Weird Advertising

For our 21st century designer module we have recently been looking at advertising for our assignment “What do images mean”. The main outcome of this assignment is to understand the importance of polysemy, which basically means the many ideas that can be evoked from one image. On my reserching into this topic I looked up a few famous advertisements that seemed confusing to what the product was that they were promoting, if it wasnt for a few flash close up shots of the garment/aftershave the advertisement could be representing something very different. I recalled a famous “Lucky Shirt” FCUK ad from one time I was at the cinema, at the time I was confused as to what the advert was selling which was frustrating, until the end FCUK credits. Now that I have looked up the video and watched it back I found myself still wondering what it was all about. It was only until I read the blurb provided under the video that I saw the connection,

“Not all men are born equal and not all shirts are lucky. But the man who possesses a lucky shirt is a collar and cuffs above the competition. And should you find yourself caught up in an imaginary bullfight, it pays to have a shirt to hand. Better still, a lucky shirt, with an ace up your sleeve.” – FCUK slogan for “I Am The Lucky Shirt”

One i grasped the whole idea of ace of spades and its significance to luck. The narration provided linked the two together perfectly. The shirt is the reason the wearer is lucky, the mans lifestyle has evolved from wearing that specific FCUK shirt to a more exciting experience. FCUK are not just selling a checked shirt, they are selling a life style.

Another brand I found trying to sell a particular lifestyle rather than a specific item is the Diesel Advertisement for “Only The Brave” fragrance,

The video shoes a certain rough masculine lifestyle being portrayed, almost as if to say the wearer will become tougher/braver/more of a man by wearing this product. The bottle is even shaped like a clenched fist relating to the gritty thuggish rough lad lifestyle that the brave face. The aftershave is almost like an enabler a confidence provider which could cause the consumer to believe they cain obtain these traits. The use of the phrase “I can start all over” suggests you don’t need to be brave to become brave, this is aimed at every demographic of male viewers. This pitch seems to deem the old ideology that the wearing of fragrance is mainly associated with women.

I then stumbled across a shocking advert for “Cult” an energy drink. The video took my by surprise as it seem to portray the ill effects of drugs/alcohol and promote them as side effects if the drink was consumed by children. unbeknownst to the viewer the culprit behind these anti-social acts is a child. The advertisement has put itself in the category of adults only and a sought out product for those deemed as children. I found the advert too disconcerting and close to the bone for promoting a usually benevolent drink. Competitors such as “Red Bull” use the “Gives You Wings” metaphor as a reference to a caffeine rush in a jovial light. For me this advert was potent as I will remember it for it’s shock factor.

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