracted from the Arabic magazine Sama published in November 2010. First of all the item being advertised here is a bag. It is known that Louis Vuitton is a universal brand and targets upper class people. This ad contains three ladies who seem to be backstage or in a fashion show. All three of them are white skinny ladies but with different hair color which means that Louis Vuitton doesn’t target just a group of ladies but generally upper class people.
Two of them are looking at themselves in the mirrors. This shows how ladies care so much about their physical appearance. This ad points out as well how pointless women have become in our society. All they care about is their external beauty rather than their inner beauty. This is how media represents ladies nowadays. Women lost their real value.
The fact that one of the ladies has her mouth slightly open gives a seductive and provocative aspect to the advertisement. Moreover the lady with the red hair has her breast quite exposed in order to grab attention. Like the former president of Canada’s Media action Media says: “women’s bodies are sexualized in ads in order to grab the viewer’s attention.”
Ladies looking into a mirror may in a way show how confident they are concerning their beauty and outer looks. Psychoanalyst Susie Orbach says: “the way we view our bodies is the mirror of how we view ourselves: our body becomes the measure of our worth.” Unfortunately people are too attached to media and think that whatever is told to them or visible to them is true and as a matter of fact “normal”. For instance all three of them have skinny bodies and look very beautiful with a lot of make up on. This shows young ladies how they should look like in order not to be rejected by the society. The ad looks like it is focusing on the ladies more than it is on the product itself (in this case the bag). We can see this because the bag in the lady’s hand barely shows and its colors fade with the background. Sadly ladies have become some sort of objects and no longer human beings with values.
The second part will treat a Givenchy ad promoting their new perfume. It was extracted from the Arabic magazine Laha published on the third of November 2010. The ad contains two people of different genders. As we can notice, Justin Timberlake a famous artist features in this ad. One of the reasons for using someone famous in ads is to catch fans’ eyes. This ad targets rather teenagers or people in their thirties maximum.
Both of the characters look glamorous and elegant. The young lady is grabbing Justin Timberlake’s hand and is leaning on him in a way. In the ad the person doing the action is the man. Besides we can see that he is centered in the middle of the image whereas the lady is pushed away to the left. This clearly gives more power to the man. Furthermore the lady is looking straight at the public while the man is looking away. This shows in a way self confidence concerning the male gender. In most of the ads, men never look straight to the viewers. This strengthens the idea of visualizing in the future and gives a lot of power to men. The woman is to some extent seductive. The lady has no main role in the ad. She is there just to attract people and be a focus for the advertisement. Media doesn’t represent women with as much power as men. This is a common stereotype of men used in media in our society.
The setting clearly points out nightlife and I suppose that Paris is represented in the background. This choice enforces the idea of glamour and elegance. The colors of the ad are black and white except for the product that is in color. Moreover the woman’s perfume bottle is pink, a color that usually symbolizes feminism. Another detail that isn’t very noticeable at first is the fact that the word “forward” is on the man’s side whereas the word “rewind” on the woman’s side. This highlights the idea that men supposedly look further, in the future.
The third ad was extracted from the Arabic magazine Gala published in November 2010. The ad promotes the Fiordelli clothing shop. Three males are represented here: the grandfather, the father and the grandson. Power is reflected here but in a different way than the previous advertisement. Here the father gives the impression of a good father who takes care of his family and has responsibilities. One main detail that catches the eye is the fact that each one of the characters looks like he’s from a different culture. There don’t seem to be a link between them. All three of them are smiling and look quite happy. As usual, the father is looking away again to point out the idea of confidence.
The purpose of the ad is to show that all three generations wear Fiordelli and the caption “Following your path” adds strength to the idea. The dad looks like he’s the most dominant in the picture somehow because of his looks. Moreover the picture is a low angle shot which gives power to three of them and emphasizes the masculine power. In general this ad reflects a peaceful mood and the colors of nature in the background are quite relaxing.
A comparison can be made between this ad and the previous one because in each one of them men are represented differently. In one of them he is represented in a glamorous way and in a self confident way whereas in the other one he’s a father who can be related to family, responsibilities and more serious things. But in both cases men are displayed in a powerful way.
Finally, what is noticeable is that media can’t avoid stereotyping. It is obvious because all of the ads resemble each other. We always have the self confident man and the seductive woman. “Stereotypes act like codes that give audiences a quick, common understanding of a person or group of people” (Media Awareness Network, 2010). We noticed as well throughout the essay how media has turned women into sexual objects, and men are represented in a perfect way. Media highly affects people and viewers of all ages. Sadly most of the ads are false. Recently a big number of people criticize the fact that media has changed a person’s daily life and is leading the world into a society of consumption.
– Louis Vuitton. (2010, November). Sama Beirut
– Givenchy. (2010, November 3). Laha
– Fiordelli. (2010, November). Gala
– Media Awareness Network. (2010). Sex and Relationships in the Media.
Retrieved from http://www.media- awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/women_and_girls/women_sex.cfm
– Orbach Suzie. (2009, January). Big ideas, psychology. Bodies, Retrieved from
– Media Awareness Network (2010). Media Stereotyping – Introduction
Retrieved from http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/