Nick Barnett Bethann Bowman English 101 October 5, 2009 Soap Over the Ages Many of these advertisements feature soap. It makes you smell great and can even attract a member of the opposite sex. Soap advertisements have been baiting men by bringing attractive women into the ads for decades. The soap ads of the 1950s and the ads of today are equally effective; both use sex appeal, although the bluntness and textual content vary greatly, the new ads are more explicit and less wordy. The audience of the 1950s needed soft colors and visual images with many meanings.
The Lifebuoy ad uses cartoon people and very pale colors. Visually, this allows the few things in a bright color to stand out. The tag-line “It smells so good now, it makes me wonder… ” stands out along with the Lifebuoy box which is also red to grab the attention of the reader amongst the dull colors surrounding it. The woman in the background has a few possible meanings; sex appeal, appeal to women, or maybe even a figure of cleanliness. Text in an ad of the 1950s is a must and tells exactly what is being advertised and why it is better than the competition.
The text in the ad builds up Lifebuoy by saying, “Now you get protection as long as 3 days. ” Lifebuoy also announces its discovery of something new called Puritan. Then, Lifebuoy start bashing the competition with words such as, “ New Lifebuoy protects you longer than the old Lifebuoy, and longer, of course, than any leading toilet soap. ” The use of italics with the phrase toilet soap is meant to draw your attention to it and make sure you understand how bad all other soaps are. Lifebuoy also guarantees you will like it or you will receive a refund.
The text of the 1950s ad is the bulk of the ad unlike the ads of today. This is most likely due to the culture the 1950s had a slower pace of life than the 2000s. The LYNX advertisement of the 2000s is almost entirely based off images. The focal point of the ad is a woman in nothing but underwear covered in mud with the words “wash me” written on her. The woman is also standing in a shower and looks like she is getting ready to take off the rest of her clothes. This ad is completely based on sex appeal. Sex has been proven to sell, and in this case, sex is selling body wash.
Masculinity is provoked by the very opposite, a feminine body in the blue (male) shower with the blue (male) body wash. LYNX selling point is that if you use LYNX, you will have attractive women wanting you. This an effective strategy, but it is also stereotyping women as sex objects. The “wash me” written on her stomach is similar to what people write on cars and is used to humor the audience. There is only one line of actual text in the ad it says, “LYNX Shower Gel. Get Dirty. ” The text is used to reinforce the image and the sex appeal of the product.
In fifty years, soap advertisers have not changed their visual strategy. Both the ad from the 1950s and the one of the 2000s rely on sex appeal to sell their product. The use of women as the sex object from which they are launching their advertising campaign is also the similar. They both are also risque for their time and push the border between what is appropriate and what is not just a little further. They both imply that if their soap is used, then you too will have a beautiful woman almost naked wanting you. They both also have provocative text to reinforce their sexual images.
The 1950s ad says, “It smells so good now, it makes me wonder… ” implies that he is wondering something sexual because there is a woman in a towel in the background. The LYNX ad uses the line, “Get Dirty. ” with the dirty woman in the ad this is obviously a sexual innuendo. Both advertisements use sex to sale their product, that is undeniable, but the degree which they do it is vast. The LYNX ad uses just seven words to sell their product, only two of which tell what the product is. The 1950s ad on the other hand has over five paragraphs of text describing the product in full detail.
The Lifebuoy ad takes a shot at the competition in their text and even offers a money back guarantee. The LYNX ad does none of these things in its short, seven word ad. The LYNX ad also has a more blatant use of sexuality. These differences are likely due to the difference in time periods. The ad in the 1950s had to do more than catch attention with sex appeal. It had to describe thoroughly why it was better to win over an audience that placed an astounding importance on quality. The 2000s audience however does not have time to read words in its fast paced society making the limited amount of text convenient to the reader.
This audience also more callused to sexuality so a more explicit image is necessary to attract the same amount of attention. Ads for soap have changed dramatically over the years. They have gotten less wordy and more colorful. The style of the soap has even changed from bar form to liquid. The thing that has not changed though, is that selling soap is still all about sex. Works Cited Lever Bros. “It smells so good now, it makes me wonder… ” Advertisement. Lever Bros. Lever Bros, n. d. Web 10 Oct. 2009. Unilever. “Get Dirty” Advertisement. Unilever. Unilever, n. d. Web. 10 Oct. 2009. Works Sited
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