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Many people disregard advertising considering it to be a waste of space in magazines and newspapers. Whenever they see a TV-commercial, they change the channel in order not to watch the advertising. On the other hand, there is a different type of people. They consider advertising to be art. They understand that selling a product is very difficult, which is why this job requires a lot of talent, creativity, and understanding of effective approaches to the audience. This point of view makes advertising something worth analyzing because it has a huge effect on people. There are many advertisements which are regarded as amazing works that attract many people. Nevertheless, although they attract audience, sometimes they do it because of their negative aspects. There are advertisements which are offensive to some people, and they attract negative kind of attention (Elliott and Vega). That is the reason such advertisements should not be shown or published, but in order to do that, offensive advertising has to be carefully analyzed. This way, it will be possible to explain to people why a certain ad is offensive and the reasons it harms the entire society. A great example of offense in advertising can be found in the ad of vodka Belvedere. This advertisement surely attracts a lot of people, but it is because it is so offensive.
First of all, it is important to state what offense is. It means hurting somebody physically or mentally by using force or words. It also means intentionally making somebody feel uncomfortable or hurt. People can offend others in many different ways. For example, they can say something or make somebody do what he or she does not want to. It also means promoting something that a person finds to be outrageous or wrong. Advertising of vodka Belvedere features such offense. It hurts people by promoting unhealthy image and by popularizing the wrong ideas.
This advertising which shows a man harassing a woman represents mens domination and violence and makes women look like they are worthless slaves to men. It also justifies domestic violence and even rape because it makes fun of women who are unwilling to please men in a sexual way. Creators of the vodka Belvedere advertisement tried to be funny, but they made fun of the wrong things. They directed their humor at men-women relations making men resemble cavemen and women look like helpless victims. Thus, instead of making people buy vodka, the advertisement offended many viewers.
The advertising shows a man who is harassing a woman. He holds her back, smiling wildly, while the woman is terrified. She tries to free herself, but the wide smile on mans face and the easiness with which he holds the woman prove that she cannot escape. On the right, there is a statement of the advertisement. It says: Unlike some people, Belvedere always goes down smoothly. This way, the creators of advertising wanted to joke about women who do not want to satisfy their men. Creators wanted to say that vodka does not refuse or make one feel angry, which is what women might do.
Such statements are very offensive to women. It can be said that this advertising is sexist and obnoxious. It makes them look like people whose only goal and duty in life is to please men. The advertising makes women seem like slaves who cannot argue or refuse to do something they do not want to do. Thus, the women are portrayed as if they do not have any voice. They simply have to obey the orders of men otherwise they should be punished. Women cannot protest or refuse because listening and obeying men is in their nature. Thus, the advertisement creates an image of women who are inferior to men, and men are the ones who dictate the rules. Feminists would be outrageous if they saw this advertisement because it promotes the wrong image of females.
The picture also promotes domestic violence. The man seems to be happy harassing the woman. It looks like normal way of life in the family. The advertisement represents violence as one of ways for men to get what they want. They are strong, which is why they can use their physical strength to rule women. This way, the stronger person can influence the weaker one.
Although the advertisement hurts women in the first place, it is also offensive toward men. It makes them look like cave people who are always oppressing weak women. Men are presented as people who fight, conquer, and use aggression as a tool to get the desired results. Thus, men are shown as embodiment of anger, force, and hatred. The advertisement creates an image of men being led by animal instincts instead of the conscious mind. Thus, men become primitive creatures in consumers mind because they act like animals.
The picture can also be very offensive to rape victims. The slogan which states that some people do not always go down smoothly (unlike the vodka Belvedere) can be understood in many different ways. It may be applied to women who oppose men. As it was stated before, the advertisement makes women look like slaves, and that is why they have to follow mens orders. This way, it can be said that the advertisement justifies rape because it gives an explanation for mens aggressive and demanding behavior toward women. The ad states that men are the leaders of every situation, and they are the ones who make the decisions. Thus, if they want a woman, they will absolutely get one. If the woman refuses, it is only logical for a man to take her by force because it is a natural way of things. The woman who does not want to please a man will not be able to fight back or raise her voice against the injustice because she lives in mens world where she has few rights. This way, rape can be explained as simply as mens desire. A man wanted a woman, and he got her, and womans desires did not matter in this case. She should not be upset because she is merely a tool for mens satisfaction.
Such analysis allows seeing that the advertisement offends not only people but also the main principles of democracy and basic human rights. People are born free and equal; nonetheless, the picture promotes a different image. People should not be forced to do anything against their will and morals, but in this case the advertisement contradicts such ideas. For many years, women fought to be considered equal with men and granted the same rights, but the advertisement takes people to the past where there was no equality. Violence and rape seem to be justified by this picture as something which can be easily explained.
The advertisement of vodka can be offensive itself because it promotes unhealthy lifestyle. There are no statements or warnings about vodkas harm, while such an advertisement should have said something about it. People should be told that they need to drink vodka wisely because too much drinking can lead to health problems or alcoholism. The advertising simply skipped the part of protecting the potential consumers. It created an image of a man having fun with a terrified woman bringing peoples worst instincts up. Thus, some consumers may think that drinking vodka is about primitive fun.
It is also interesting to see how this advertising appeals to logos, pathos and ethos. It appeals to pathos by showing a man with an excited, happy, but at the same time careless look on his face. Such facial expression appeals to peoples emotions. Sometimes consumers are looking for products which would make them feel like the man on the picture happy and careless as if there is nothing they have to worry about. They may even like the man on the advertisement because they would like to feel happiness as he does. The picture is especially appealing to men who are insecure about themselves. For example, they may go through troubles in personal life. Thus, they may think that vodka will give them confidence and courage needed to fix their problems. Men who are unable to be with the women they love may think of vodka as an ultimate decision. They may think that drinking vodka will make them stronger and persuasive enough to get the women they like. The slogan on the advertising also appeals to pathos because it makes consumers think that vodka can improve all of the relations. People may think it is a solution to their problems, but they have to understand that drinking vodka will not make their problems go away. The slogan also appeals to logos as an example of vodkas effectiveness. Creators wanted to make the audience regard vodka as not only a life savior but also as a delicious drink which always tastes well. The advertising appeals to ethos. The man on the picture may look like an authority in romance to some people; they may want his kind of power over woman which is why they may follow his example.
In conclusion, it is important to say that the advertisement under scrutiny is offensive because it cultivates peoples worst instincts. It plays on primitive wishes and desires making men and women look like enemies, where women are slaves, and men animal-like oppressors. It promotes wrong ideas and encourages people to act in unsocial and immoral way. Thus, such advertising should not be shown to people because it is abhorrent.