Everyday consumers are exposed to the Medias ideology of what is considered beautiful. In magazines we see attractive, happy people, with air-brushed perfect, flawless, bodies posing to sell a particular item or idea. Who is the media to say what constitutes as beauty and an attractive person? Why are certain attributes associated with attractiveness, beauty, likability and social skills? We are force feed images and told what beauty is and have thus formed our own ideas and opinions. However, are those ideas and opinion really ours or were we constructed by media to think and feel a particular way without even realizing it? It is important to examine messages rhetoric purpose and not be persuaded by the wrong messages. If not, consumers’ thoughts, actions, beliefs and feelings will be easily influenced.
Absolut Vodka, a leading brand of premium vodka sold in 176 countries, constructed advertisements as part of its “In an Absolut World” 2007 campaign with images of situations that the target audience would think constitute a perfect or “Absolut” reality. Absolut Vodka marketing (2011) stated the target market is men and women ages 25-45 who want to succeed in their life both personally and professionally. The brand equity is associated with fun, joy, self-esteem and social approval. In 2007, they crafted an advertisement called “the perfect man” which featured in Greek Elle magazine (admin, 2007). According to Elle magazine media kit (2014), the audience is women between the ages of 18-49. Their goal is to inspire women in all aspects of their lives and encouraging readers to cultivate not just personal style, but the success that comes with personal power. The advertisement, “a perfect man” is an image of a woman sitting on a rug, holding a manikin arm that has red flowers in its hand. The woman has adorned herself in a red necklace, shoes, belt, bracelet and is not wearing a wedding ring. There is a box next to her with the words, “The Perfect Man” written on the front. In the box are legs of the manikin wearing black dress pants and shoes. On the floor next to the woman is a male head wearing glasses and showing white teeth. An arm of the manikin on the floor has a black tattoo and is holding a guitar. The torso of the manikin is hairless and has a six-pack. The woman is looking at a white piece of paper with a puzzled look on her face.
An important rhetorical scholar Cicero, divided rhetoric into five major categories called “canons of rhetoric” (Stoner & Perkins, 2005). These categories describe the elements of rhetoric and give guide lines for patterns of discourse. One of those categories is style. “Style is developed through nonverbal devices as well as through language,” (Stoner & Perkins, 2005, p.141). “The perfect man” advertisement uses nonverbal language to create a persuasive style using visual imagery and personification. “Visual imagery creates the tone or feelings of the message and personification gives abstract or inanimate object human qualities or abilities” (Stoner & Perkins, 2005, p. 143).
The eyes of viewers are captivated when they see an image of a women sitting on the floor with manikin parts next to her and in a box. Viewers are forced to assume the mannequin parts are that of a man since the box has the words “the perfect man” written on the front in black and red ink. The advertisement illustrates the woman attempting to put together a self-explanatory mannequin with each body part being personified and representing a particular characteristic of the perfect man she is looking for. Since she is not wearing a wedding ring, we know she is a single young woman. Red symbolizes passionate love, seduction and romance (Tracy & Beall, 2014, pg.4), and the mannequin arm holding red roses is suggesting that he is romantic. The other hand of the mannequin is holding a guitar. According to a study published in Psychology of Music in July 2014, a woman is more likely to give her number to a guy...
References: Absolut 100 - Super Premium Vodka. (n.d.). Absolut Vodka Marketing. Retrieved August 3, 2014, from http://www.absolut.com/en/products/absolut-100/
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admin. (n.d.). ABSOLUT VODKA ADS l AbsolutAds.com. ABSOLUT VODKA ADS l AbsolutAdscom RSS. Retrieved August 3, 2014, from http://www.absolutads.com/?p=782
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