«Selling the Palette or the Nudes and Nudity?» - Free Essay Paper
Advertising has become an active participant of the cultural life, shaping and reflecting the society’s culture. While selling a product to a target market, advertisers also influence their audience and the markets through other elements in addition to the product they sell. Advertising communicates with target market or audience more than just by means of products’ features, advantage or importance, but also by means of other unintended messages. Moreover, the intended message at times necessitates the selling of less lucrative ideas, which contribute to the erosion of moral and social norms. The ad for the Nudes Palette provokes not just the desire to buy the eyeshadow but also impacts the audience in different ways. The ad targets ladies, mostly young outgoing ladies, creating the illusion that the product would make heroes out of them, make them admirable and appreciated in the competitive partying world through the use of graphics, and language, selling falsehood to the young women, and glorifying rebellion or nonconformity.
The Maybelline nudes palette ad presents clear communicative graphics. First, the ad shows a large image of Adriana Lima, a celebrity model, who is the role model for many young women. The picture takes half of the graphics size, thus being the focus of the ad. Further, the ad shows the product outside the eyeshadow casing in less focus and with the casing in sharp focus equally to Adriana’s image. The ad’s frame is made of real colors, ranging from chocolate brown to black. The top right corner is black allowing Adriana’s forehead and eyes to be sharply focused on, which underscores the intended use of the product. The rest of the colors used are mostly dark as well. Thus, the ad has just a few other colors, such as white, at the bottom. Adriana’s face picture, which is the largest in the ad, not only calls to the target audience attention but also communicates much more than even the wording on the ad. The portrayal of the product intends to show its superior quality, to ensure the audience understands what the advertisers are selling to them.
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Similarly to the graphics, the language of the ad communicates extensively to the audience. The Nudes Palette ad employs hip language, using interrogative fragments, as well as sentences. The fragments seek to create quick impressions on the audience, while the sentences seek to provoke the audience to fantasize and dream about the product. The ad’s text is very short making it emotionally appealing. The text does not seek to appeal to the audience’s logic, but their emotional perception. The ad also extensively employs figurative language. For example, at the bottom, the ad reads “Make it happen”. This double-entendre suggests that using the product would make it happen. The word ‘it’ in that phrase is a doublespeak. It suggests something not quantifiable. It can stand for anything and nothing at the same time, and these are the people who determine what that ‘it’ actually means for them. However, the ad does not say what exactly it would make happen. As Lutz says “…meaningless verb used to make you think that this product really does something, and maybe something special or unique.”(130). At the same time, the word “make” in the ad suggests that the Blushed Nudes Palette is capable of changing something or is calling for some action, even though the verb is devoid of meaning, by itself. Further, the ad claims “when I dare to go nude, it’ll make you blush”. This double-entendre also fails to make any objective claim. In fact, as Lutz says, the ad is only saying that the product offered is just like all other eyeshadow brands. In essence, when someone is going nude, he/she will definitely make someone blush, while some people may not be confused by what they see. The same situation is with the product. The ‘I’ and ‘you’ words in the phrase make the claim very subjective, underscoring the strict adherence to the individuals, going nude and blushing. Most notably, the word blushed in the title of the product “the blushed palette” is a weasel word. What does ‘blushed’ really mean? The word only creates the impression of improvements or changes in the product, what Lutz calls “a material functional change” (Lutz 128). The word only serves to warrant a new advertising campaign, but it does not mean anything or claim anything about the product, apart from that the product has undergone some changes; not necessarily in its functionality. The language used in the ad has numerous effects on the audience, as discussed below.
The ad targets young ladies even considering that old ladies also wear makeup. However, the older population is not the target audience of this ad. First, young ladies admire models and aspire to be like them. Therefore, the image of Adriana Lima in the ad intends to attract young ladies. As Kilbourne states “today little girls constantly rate supermodels high on the list of heroes…” (91) Adriana’s facial picture and the declaration “Adriana is wearing The Blushed Nudes Palette” hassle the young ladies. Every young lady aspires to be like model, so if the models wear this makeup, then maybe wearing the makeup will make them like models. The claim or promise that the product would make the audience like models is further compounded by the phrase, “make it happen”. Therefore, the product seems to be promising the audience what they seek most. Lutz states that “You read these claims into the ad aided by the visual images the advertisers so carefully provides.” (133). The ad does not promise any resemblance to the model, but the wording and the graphics, make the audience read that meaning in the ad. The ad appeared in a magazine in 2015 and it is perfectly tailored for the young generation, as the main audience.
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The young ladies have outgoing lifestyles, seeking to be attractive and impressive. Moreover, their age presupposes that they are at a stage of inner rebellion and nonconformity to the generally accepted rules and norms. Therefore, the language prompting them to rebel or go against what is seen as socially acceptable behavior is appealing. For example, the ad states “show us how you #daretogonude.” Overlooking the grammatical error in the statement, the language inspires the young people to make a move. The ad does not tell them to go nude, but it suggests that going nude is some heroic act or sensation, which they should not miss. It also states, “all blushed, not hushed dare to go nude”. This statement further pushes young people to respond to the pressure and do what others individuals from their circles are doing. The ad appeals to the emotions and psychology of the young people, which is unstable and widely dependent on peers and group mentality. By making it seem as if all others are going nude, the ad influences the young girls also to go nude, wearing this makeup, and be like the rest, hence contributing to the culture. Although the ad reflects the society’s appreciation of beauty, it also actively shapes that culture through influencing the young people’s conduct. As Kilbourne argues, “in most cultures, adolescent have had to deal with social hypocrisy, and even with institutionalized ling” (95), the audience learns to cope with fake promises. Further, the impression that the product would transform the ladies and make them admirable, or look like Adriana, is a falsehood. The product cannot deliver this, and it does not claim to do it, but it makes necessary impression on the target audience. Hence, apart from selling the product, the ad is selling mannerisms, as well as mendacity to the growing minds.
In conclusion, although the ad seeks to promote The Blushed Nudes Palette product, it goes a step further by influencing the mannerism of the audience and the society’s culture in the long-run. The use of graphics, such as the picture of celebrities, and the use of figurative language, coerces the audience into reading meanings in the ad, which are not presented directly. Therefore, the ad creates the impression of a promise of claim, which it does not literally make, and perform. The failure of the product to deliver on the alluded claim exposes the young audience to institutionalized lying influencing their lives as adults. Moreover, the invitation to dare go nude prompts the young minds to act against social norms, promoting rebellion and calling to alter the society’s culture. Thus, while advertising is a reflection of the society, it is also an active contributor to the same culture, which helps sell the products, ideas, and mannerisms to the target audience.