Saturday, September 26, 2009

Beauty ads

"My secret to beautiful skin? I swallow."

This is a Singapore-based skin care pill, Imedeen. The company actually withdrew the ad after controversy over the message which was trying to promote that their pill will "nourish your skin from within." When asked if she realized that the lines had a sexual innuendo, celebrity endorser Zoe Tay replied, "The concept was by the advertising agency, and I thought it was quite novel. I’m not sure why it is so unusual. It’s about tablets, and I swallow them."

Guys might get the message faster than women, but the product is targeted towards women and the creative team was actually two females. Interesting enough, compared to other countries, the US took the most offense to the ad. The Singapore audience found it provocative but not controversial. "People often see an image differently from how it is intended to be seen" because of the environment and culture which may have been the case in this ad (Sturken and Cartwright, 46).

This takes on a "negotiated reading" because the ads has several meanings to the viewer that might not line up with what was intended (57). The ad is sending all kinds of cultural meanings that differ according to the audience. Some people who like to tan might wonder who would want a skin-lightening solution. Some people whose minds are in the gutter might do a double-take and read it closer, wondering why the creators wanted to use a sexual innuendo. Some people might just see it as an ad for a good skin care pill, which to me is the obvious purpose. Does the point of view matter? Does it affect the potential consumers of their product?

I also wanted to share an ad created by appropriation which is "'borrowing' and changing the meaning of cultural products, slogans, images, or elements of fashion" (59). This is an ad from the Argentinian Head and Shoulders hair products.
While the painting itself may not have contained a symbolic message like The Last Supper, the Mona Lisa painting is famous for being itself. Using the Leonardo da Vinci painting, Head and Shoulders shows a clean scalp as a result of using their shampoos and conditioners. This creates a more amusing ad because it could have been any other model, showing her hair line, but instead we can quickly identify the artwork.

1 comment:

  1. The ad from Singapore made me think of that photo that Glenn posted a while back, the one with the dolphins. Just like with this ad, that photo has different negotiated reading and can be interpreted many ways, just like this ad.