Sex Sells

Tyler Lockley Polina Chemishanova English 1050 September 15, 2010 “Sex Sells” Sex sells; by now we all should know that. But with a lot of these new advertisements, companies are having a hard time with choosing where to draw that sexy line. Advertisements typically want to target a set group of people, otherwise known as their audience. Their audience ranges from ages 16-50 years old and in age, to race, to sex, to social class. All these aspects come in to play when you are analyzing an advertisement. The ad, which is featured to the right, has been viewed by women’s rights groups as “fantasy rape”.

The ad depicts a woman in a inclined position being held down by a muscular shirt less man while a group of other men look on. While D&G ( Dolce & Gabbana) are known for their racy ad campaigns, many women’s rights leaders such as Kim Gandy, President of the National Organizations for Women, think this photo has gone too far and that it promotes violence against women. An effective ad must strike the audience’s attention, keep their attention, and somehow manage to positively affect that audience’s viewpoint on their advertisement.

Although D&G advertisement employs the appeals of ethos and pathos effectively through a strong credibility and appealing to a sexual fantasy, the image conveyed a message of male dominance and the submissiveness of women. So ask yourself. Does sex really sell? In the advertisement by D&G the company appeals to ethos very well. D&G is able to Also with their huge fan base which includes stars like Audrina Patridge, Lauren Conrad, and Whitney Port stars from “The Hills” a hit MTV Network television show.

By D&G being able to outsource their clothes to these stars; fans of those stars are drawn to D&G because of what their favorite celebrities are wearing. Imagine just from these three customers they are able to reach many more customers. Fans see these stars wearing D&G it pushes them to go out and get it as well. This advertisement is like any other I have ever seen. Its ability to appeal to an emotion of “fantasy rape” is something I may not agree with shows but can admit the advertisement is truly effective. It shows that D&G believes in what they believe.

Which is? Sex does in fact sell. When you think about your emotions and what drives you, what comes to mind? Is it family or Friends? Could it be sports? Truth is we all see advertisements that appeal to our emotions every day, whether it is a McDonald’s commercial or a sexy D&G commercial. Certain commercial attack certain emotions in us. As we take a closer look at the advertisement we notice it catches our eye almost instantaneously. The advertisement depicts a scene of rape. There is a group of men surrounding one woman, who is being pinned to the ground by her wrists.

The men, who are all seeming to start getting undressed, stand around staring at this woman pinned to the platform, while the woman seems to be in great peril, her face is passive and seems to be a sign of her giving in to the man’s power. Most of D&G advertisements give a visual representation of what social class of people they want their advertisement to affect, in this case white and attractive people. What is the effect of beauty in this ad? Is it trying to say that if you’re a pretty woman you have a hope of being gang bang raped by a troop of attractive males with gorgeous bodies?

If you are a male, are you supposed to be a part of activities such as this when you are poolside with a gorgeous woman? This ad is reinforcing the many gender stereotypes. These include the dominance of men, submissiveness of women, heterosexuality, and it also touches the beauty ideals of each gender. Pathos is one of the strongest appeals by far. The use of many gender stereotypes and sexual fantasies creates an effective appeal to their audience. It’s abilities to reach those sensitive parts causes your ideas and thought processes to be wrapped around this image of sexual fantasy.

The use of this appeal in the advertisement is vivid. Our arousal is what D&G is looking for. If they can gain that, they gain a new customer thus eventually spreading their audience. There’s no such thing as bad publicity. What in today’s world is too risky? Controversy sells just as well as sex does. All over the world countries are banning this ad saying it condones and glamorizes rape and sexual violence. International Amnesty (a human rights organization) has asked that these ads in Italy be withdrawn, considering the ads “a praise of the violence toward the woman”.

The release of D&G advertisement couldn’t have aired at any worse moment than what it did. During the time the advertisement aired in Spain the Spanish Nation was dealing with waves of killings and disappearances of more than over 800 women in 2004 alone. “The right of the woman to live free of the nightmare of the violence needs all less than those images of Dolce & Gabbana”, stated the President of Amnesty International (Kim Gandy). From D&G perspective they are happy that they have found an audience and are reassured that the audience will remember this advertisement. After all is there really any such thing as bad publicity?

Taking a stand from a logos point of view or “logical” then the advertisement was unsuccessful. By presenting the audience with a socially unacceptable image their logical appeal ceases to effective project their advertisement. Being unable to appeal to all three emotions which are pathos, ethos, and logos creates a barrier that limits the advertiser to a smaller audience thus leading to lower profit margin. In conclusion, we are brought to see the effects and propaganda in which advertisements are presented to us every day. The D&G advertisement is just one of many that uses this certain technique.

Their appeals to pathos and ethos are used effectively to convey their message in this advertisement. Their message being that, by wearing that D&G shirt or shorts you are transformed into a realm of pleasure and sexual fantasy. The risks taken by this company in the advertisement could completely ruin their image. But as stated earlier, “is there any bad publicity. ” Overall this advertisement was very successful. It is something that I’ve seen hundreds of times. The image is one that will bury its place in your head and you’ll always remember. So now do you see? Sex does sell.

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