Tuesday, October 7, 2008

04) Decoding/Deconstructing Advertising.

When i think about advertising in today's society, one of the first things that come to my mind are the Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister ads and using sexuality to sell their products and brands. I know most people have written this blog about Abercrombie or Hollister or some other main brand but i feel strongly about the kind of messages that are being advertised to our younger generations.

Don't get me wrong, i think their tactic is clever. When i see one of their ads i automatically think "BUY OUR CLOTHING and you can look like these BEAUTIFUL, ALL-AMERICAN people, with AMAZING BODIES and AMAZING LIVES etc" In my opinion, using beautiful, half naked people with toned, muscular bodies posed in either almost sexual or sexual poses isn't the most tasteful, or the most positive tactic. Clearly these big budget corporations don't exactly care if the message is positive, as long its positively bringing in money. I don't blame them, everyone has to make a living somehow.

But what confuses me is why half the time when they're advertising for example, mens clothing, the male model's head is cut off. All that is seen is the abdomen, 'BUY THESE JEANS, GET THESE ABS.' If that doesn't get the idea of sexuality across then i don't know what would. Although companies like Abercrombie and Hollister have been critisized for sexual advertising, their clothing is fairly casual. Comfy jeans, khaki shorts, sweaters, tank tops and t-shirts, polo shirts all bearing their logos. All quite ironic wouldn't you think?

This advertising can be taken in a few ways, one of them which i've already mentioned; creating a negative image for younger generations who feel inadequate as themselves thus giving in to paying ridiculous prices in order to try and achieve the same look as the models featured. Or the advertising can be taken in the sense that these creators are comfortable with their sexuality and why not celebrate it while advertising our clothing. When you stop and think our society is not only bombarded with ridiculous amounts of advertising, but most people in society are also very uncomfortable with nudity and sexuality, anything taboo really. Maybe Abercrombie and Hollister are only thinking outside of the box- being daring in making these choices? Or the ads can be looked at in the sense of a very well taken photograph with amazing post-editing etc.

It all depends on the person who's looking at it, and whether or not they have the ability to see past just the photo or 30 second commercial and look at the deeper meaning behind it. So next time your flipping through a magazine, stop and actually think about the advertisement that's trying to get your attention to buy their product. What the message from one ad may mean to one person, may mean something completely different to you.


Abercrombie & Fitch traces all the way back to 1892 in New York City. David Abercrombie & Ezra Fitch were dedicated to selling only the highest quality CAMPING, FISHING and HUNTING GEAR. Distinguished clientele included Theodore Roosevelt, Admiral Robert Peary, Ernest Hemingway, the Duke of Windsor, Sir Ernest Shackleton, Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy.

The Abercrombie and Fitch catalogues are so shocking (in advertising) it has felt it necessary to put them in sealed plastic covers, much like top shelf magazines, to protect the eyes of the innocent.

Advertising is considered a greater revenue for publishers in magazines, accounting for overall 50% of industry revenue. In a typical magazine, advertisements make up 50% of it. Thats half of the paper in the magazine.

Works Cited:

"Sex and Shock' Chain Abercrombie and Fitch Entering UK." 20 March 2007.
China Daily. 5 October 2008.

"Industry Overview: Magazine Publishers." March 2004. Hoover's Inc. 5 October 2008

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