Category Archives: Advertising

“A vast number of commercial messages use images and representations of men and women as central, strategic components to capture attention and persuade (Gamble, 2003)(p.352).”

Ashton Kutcher recently became a celebrity spokesman for Nikon cameras. Since then, the commercials have featured Kutcher with a bunch of beautiful women, using the camera as a flirting tool, essentially. In this particular ad, Kutcher is hanging out at the “chateau” with a bunch of women who are playing with his camera while “he doesn’t know”, when he really does know. They steal his camera and past it around, everyone taking “Facebook” style pictures with the Nikon Coolpix.

What I like about these commercials, though, it that they are aimed for both men and women–even though they may re-enforce some traditional gender-role expectations. Women want the camera because it’s cute like Ashton Kutcher and men want the camera to get all the girls, like Ashton Kutcher. In this commercial, he is featured as perhaps a young bachelor who’s payroll isn’t hurting him (with the chateau and all) who is also very smooth and an overall nice guy. You just want him to be your best friend. This enforces the gender stereotype that men should be successful. The women featured are mostly young, beautiful women (enhancing the stereotype that women should be those things) but an older woman is also featured in the commercials, too. This also breaks traditional stereotypes because the commercials include someone who wouldn’t normally try to portray their product as trendy by featuring an older woman. Yes, the commercials show the women as possibly being dependent on the wealthy young guy, but they more so show young women hanging out with a cute guy. I don’t really feel as if there’s an alternative motive with those girls–the commercial kind of makes it feel as if anyone could be them, stealing the camera, because we’ve all done those “Facebook” shots at some point.

Nikon. (2008). Ashton Kutcher featuring Bounce With Me. Television commercial.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Advertisements

“Men are presented as desirable not because of their personal qualities, but because of their bodies (Gamble, 2003)(p.354).”

While finding a YouTube video for another post, I ran across this video that was taken on out very own campus in Santoro Hall. It’s an absolutely interesting insight of what goes on behind the closed doors of an adolescent teenage boy. In the video, this college freshman (Santoro is a freshmen residence hall) stands in front of his mirror and goes on and on about how “jacked” he is getting. He’s absolutely thrilled that his work outs are paying off. He even goes as far as to lift his shirt to view his stomach area and tries to get his roommate to put the camera down–but trusts him when the roommate says he “won’t”.

This shows the other side of how media and gender communication can effect people. Here, the boy is obviously proud of his tough, “jacked” body because he’s been influenced by the media and through various other sources. He’s absorbed the idea that men should be masculine, tough, and muscular (according to some new stereotypes about looks regarding men) (Gamble, 2003). It’s funny, but at the same time, it’s interesting to see a candid shot of someone behind closed doors. You could almost say that “Mr. Jacked” has a personal relationship with his roommate in the sense that he feel comfortable behaving this way without feeling insecure.

College roommate CNU. (2008). posted by sweepersnake. YouTube.com. See link above.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

“Advertising becomes our passport to the imagined transformations of our maleness and our femaleness that lie at the end of a purchase (Gamble, 2003)”.

Kors Ad 1

Here are two examples of some advertisements that I pulled out of a magazine. They are both for fashion designer Michael Kors, who designs women’s clothing. The first depicts three figures: two men and one woman. One man stands at the helm of the sail boat they’re presumably on and the other, in scuba gear, has his hand on the waist of the woman as he points out into the distance–seemingly explaining directions. The woman looks over her shoulder, with one arm around the neck of the scuba man, searching for whatever the man is trying to explain to her. The second advertisement shows two figures: one man and one woman. He patiently waits with his hand on the Vespa as she searches for something lost in her big bag. These advertisements, I feel, are both empowering to women and negative towards men.

The first advertisement breaks traditional gender stereotypes by portraying a woman in charge (Gamble, 2003). This is why: she is obviously the one who is, perhaps, employing the men in her company (one to sail the boat and the other to teach her how to scuba dive). We can tell she’s been scuba diving because her hair is wet and (seemingly) has just a tint of make-up on. The scuba instructor is merely her plaything, it’s not a serious relationship. The sailor is clearly in uniform and she is clearly wealthy: she carries a patent clutch onto a sailboat and has time to change into this fabulous outfit before her instructor even finishes with his scuba gear. In the second ad, the same woman is featured with her sailor–who’s shirt is off! That’s a bit unprofessional. These men featured in the advertisements are her “lovers” or “affairs”. This woman is wealthy, carefree, untroubled, and fashionable. What more could a girl ask for? The men, however, are objectified as another accessory that can be changed just as easily as she can change her outfits. So, this is empowering to women in the sense that is shows her with the upper hand–more money and more power. These ads also objectify men as another easily changeable accessory. Kors is trying to portray his product as the very same things he’s embodying in this woman in order to appeal to women who desire these things. These advertisements break every single advertising stereotype of women in the book (Gamble, 2003), even though it focuses on the woman looking good and fashionable; she can be fashionable, powerful, wealthy, and in charge, paving the way for whatever she wants in life.

Kors Ad 2

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Kors, M. (2008, December). InStyle. Advertisement.

Kors, M. (2009, January). Vogue. Advertisement.

“Where did your views of masculinity and femininity come from?”


These photographs came from a fashion photo shoot entitled “supermom” featured in the January 2009 issue of Vogue magazine.  The spread includes three characters: One Superman, one daughter, and the ever-so-fashionable mother. It’s a fashion shoot, so the mother’s clothes are always stylish, and Superman stays the same: strong, masculine. In one photo, Superman and the daughter begin to lift a classic convertible as the “supermom” sits on the other end of the car, with no worries. There’s also another scene where Superman is talking to some surfers and supermom is preoccupying their daughter by playing pattycake.  In the scene above, the supermom is leaning on her Superman as he pretends to look strong and lift the little girl in the air.

These scenes most certainly play into the gender stereotypes of women and men. The woman is constantly dressed well and always looks beautiful, whereas the man is always shown as the consistently masculine one in charge, through more stereotypical means. What’s also interesting is that the spread is featured in a woman’s magazine and displays a woman as an accessory almost, who must be the perffect, beautiful mother and wife to the perfect, handsome bread-winning husband. The audience is certainly influenced from the gender perspective by the way they’ve chosen to represent this ideal, fashionable family (Gamble 2003). Magazines and photo spreads like this one greatly contribute to the gender stereotypes that influence society (Gamble 2003). The particular style of the shoot can be attributed to the original era of the original Superman—which is evident in the clothes. Or, it can be seen as a modern interpretation of the way upper-class mothers should behave–showing how the times are changing (along with gender stereotypes placed on society) (Gamble 2003). When it comes to the daughter in the shoot, she is often shown in similar clothing as her mother, or perhaps stereotypically wearing her mother’s shoes or she is scene trying to be “daddy’s little girl”. Either or, you get both a modern perspective on parenting—in the sense that the little girl can do both things—and the traditional perspective on living as a family—where the man is the provider and the woman is there to look beautiful and to take care of the children.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Testino, M. (2009, January). “supermom”. Vogue, pp. 108-119.