Tag Archive: marketing


Twitter Treatment

I thought entering the social media world would be a child’s play. If you think about it, the process consumes exactly 2 minutes of your time; mainly filling in some contact information to create a free account. However, incorporating social media into my daily life was the toughest part.

After creating my twitter account I realized that I was very inactive compared to my friends. That’s why I decided to boost my twitter activity, so I started locating top influencers around the world and following them.

It all started by skimming through the titles or first 3 words of each tweet just to create an illusion to myself that I’m active and ‘informed’.

A year later I realized that there are some fields that interest me more than others so I tracked influencers in that particular field and became their ‘true follower’.

A month later, I found myself waking up every morning eager to check my twitter updates, enthusiastic to read almost every tweet/ or link to article that catches my eye. I simply could not lay my head on the bed without going through almost everything that could happen around the world concerning media, communication, or anything else.

Twitter revived the sleeping geek in me. I woke up a month after “the twitter treatment” feeling #likeaboss , communicating with hash tags and expressing myself confidently, sharing my opinions to the rest of the world freely, wanting to know more.

The next step after the twitter treatment was finding the blogger in me. Tweeting has surely given me a new taste of media, and I’m looking forward to tasting a new flavor through blogging.

 Advertisement is your Middle Name

In the 21st century, not any normal human being can survive a day without media and communication. Can you go a day without using a mobile phone, or watching television/ or a movie, or surfing the internet, or even walking down the neighborhood street? All these daily routine activities expose us to advertisements whether we like it or not, whether we plan it or not. Today’s forces of advertisement determine the “ideal” life style, the “perfect” shape, and even a person’s “optimal” status in life. Advertisement connects to consumer’s subconscious and alters people’s consuming trends, transforming us all to trapped followers and subjective thinkers. People do not think anymore, they just do what their brains are told to do and absorb all masked stereotypes. Not all people are as such of course, however a big chunk of society falls in the trap of media and advertisement simply because they are too consumed in consuming, and have no time to objectively think and analyze.

Analysis of Women’s ad

This ad shows an African-American model and another white model wearing clothes by United Colors of Benetton. The two women are tall, skinny, and have flawless skin, almost reaching the stereotypical definition of perfect beauty. Rick Ruffolo, the vice president of Bath and Body, once said that “If you look at the messages in mass marketing today and TV programs, the emphasis is on outer beauty, cosmetics and extreme makeovers” (Howard, 2005). This brings up the idea of perfect feminine “mannequin” appeal as a mean to promote sales. People’s definition of beauty has changed; beautiful now means tall, extremely thin, and basically having the “model-look.” Advertisement defines body shape and carves the way people value women and their anatomy. Again, nothing is accidental in advertisements: having an African-American in this ad is definitely not a coincidence. The mission of United Colors of Benetton is “combining culture with industry and offering young people from around the world an opportunity for creative growth and multicultural interchange (Fabrica, 2009).” Hence having an African American woman allows this brand to address a wide range of diverse people and to compete in more than one localized market. The “united” colors of its sweaters soon became a metaphor for the united skin tones of the youth from many different countries for whom the sweaters were designed (Fabrica, 2009). Not all brands are aware that “Black” women spend on average three times more than the general market (Neff, 2007). The strategy used to sell these items is also a branding strategy; however, it pertains to cultural and ethnic perceptions. Two decades after the Civil Rights movements, companies and advertisers began to integrate minority consumers into their main marketing strategies (Kim et al, 2005).  Benetton succeeded in advertising its ideas which soon became a consumer magnet thus selling more of their products.

Analysis of Men’s ad

Upon examining seven different Arabic magazines from October and November issues, I realized that the number of ads showing only men is extremely low compared to that of women. This brings up the issue of using women, as well as children, as an advertisement tool in order to play on people’s emotions and effectively promote a certain brand. Men are often used to advertise a message about power, sports, and control, as if women can’t be powerful or sportive. This Lacoste ad shows a low angle shot of a very elegant white man wearing Lacoste shoes. The shoes are pointed towards the logo in such a way to direct the viewers’ attention towards the crocodile symbol for Lacoste. The male is dressed in a very chic style referring to Lacoste’s basic look: the Sport-chic look. His jacket is adjusted to be open in order to show the crocodile on the upper right of the polo and promote the clothing line as well. On that same page, there is another close up on a male’s leg, specifically below the knee, giving great importance to the shoes, being the object advertised. To support these two shots, another two images of shoes are portrayed to display the variety in their collection. It is worth noting that in the upper left shot, the shoe color is warm: orange/red where as all the others are neutral colors: brown, beige, black, white, and grey. Warm colors usually set a powerful, energetic mood while, neutral colors serve to tone down colors that are intended to stand out. The usefulness of the content/style distinction rests on the intrinsic separation between what is said about and shown with the brand versus how it is said or shown (Philips and McQuerrie, 2002). All the detailed elements in the ad are coherent and make perfect sense; however, I couldn’t help but wonder why the bars behind the man are rusted. Everything has a purpose in advertisement, and one possible purpose for the rust may be to create a realistic atmosphere and to hide the mechanical adjustments in the photograph.

