August 24, 2005

"Convex tummies and soft thighs serving as righteous protest."

You see them in their underpants, "grinning from every street corner," reassuring us women of America that advertisers love us just the way we are.

18 comments:

Donna B. said...

"Perhaps Nike's next ad blitz should include a chubby lady with wobbly thighs. Her arms could be raised in victory as she wheezes across the one-mile marker."

It would be the first Nike ad I'd have a chance of being in.

Eddie said...

LOL, that's too funny. I wonder what this will lead to next?

I write a political blog, but it's stricly conservative. Check it out sometime if you have a chance.

AllPoliticsAllTheTime

sbgloss said...

People can think whatever they want, but the fact that people are writing commentary and talking about the ads indicates that the ads are accomplishing their purpose.

chuck b. said...

Last night in downtown San Francisco I saw several ads like this on kiosks and small billboards featuring groups of heavy-ish and differently shaped women--none of them skinny--smiling and wearing white underwear. Although last night was the first time I'd seen them, I can't remember what the ads were selling.

And then later, I was surfing and (also can't remember where) read an article criticizing the ads because even tho' the women in them aren't anorexic and scary, they still don't look like most real women. The skin is all air-brushed and smooth so no cellulite dimples or sagging anything, "perktacular" boobs for everyone (you'd think if I googled "perktacular", the article would come right up, but no), etc.

Anyway. Advertising. I'm glad I didn't go in to that field.

"efoshdht". that's the word i have to type to post my comment.

Smilin' Jack said...

Beware false friends, gravitationally challenged ladies. Those ads may make you think you're more attractive, but they're not going to make men think so.

Furthermore, it seems likely to me that societal pressure on women to keep their weight down is a contributing factor in women's better relative life expectancy.

Freeman Hunt said...

Am I the only female who would prefer that advertising not become more "realistic?" I doubt it.

I don't to see a bunch of images of round women with cellulite. If I wanted to see that, I'd head to the nearest ladies' locker room.

I want to see idealized people in the same way that I want to see idealized other things. Why pics of average bodies? We generally don't use pics of average other things in advertising.

If I'm going to use an architectural image in an ad, I'm not going to use a picture of some average looking box-shaped building. I would want a picture of something unique and aesthetically beautiful (even if an average box-shaped building is more practical and commonplace).

This especially goes for athletic goods. I want to see pictures of inspiring athleticism, no pictures of people who may as well be my neighbors on their morning walks--I can look out the window to see that.

Freeman Hunt said...

Good lord. Excuse the many typos in my last post please. No more talking on the phone and posting at the same time.

XWL said...

I understand where sbgloss is coming from and it would seem logical to believe that the more people are talking about your ad the better, but that has yet to be proved, and actually their is some anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

Ads that stir contreversy, or use a strong humor element that isn't tied to the product haven't been proven any more effective than the old school hard sell approach (although hybrid ads that hide the hardsell aspect with humor have been highly effective like for Miller Beer, or Axe Body Spray).

Seth Stevenson, who grades ads for Slate, gave the dove ads an A for short-term impact, but a D as long term strategy. He suggested that at some point people will consider Dove the 'fat girl' brand, and once that happens, noone will buy it.

The got milk campaign is a classic example of effective humor, but no discernible impact on sales. Milk sales have decreased pretty much every year since the campaign began over a decade ago. Other factors are in play in this downturn but the millions spent on advertising probably haven't increased milk sales one scintilla.

I suspect that the discussions about these ads aren't drawing anyone to the product, and anyone drawn to the product might be more sensitive towards possible implicit negative connotations of this campaign rather than the explicit empowerment message that dove is trying to push.

Ann Althouse said...

I drink a lot of milk, but I've always found the "Got Milk" ads disgusting. It just doesn't look like milk on those faces (and it's not, in fact). A true "milk mustache" is a subtler thing. The pasty smudge in the ads is a repulsively unidentifiable substance.

AJ Lynch said...

Don't like the ads at all. Could stand to lose a few lbs myself but the ads condone the lifestyle of the generally overweight American. We really need to stop saying "it's normal and OK to be a fat tub of lard". I can't believe the number of obese young girls walking with tight clothes that highlight their fat bodies. What will they looklike at 30 or 40 years of age? One used to harken back to their own weight at high school graduation to benchmark how well one has kept in shape.

Strong community disapproval has gone far in redcuing the number of smokers and drunk drivers. Amercians should adopt the same attitude against too many lbs (no new laws needed unless the govt decides to pay bonus to non-obese- you know reward the good for a change).I know I feel better when I keep the weight off.

And agree with the comment that the ads will not make those body styles more desirable to men.

ziemer said...

the big difference between the milk ads and the dove ads is that the dove ads will be much shorter lived.

the milk ads on the other hand, remain, regardless of their ineffectiveness, because the sponsors are not accountable to anyone.

the money that supports them comes from unconstitutional extractions from milk producers.

all i hope for is that the dove ads don't encourage even more people to publicly expose large portions of their large bodies than already do.

Ann Althouse said...

But skinny models have changed tastes. I remember when Twiggy first modeled the ulta-thin look and men rejected it. They loved the Sophia Loren look at the time. But eventually, the skeletal effect got accepted. So why wouldn't the push back in the other direction work too?

Simon Kenton said...

I don't think you know the same set of men I know: the Sophia Loren look has never gone out of style, and the bulemic look has never been accepted among the men I know. Put it to the test, Ms Althouse - in a bar, watch where the men's eyes go when a Bebere walks in; then watch their reaction when an Olive Oyl who has barfed her way to slat-like perfection stalks in.

Charles said...

Average stuff in ads? Like the Windows blue screen of death 3 times a day? Or your new car recalled to the factory for seat belt anchors or fuel fires due to bad wiring? Or that your 4 cylinder car won't race like the "Shown with additional equipment, nicely equipped" car in the commercial with the V-8? I am with the others that want to see some idealized stuff. I can separate fantasy and reality. Usually.

ziemer said...

simon's right on this one. if the anorexic look became a female ideal, it never became a male one.

and look at how jennie finch and maria sharapova became overnight sex symbols. men prefer athletes to models.

Wave Maker said...

Fa heaven's sake, can't we all ( men and women) simply appreciate the beauty of the male or female form in its perfect state without overanalyzing it too much?

I ain't buyin the jeans they're pushin, but my I do admire the body they're wrapped around.

ziemer said...

i'm with you, wavemaker.

of course, i'm a "lookist."

Susan said...

A lot has been written and discussed in recent years about how women in ads, etc make women feel dissatisfied with their bodies. But I read a really interesting article several months ago about a study of the effect on men. The study concluded that constantly seeing extraordinarily beautiful and perfect women in ads, TV, movies, etc. gives men a feeling that these women are easily accessible and the norm and makes men dissatisfied with their own wives and girl friends. (Sorry I can’t recall where this article was – it seems like a Psychology Today thing but I’m not sure).