Representations of Men in Advertising

Published: 2021-07-28 23:40:06
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Category: Advertising

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What is a man? This question may be odd to hear, but it's a question that is answered constantly by advertisers in print ads and television commercials, all with different approaches. But he question the advertises are asking is "What images of men will sell my product? ". There is the image of the rebel, the masculine heroes, the violent or aggressive man, or the classic 'Gentleman'. In recent years we see advertisers moving closer towards the image of the 'modern man'. The modern man, also known as the metro-sexual man, can be defined as well groomed, health and body conscious, and well dressed.
The deconstruction of the two advertisements, Ralph Lauren and Michelob Ultra, accentuate this image and show its influence on the male audience. The Michelob Ultra advertisement preys on the modern mans body image perceptions, and uses them to create a desire for their product. The ad depicts an athletic swimmer, of whom we are to believe consumes the product, getting out of the pool, a picture of the product, and the heading "Lose the Carbs. Not the taste". The caption "... this is your fountain of youth" insinuates that this product will keep you healthy youthful, while being able to enjoy alcohol.
There is a famous quote from Edgar A. Schoaff that reads, "Advertising is the art of making whole lies, out of half truths". This ad from Michelob is a perfect example of this. In reality, the beer still contains carbs, almost the same amount as regular beer, but using an almost irrelevant idea of low carbs and transforming it into a, for lack of a better term, 'healthy' beer. This misleading idea forces easily persuaded body conscious males to believe in their product. Ultimately, this kind of advertising manipulates males thoughts and plants false images of an unattainable body.

The 'modern man' look has grown increasingly more popular due to advertisers push to make men obsessing over their own body image. The advertisement for Ralph Lauren targets these image wise men and positions themselves as the 'right' image. The ad is almost completely in black and white, with just the brand name, "Ralph Lauren" standing out in the background. The contrast makes for a striking and eye catching advertisement, with a hint of panache. It depicts three young men hurdling over a tennis net, boasting their clothes and style. Thre three men are racing, playing off men's stereotypical competitiveness and pursuit to be the best.
The ad suggests that Ralph Lauren will help you get there. David Foster Wallace sums this up with his quote, "It did what all ads are supposed to do: create an anxiety relievable by purchase". The anxiety is the endeavour to be the best and the brand will help you in that objective. Therefore, this ad boasts itself as an image of what the modern man should strive for. As a result of the many advertising archetypes presented and beliefs about normalcy, young men are growing up being bombarded by different representations and images of males and find it impossible to not fall victim of them.
Young men are often enticed to emulate what they see on the television, hear on the radio or read on a newspaper ad. The allure of the lifestyle presented in advertising is most often great enough to coax the consumer to buy into it. These facts are supported by the aforementioned advertisements. Both similar in regards to target audiences, and give impressions of the modern man. One of perfect body aspirations, and the other a pursuit for the perfect look. But both simultaneously give people ambitions to be the modern man.

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