Commercials as Public Address and the terrible messages they sometimes send.

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3141628/dial_for_men_magnetic_groove_tv_commercial/

Commercials are undoubtly a powerful way to address the public. However, many companies seem to disregard the message they are sending. More times than not advertisements on TV perpetuate stereotypes, gender roles, and other social constructions as a way to appeal to the masses. However, this is counterproductive in that appealing to these flawed constructions only solidifies them within our culture.

This commercial for Dial for Men Magnetic Body Wash is an example of this.  Dial claims that this body wash is infused with phermones and will make its user irrestible to women. The most troubling message that this commercial sends is that “The only difference between monogamy and monotony is the letter T.” Thus, the appeal of the character of “the player” within our culture is further encouraged. The commercial suggests men don’t need to claim responsibility for troubles in their relationship. The problems are thus presented as being 1) the monogamous nature of the relationship and 2) that successful and satisfying  relationships are rooted purely  in sexual attraction and scientific properties of phermones. Thus, the male audience is being told that they can fix their relationship and improve their sex life by using a product and not having to change thier behavior.

As a form of public address this commercial is unsuccessful because it alienates a signigifcant portion of TV viewers. Heterosexual women, homosexual women, and homosexual men are not considered in this address and thus, the appeal of the product is lost on a great portion of the audience. Rather that narrowing their address to the social construction of the heterosexual male and perpetuating the expectation for him to be hypersexualized and animalistic, if the Dial advertisers had generalized the message and broadened the appeal to cover all genders and sexualities they could have alienated fewer audience members and have been more successful in sales.

Caroline Spence

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1 comment so far

  1. jakubowskic on

    I agree with Caroline that many commercials on TV today are very specific in their audience. Most are not inclusive of the general public and perhaps could turn some people “off” that would typically find the product worthy of a purchase. I would highly encourage companies to break through stereotypes and provide further examples that are just as witty and comedic as those that are noninclusive.

    Catherine Jakubowski


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