Analysis of Men and Women ad

The first jeans ad is centered at a white male and a white, skinny tall female. Both, man and woman are in their twenties; consequently, Salsa’s target audience is young men and women in this same age group. The photo is shot in low angle making it seem like the two characters are on top of the world. This camera angle makes people come out much larger than they are, thus giving them more power. The camera angle also helps portray their slogan, “Feel on top of the world wearing Salsa”, using photography. The impression of looking up at them triggers the audience to fancy looking up to them. It is hardly a coincidence that the woman is slightly tilted to the left, showing a portion of her behind. The male is standing straight front, giving all his body parts equal value; whereas the female’s backside is shown, giving more emphasis to her ass, especially that the man’s hand is precisely on her waist line. In today’s Lebanon, advertising rarely portrays or addresses women in a manner that isn’t awkwardly related either to looks or, at the other end of the spectrum, to motherly function (Bontems, 2009). It is part of Salsa’s marketing strategy to promise firm and uplifted butt while wearing their jeans. That is why they resort to emotional branding to attract more and more customers. This marketing strategy connects their brand’s preposition to their consumer’s needs and desires. Now-a-days people do not buy products; they buy ideas, life styles and social statuses. “Happy New You” is just another slogan that not only redefines the traditional meaning of being happy but also draws a strong relation between happiness and a pair of jeans.

By examining in depth the three different ads, it has become clear that advertisement is the protagonist in the story of our life. Companies build their marketing strategies by virtually selling their ideas rather than their products. Consumers are driven towards perfection and their ultimate goal is reaching the ideal body figure, be it their faces or their bodies. Susie Orbach, a British psychoanalyst, argues in her book “Bodies” that all of the globalized world, men and women, are suffering from a warped sense of beauty…She says that we are expected to look like Angelina Jolie from childhood to the old-age home (Solomon, 2009). This type of stereotype is one of many resulting from the mass media and advertisement “haunting” us. Always remember that what distinguishes a person from a consumer is his/her ability to distinguish between what he/she needs or desires and what the advertisers wants him//her to need or desire.

References

Awareness Network. (n.d.). Media Awareness Network. Media Stereotyping – Introduction. Retrieved November 13, 2011, from http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/index.cfm

Bontems, N. (2009, May 10). Sex offender. Communicate. Retrieved November 10, 2011, from http://moodle.aub.edu.lb/file.php/5847/Sex_offender_-_Communicate.ae.html

Fabrica. (2009, July 21). Fabrica. United Colors of Benetton. Retrieved November 13, 2011, from http://www.benettongroup.com/en/whatwesay/fabrica.htm

Howard, T. (2005, July 7). Ad campaigns tell women to celebrate who they are. USA Today. Retrieved November 11, 2011, from http://www.usatoday.com/money/advertising/2005-07-07-dove-usat_x.htm

Kim, M., & Chung, A. (2005). Consuming Orientalism: Images of Asian/American Women in Multicultural Advertising. Qualitative Sociology, 28, 67-91. Retrieved November 10, 2011, from http://moodle.aub.edu.lb/file.php/5847/Asian_Americans_in_advertising.pdf

Lacoste. (2011). Noun. November 2011. Lebanon. Noun publishing. p. 87.

Neff, J. (2007, August 27). Advertising Age. My Black Is Beautiful. Retrieved November 9, 2010, from adage.com/article/news/black-beautiful/120091

Phillips, B., & McQuarrie, E. (2002). The Development, Change, and Transformation of Rhetorical Style in Magazine. journal of advertising, 31. Retrieved November 10, 2011, from http://moodle.aub.edu.lb/file.php/5847/The_Development_Change_and_Transformation_of_Rhetorical_Style_in_Magazine_Advertisements_1954-1999_Advertising_Society_Review_6_4.pdf

Salsa. (2011). Snob. October 2011. Lebanon. Snob Hasnaa publishing. p. 55.

Solomon, D. (2009, March 4). Questions for Susie Orbach – Her Beautiful Mind – Interview . The New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2011, from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/magazine/08wwln-q4-t.html

United Colors of Benetton. (2011). Noun. November 2011. Lebanon. Noun publishing. p. 129.

Appendix

 

 

 
Beirut Lounge

Just another pathway to the world of Media in Beirut

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