Wednesday, December 06, 2006

More Fun With Advertising

I finally got the rough draft of my research paper back from my Mass Comm professor last night. Hooray! Now I can spruce it up a bit and get me an "A".

We had to choose a topic having to do with the media and write a five page paper discussing it with findings from research done in books, journals, interviews and the like. I chose to write my paper on the effects of advertising on body image. Not terribly original, but it's something I'm interested in and I thought it would be fairly easy to come up with five pages. I now have a twelve page paper that covers body image issues as well as gender roles for both men and women. (sigh) I can never do anything the easy way.

While I was researching ad images I came across some very cool pieces. Rather than share with you the worst of the worst (and there are some doosies) I wanted to show you some ads that I thought were constructive.

The first one is an ad campaign that was run in Portugal. You have to look at it for a second, but the hands that are silencing the women belong to men. They also had one of a young boy with a man's hand over his mouth and one of an elderly man with a younger mans large hand. So they were targeting child abuse, elder abuse and violence against women. Nice.

This one is from India. It's an ad campaign created by a group called The Sisterhood Collective to address the problem of dowry in arranged marriages there. Apparently, women are often beaten, abused and murdered due to issues with the dowry. Yeah, "accidental kitchen deaths" my ass.

"What began as gifts of land to a woman as her inheritance in an essentially agricultural economy today has degenerated into gifts of gold, clothes, consumer dur-ables, and large sums of cash, which has sometimes entailed the impoverishment and heavy indebtedness of poor families. The dowry is often used by the receiving family for business purposes, family members' education, or the dowry to be given for the husband's sisters. The transaction of dowry often does not end with the actual wedding ceremony, as the family is expected to continue to give gifts. It was only in the middle of the 1970s that the women's movement and other human rights groups exposed the perniciousness of the system in India, when it was realized that there were an increased number of "accidental kitchen deaths" of young married women. The first reports to the police were often registered as suicides or accidents. The available statistics of dowry death are chilling and disturbing. "

This one reads; "Violence against women. Do nothing and you might as well lend a hand."

I thought the collage approach was very effective on this one. All the hands reaching out at the viewer make the image even more confrontational and intimidating. You get a real visceral reaction from this piece.

Here is yet another line of Dove ads. I've talked about my concerns with Dove and Unilever before but I do like these ads. I especially like the "Grey or Gorgeous?" one and the "wrinkled or Wonderful?" one. I think the older women look amazing.

And finally, here is a rare underwear ad that does not feature a leggy model with fake boobs.

'nuff said. :)


Marz said...

Great post. In fact, it helps me compose my paper on imagined alternative images for my Women and media class. We will have to talk later about all this. I would love to read your paper.

trac said...

Whoosh! Those first images of the women being silenced by men's hands is very powerful and disturbing. I knew that dowries in India were problems at one point but I didn't know the practice continued. Your posts are so very informative and always give me food for thought. Thanks!

Ms. S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ms. S said...

I love that you share your research with us. Bravo!

bazu said...

Wow, other than the Dove ads, this was my first time seeing some of these international ones and they are so thought-provoking.
Your paper sounds interesting, so instead of looking at fashion spreads you are looking at ads that implicitly critique the negative body images (and worse, like abuse, institutionalized abuse like dowries, etc.) that contemporary culture propagates. It sounds like you're taking the debate in a new direction- I love it!

Good luck finishing up!

Vivacious Vegan said...

This is so fascinating (but then again, all of your posts usually are). I especially liked the Portugal campaign and the collage against violence against women. They are very disturbing but that's what it takes sometimes to make people stop and think.

Gaia said...

Wonderful adds !

I was having a discussion with a friend a couple of weeks ago and she said that she wishes that all commercials were banned.
And I though that some commercials/ads can really be powerful and make you think, even make you change for the better.

Those are perfect examples :)
I love everyone of those and the "Do nothing and you might as well lend a hand" is so very powerful !
Thanks Meesh !

Lora_3 said...

Those first two pictures really bother me. They are good!

Be safe...

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