Marketing Illusions

Were you aware that the average modern person is exposed to more than 3,000 advertisements per day? Anywhere the eye can see, it is likely to see an ad. Advertisements are known to be some of the most powerful, influential, and manipulating techniques that companies use to control consumers all around the world. Large advertising companies are continually evolving with the use of demographics with an emphasis on age, gender, and class status of the consumer. In the book, Signs of Life, authors Aaron Devor and Steve Craig examine the expectations and behaviors of each gender in society. In Aaron Devor's essay, "Gender Role and Behavior and Attitudes" Devor discusses gender roles along with the ideological structure in our society. In Steve Craig's essay "Men's Men and Women's Women" he analyzes four categories of advertising that are significantly used in marketing. This Nivea advertisement places reliance on patriarchal beliefs with the aim of selling active3, "the first 3 and 1 shower gel". With the use of succinct text, gender roles, and ambiance. Nivea makes assumptions about gender that grants male authority, whereas females are indicated as sex objects that live to satisfy male fantasies.

Companies spend billions of dollars every year on developing marketing strategies and structuring the way a person will view their ads. These schemes are targeted towards male or female creating cultural expectations for society to follow. In this ad from Nivea, a company that specializes in body-care and skin products, sells the perfect shower, shampoo, and shave gel for men. Nivea's marketing strategies use the influence of sex appeal and male fantasies to promote the product to the male gender. The layout of this advertisement successfully conveys masculinity with a well-defined looking man and women as the main focus of the ad. The man exhibits that he has attained power and dominance through achievement of a woman unquestionably devoted him. The backdrop gives off a dark, rich, navy blue color type scheme, commonly associated with successful men. Of course, the dim theme does not take light away from the two models alternately placed under a bright light, thus enlightening them as the center of the ad. The ambiance reflects how the reader might picture himself as the masculine and dominant correspondent to the man in the ad. Nivea's marketing strategies use the influence of sex appeal to promote the product to middle age men that are always on the go and need a quick, easy product to use.

Nievas advertising schemes use the power of male sexualized fantasies through the utilization of male and female gender roles. Steve Craig explains this strategy in his essay "Men's Men and Women's Women." Craig claims that "There are almost always hints of sexual ability in mens womens" (187). Men's women's ads portray the ideal standards of what attractive women look like to men and what the man can become if he has that product. In this case, the woman in Nivea advertisement is unclothed shaving the male model's chest with the use of the active3 gel. This is emotionally appealing to men for their sexual attraction towards women while a man can feel good about his physical sex appeal. The purposeful showcase of nude models and masculine ambiance effectively captures the attention of men. Craig adds that "Males know that the idea of anonymous women lusting after them, eager for sex without commitment, is fantasy. But for many men it is pleasurable fantasy" (188). In other words, men know that the concept of random women wishing for sex without dedication is quite rare, yet is a man's greatest fantasy. Nivea's use of the two models illustrates more about the product by providing a visual manifestation of what active3 gel is capable of and the type of person who would use it. The male model exudes confidence with a grin that has a prevailing characteristic to it while a beautiful female drapes over him as if she is craving intimacy. Women are "frequently displayed as admirers, generally approving of some aspect of product use." (187). In the ad, the female expresses sexual interest in the man with her sensual body language and a playful grin furthermore approving the product. Craig goes on to state that "The man's women continue to be portrayed according to the rules of the patriarchy" (188). The woman gender and general ideas that come along with being a woman will remain the same following the system of society, thus, continuing to fulfill men's sexual fantasies.

The text in this Nivea ad implements the idea "patriarchal gender schema" in order to sell active3, shower, shampoo, and shave gel. Aaron Devor explains the schema in his article "Gender Role Behaviors and Attitudes." Devor says that the "ideology underlying the schema postulates the cultural superiority of males is a natural outgrowth of a predisposition of males towards aggression and dominance"(673). What Devor is mentioning is that beliefs hidden in the patriarchal gender schema propose that males have risen to the superior gender due to the vulnerability of aggressive and dominant behavior. Devor additionally says that it is not only body postures and styles of dress that support the conjecture of dominance for males, yet the "masculine speech patterns display a tendency towards expansiveness similar to that found in masculine body postures" (676). In this case, Nivea deliberately used aggressive text forms to illustrate the dominance of the male gender and demonstrates American cultural ideologies. The catchphrase on the bottom left of the model reads "What Men Want." This brief yet bold proclamation exemplifies the stereotype that men have little to no care about having a ton of products as to not appear feminine. With this product, men can save time on getting ready, feel masculine, and have more confidence. The phrase also implicit messages that are emotionally appealing to the male consumer that they will get what they want, in this case, it is a sexual appeal towards women. Devor, furthermore explains that "gender roles are the result of systematic power imbalances based on gender discrimination." (677). With the use of the text "Girl Not Included" on the middle left of the ad, illustrates the power imbalances on gender discrimination. The women are seen merely as a sexual object. The active3 shower, shampoo, and shave gel does not come with the extra prop, in which case is the girl. However, with just the use of this product, one will not only gain access to attractive women, but it will also subjugate her to his service.

Nivea, alongside numerous other companies, utilize sexual appeal to lure in middle-aged men. The ads akin to this fall under "Men's Women" description, told by Steve Craig. These ads are subjective to using the good looks of both women and men to fulfill male fantasies. This strategy convinces men that the purchase of active3 gel will give him the confidence and authority he needs to attract beautiful women as seen in the ad. This Nivea ad embodies patriarchal beliefs upon gender roles in the aim of selling "the first 3 and 1 shower gel". These ads influence men and women all throughout the world. Men are manipulated into thinking products like active3 will put them on a pedestal while women are seen as mere sex objects.


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