Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sex for Sale

Advertisements come in many forms, from print, such as billboards, magazines, and newspapers, to broadcast, such as radio and TV. Advertisers have the very difficult task of influencing people to purchase a particular product, good, or service. There are many ways to go about getting people’s attention and attempting to influence them towards your product. I believe advertisers do have ethical decisions to deal with when producing these advertisements.
Bob Garfield, a weekly columnist for Advertising Age recently discussed an ad put out by Abercrombie and Fitch. This ad was put out to promote their new line of lingerie- Gilly Hicks-Sydney. Garfield wasn’t focusing on the actual product so much as the ad used to promote the product. The ad is a short video of teen girls and guys on a beach setting. The problem with the video- the actors are not wearing the lingerie they are advertising. You get a chance to see it as the naked teens play around clothesline where their missing articles of clothing are hanging. There are very few shots throughout the ad where the teens are actually wearing anything.

I viewed this ad and was shocked by what I saw. First off, I had to fill out a ‘consent form’ to prove I was 18, which should have been my first clue. When I returned to Garfield’s article online I read through the comments left by other readers. Many of them were disturbed as I was by the content. The following comment caught my attention the most: “One in four girl teens have a sexually transmitted disease according to a survey released this week. Some of these diseases kill. Don't we have a responsibility to our daughters to stop this trend in advertising? Fathers in the ad world take note.... –S R, NEW YORK, NY.” I don’t know that the fathers are the only ones to blame here. I really feel the media needs to be more aware of how they are portraying young women. They hold a lot of power, but need to be very aware of how they are using that power.

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