The Beauty and the Ugliness of Advertising?
by Jonathan Gray — University of Wisconsin - Madison
September 19, 2007 – 03:01
This ad confuses me. On one level, it’s a fantastic illustration of how the process of making a model “beautiful” works, and is a brilliant teaching tool, in or out of the classroom, with or without a teacher. On another level, though, it “just” represents Dove’s attempt to brand itself as the lone socially responsible corporation out there, and, for all its well-meaning, commodifies social responsibility, using it as another ad might use Che to sell hot pockets. How do we balance the ad’s two (or various) sides off against each other? Or put another way, while as media analysts, we nearly always simply subjugate all meanings, roles, and activities of advertising to its intent to sell, might this ad suggest a need to engage more seriously with all those other meanings, roles, and activities? Or is it just business as usual?