Advertisements an Analysis of Two Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1077 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Women

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An Analysis of Two Advertisements

This paper will look at the Dockers "It's Time to Wear the Pants" ad and the John White men's shoe ad.

The first main point about the Dockers ad is that it features some of the elements of the "culture war" noted by Herbert Gans in Popular Culture and High Culture. It contrasts values pertaining to an older view of masculinity with the apparent lack of manliness in today's culture. The advertisement appeals to the intellect by using words and nothing but words. There are no pictures to effect a visceral reaction. It relies on the images conveyed by the reading to make its point. It uses words like "men," "heroes," "androgyny," and "manhood" as well as phrases like "wear the pants," "put down the plastic fork," and "get your hands dirty," to create two different types of men: ones who act like men by being gallant, strong, and macho; another who acts like less than men by dancing at the disco, showing uncertainty about their gender, and eating salads. Real men, the advertisement suggests, wear pants -- Dockers pants.

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The ad appeals to the "culture war" in society that pits masculinity against gender equality. The ad suggests that the sexes are not equal and that in the "good old days" men knew this fact and knew how to act as a result. In a sense, this ad appeals to a kind of "high culture" described by Gans as being pitted against the "popular cultures now supplied mainly by…consumer goods industries," which are behind the "salad bar," the "latte," and the "plastic fork" mentioned in the ad (Gans 3). Ironically, the ad is just as much a part of the popular culture that it is attacking. The reality is, however, that just because Dockers pants are popular does not mean they cannot be "high culture" as well -- and this is what the ad strives to convey. The viewer of the ad can feel comfortable knowing that he is part of both "popular" and "high" culture.

Term Paper on Advertisements an Analysis of Two Advertisements This Assignment

Secondly, it is the rhetoric of the ad that makes it work. Just as Stuart Hall suggests that the ad for the film Shaft stood out because of the black detective's "absolute lack of deference towards whites," so too does the Dockers ad stand out for its absolute lack of deference towards the ideals of modern feminist theory (Hall 223). The ad embraces what feminists might identify as a sexist ideology, one that paints masculinity as a masterful or domineering trait. The Dockers ad makes no excuses and gives no apologies. It demands to be read, and even the typescript used is symbolically bold and in all capital letters. The colors in the ad are stark and the only brightly colored section of the ad is in the final three words of the paragraph: "Wear the Pants." The message is clear, defiant, and appeals to one's sense of nostalgia and fairy tale romance with the very first line, "Once upon a time, men wore the pants."

Thirdly, the ad may appeal not only to men but also to women who desire men to be the sort who will open doors for ladies (as the ad says… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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