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Advertisements, Societal Values and consumerism
Marketing or advertising has always been recognized as one of the most (if not the most) crucial pillars of any enterprise. Needless to say, time has proved it as an effective technique for increasing the sale of products and services, both old and new. In fact, the relevance, profitability and long-term sustainability of a business or its products is closely tied to advertisement and marketing. Its importance traverse the boundaries of business entity into the economy especially considering that it generates wealth for economies through taxes paid both on goods and adverts, as well as the trickle-down effects. Numerous jobs are created through production of goods and services, and marketing, resulting in a reduction in unemployment (Clarke et al, 1994). Needless to say, recent times have seen the incorporation of numerous changes in the arena of advertisements. This has all been done in an effort to enhance or improve their effectiveness in a rapidly changing world (Kilbourne, 1999). The changes have mainly been with regard to the quality of images used in adverts, as well as the message that they have to convey or send to their target audience (Clarke et al, 1994). On the same note, images and adverts carry certain messages pertaining to the moral values of the society within which they are produced (Kilbourne, 1999). Adverts and images are closely linked to consumerism, depicting a society where morality takes the backseat in favor of personal happiness and freedom.
The image represents a cover page for an American magazine known as Harper’s Bazaar. The target audience for the image and the magazine at large are women, as the magazine describes itself as the fashion store for women who pioneer in buying the best, from couture to casual. Given that the magazine serves to advertise fashion designs and products targeting women, it goes without saying that the image is primarily aimed at attracting them into looking at the products advertised in the magazine and possibly influencing them to make a purchase, not only of the magazine but also of the products outlined in there. After all, that is the key importance of images as they speak a thousand words in a glance. The image is composed of five women in dark clothing against a red background. These women seem to be of different ethnic backgrounds as evidenced by the variations in their skin color, hairs, as well as physical features. However, the common denominator for their clothing is that they incorporate an element of elegance, sophistication and provocative designs. The attire of these women is evidently suited for different settings, including office, outings, clubbing or other functions. The elegance of their clothing is complemented by their high-heeled shoes, with some of them donning some bangles and necklaces. The foreground of the image incorporates the phrase “Bazaar presents…The Ultimate Supergroup” in bold letters.
On the face of it, the image underlines consumerism. This is an economic and social order that promotes the purchase of services and goods in ever-greater amounts. It is a theory that is built on the notion that a heightened consumption of goods is an economically desirable venture. In essence, the image is undoubtedly aimed at encouraging an increase in purchasing of the products outlined in the magazine. These are consumer goods such as perfumes, clothing and shoes advertised in the magazine. The impression that is created in the images is that with the purchase of the consumer products (clothing, shoes and jewelry) such as the ones that the models in the image have would be an express ticket to a happier life (Kilbourne, 1999). The advert promotes the notion that these consumer goods would make the consumer look “cool. It is worth noting that the portraits of the women in the middle ground resemble the person that the consumers would “apparently” become once they purchase the items outlined in this fashion resource. While this may not be expressly stated in the image, it is exactly the thought that the crafters of the image want to trigger in the mind of the consumer as that would be a considerably effective technique of getting them to make the purchase. On the same note, the propagates the notion that satisfaction, happiness and sex appeal are not only impending but can also be obtained through making the next purchase (Murphy et al, 2005). The notion presented in the image is that of happy and contented women, with perfect bodies belonging to “The Ultimate Supergroup”. This pushes the message that as much as an individual may be having everything that she wants, she will always be lacking something that can be obtained through the next purchase (Murphy et al, 2005). The bold phrase complements the portrait in creating the impression that happiness, satisfaction and sex appeal are within the consumers’ reach with regard to making the purchase. Needless to say, the clothing that the women have is quite skimpy in spite of its being sophisticated, elegant and fashionable. It exposes the legs including the thighs of the women, as well as cleavage, all in an effort to underline sex appeal. The women seem extremely contented despite the skimpy dressing. It goes without saying that as much as fashion and personal attire are a matter of personal choice, morality demands that some parts of the body remain private. However, the image cre.............
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