Off ! Bug Spray Advertisement Analysis

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I should warn you, this ad contains short shorts and an open shirt revealing cleavage. I should also warn you that this ad does not feature a woman. This Off! mosquito spray ad shows a man with hairy legs and a beard wearing shorts and a button up shirt open as he poses like a seductive woman. The text at the bottom says, "Turns mosquitoes Off!" Advertisements are meant to capture our attention to try to sell us something. They also have hidden messages that go beyond just the product being sold. This ad for Off! bug spray is a humorous, if very odd, way to advertise bug spray, but it is also manipulates its audience through its graphics, language, and hidden messages. The content of the ad is meant to remind us, in an odd way, of…show more content…
By making a spoof of perfume ads, the ad acknowledges that the audience is too smart to fall for the same old tricks used by advertisers. Compared to most of the ads bombarding our culture, this ad seems harmless and benign. Many ads today manipulate our feelings and create a "commodification of desire" (Maasik 177) which tries to convince people that their desires can be fulfilled through products. It also does not appear to be objectifying women since it uses a very average looking man in place of a model. Does this ad for bug spray sell anything other than the spray? It could be. Jean Kilbourne states in her article, Jesus Is a Brand of Jeans, "Every emotion is used to sell us something," It doesn't create the need, but it uses our emotions and desires to sell us the product (Kilbourne). An ad totally free of emotional manipulation would show only the product and maybe list its used. This ad uses humor to sell us bug spray. The ad makes people laugh so they may be subconsciously associating the product with good feelings like comfort food to a lesser degree. It may also be questioning gender roles in the media. However, this ad's message is relatively innocent. It may be try to make us aware of the double standard for men and women in advertisements in a humorous way. In Brought to You B(u)y by Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon, they explain that advertising swings back and forth between populism and elitism depending on the social climate of our culture at the time (Maasik). The average looking man is the populist version of elitist cologne ads. It doesn't give us a representation of unattainable bodies or relationships. It shows us a normal guy to whom we can relate on some level. Because of this, this ad is trying to appeal to the vast majority of people who don't actually look like models. It makes it feel like the ad is trying to be more friendly. While this ad is not totally without the use of our

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