Dreamgirls: The Evolution of the Female Figure in Advertising, by Jared Bellot

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  • De Vries, Leonard, Victorian Advertisements. (London: William Clowes and Sons Limited, 1968).
  • Marchand, Roland. Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940. Berkeley: University of California, 1985. Print.
  • Schudson, Michael. Advertising, the Uneasy Persuasion: Its Dubious Impact on American Society. New York: Basic, 1984. Print.
  • Marchand, Roland. Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940. Berkeley: University of California, 1985. Print.
  • Strasser, Susan. Satisfaction Guaranteed: the Making of the American Mass Market. New York: Pantheon, 1989. Print.
  • Danesi, Marcel. Brands. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.
  • Danesi, Marcel. Brands. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.
  • Marchand, Roland. Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940. Berkeley: University of California, 1985. Print.
  • Strasser, Susan. Satisfaction Guaranteed: the Making of the American Mass Market. New York: Pantheon, 1989. Print.
  • Dreamgirls: The Evolution of the Female Figure in Advertising, by Jared Bellot

    1. 1. + Dreamgirls: The Evolution of the Female Figure in Advertising Jared Bellot
    2. 2. + “Advertising is as old as Humanity: indeed, much older; for what are the flaunting colours of the flowers but so many invitations to the bees to come and "buy our product". Everything is already there: the striking forms, the brilliant hews, even the "conditioning of the customer".... Advertising might be defined as any device which first arrests the attention of the passer-by and then induces him to accept a mutually advantageous exchange.” - James Laver
    3. 3. +Excerpt from Harpers Weekly Advertising Page 1876 It was not until the late 1800‟s that advertising began to emerge in the American sphere as a distinguishable and identifiable public phenomenon, fueled by the development of a national market and mass production/mass consumptions models which led to the need for mass marketing. These early advertisements were quite different in appearance than the modern advertising campaigns that we are familiar with today and resembled more of the „Classified‟ sections of newspapers today. However the early imaginings of American advertising laid down the foundation for the future evolution of the advertising industry.
    4. 4. + NABISCO – „Sweet Memory‟ Advertisement 1905 Advertisements function within a larger consumer focused culture, and as such communicate to their viewership using a language of consumption which places advertisements as the centerpieces of a public, communal experience, one which is ruled by commercial wants and desires. Advertisements simultaneously influence a greater social culture (including gender roles, class differences, etc.) and are influenced by the society in which they exist. The role of women in advertisements, therefore, is often linked to the feminine aspects of the public sphere – the home, the family, etc.
    5. 5. + Kellogg‟s – „Grandmother‟ Advertisement 1934 As the advertising industry grew, people had to be turned into consumers and taught how to listen to and understand commercial advertisement, and consumers had to be willing to accept self interest persuasion instead of more objective forms of information about goods. Companies were forced to showcase their distinctive products and promised real or imagined advantages over rival brands or unbranded goods. As such, it was very important for these brands to keep up with the modern and associate themselves with the „new‟ in society. In this advertisement, Kellogg‟s posits itself as a cereal for a new, progressive woman, distinct in appearance and attitude than women of earlier generations and asserts that a “change to crispness” will allow for existence in this modern social sphere.
    6. 6. + Lux Soap – „Rita Hayworth‟ Advertisement 1940 Like the textual shift that occurred in American advertisements over the course of the twentieth century, from information providing to attention grabbing, so too did the layouts and imagery used in Advertisements undergo a similar shift. The connection between language and imagery in advertisements moves from the visual facet of the advertisement complementing textual element to visual aspect drawing consumers to the text. In advertisements such as this one for Lux Soap, the push towards sensational imagery (here, Rita Hayworth, a sex symbol of her time is photographed in the shower), and the exploitation of the human (notably the female) body is made by advertisements capitalizing on the fact that “sex sells.”
    7. 7. + Coca-Cola – „Yes Girl‟ Advertisement 1946 Advertising brands allow for products to transcend their mere physical incarcerations to manifest into an all-encompassing persona. Brands allow for companies to transcend beyond their mere physical products and come to signify our understanding of the relationship between the consumption of the physical product and the actualization of the hopes and dreams that the product promotes. Especially strong brands (such as Coca-Cola, pictured below), are able to operate on simple, iconic, sensationalist images, such as the Coca-Cola „Yes Girl,‟ a famous advertising campaign developed by the Coca-Cola company in the late 1940‟s utilizing branding, sensational imagery, and the sexual exploitation of the female body.
    8. 8. + Tupperware – „Dreams‟ Advertisement 1955 Advertising is about desires, aspirations, and values. It names them, describes them, and offers satisfaction through the purchase and consumption of consumer goods. In this way, advertising functions on a level of dreams. Advertising campaigns offer an idealized version of reality and offer society a chance to buy into this imagined landscape. The commercial market place, like other spheres of our social and cultural life, provides a forum where ideas and information flourish and serves as a forum for the middle class to speak to itself. As such, core “American” beliefs, or tropes, such as the happy, middle class housewife of the 1950‟s who wanted noting more in life then to spend time with her family, are frequently represented in advertisements of the time.
    9. 9. + Avon– „Shades of Beauty’ Advertisement 1975 Advertisements often serve as the voice for larger than life businesses and companies. With the decline of small, family owned, local stores, and the rise of a global commercial market, consumers were no longer able to form close and long lasting bonds with the individuals who sold them goods. Companies combated this shift by using their advertisements to address the consumer directly (using pronouns such as „you‟ or „we‟) and by positioning themselves as friends and advocates of consumers. As seen in this Avon advertisement, companies would offer advice, beauty secrets and other helpful tips to make the consumer the best individual that they could possibly be.
    10. 10. + Nike – Womens Basketball Advertisement 1980 Advertisements, at all times must exist increasingly in the present day. Because the successes and failures of advertising campaigns are so closely tied to their ability to be heard, seen and understood by consumers on a plethora of levels, ads must always remain relevant to the modern moment. As such, portrayal of society as it develops is very closely mirrored in commercial advertisements. In this advertisement, Nike acknowledges the changing role of women in society, from homemaker to equal, independent member of society and molds their campaigns to meet the perceived needs and desires of this new woman.
    11. 11. +  This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.

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