Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Ads of the Irish

While in Dublin, Ireland this weekend I came across various images that challenged, encouraged and perplexed me.
This was an Abercrombie and Fitch ad located on one of the main streets in central Dublin. Sex in advertising is a hot topic; however, the object of sexual enticement is most often a woman. Conversely, in this ad, the male is the one being objectified. Men portrayed as sex symbols have been a topic of our class conversation with regard to Ryan Lochte. Lochte gained a large amount of national fame by being portrayed in the media as a sex symbol; however, as we found out this weekend, he is far more than just a smoking hot body. This advertisement challenged me because I realized that when I think of the negative components of sex in advertising I immediately think of the exploitation of women. The exploitation of males in advertising gets overshadowed by the objectification of women; nevertheless, I think the concept is something to which attention should be paid.
The second image I saw was encouraging. This was painted on the side of one of the buildings in a highly trafficked area in Dublin. This directly ties into our discussions about stereotypes. Way to go Dublin providing discouragement with regard to labeling. This picture definitely draws awareness to an important issue; however, I am unsure as to the advertisement purpose of this picture. Is this an ad for Heinz or is this simply the benevolent act of some harmony-seeking citizen?
The last image perplexed me immensely. I saw a couple of these spray painted phrases around the city of Dublin. I tried to rack my brain in an attempt to contrive an explanation for these; however, I was unable to think of any explanation to prove their existence significant. Any thoughts?


  1. Serious About Men is the name of a CD/album.

  2. I tried to Google "Serious About Men" and came up with nothing, except that it might have to do with a band. Which the person above me seems to agree with, so there's that. After some more Googling just now, it's by a band called The Rubberbandits. We should have a class listening session.

    Anyway, objectification of men in ads is an interesting topic. I think it's an indication of how much advertising in general is becoming completely over-sexaualized in general. I think it's an important topic to address and that it's unfair to men as well, however, I don't think it has nearly the same effect as it does when women are objectified.

    When women are objectified and made out to be sex symbols, that is all they are. Like you said, we saw after his meet (and presumably the following coverage) that he is more than just a hot body/face. But there was an Australian swimmer who has been to three (now four) Olympics and is wildly successful have a magazine there do a "then and now" picture of her, pondering whether she has gained weight since her career started. As if that should be the focus of her swimming career!

    Here's an article about it:

  3. What I find to be most interesting about the Abercrombie ads is their use of product placement-or lack thereof. A clothing company has created one of the most widely successful advertising campaigns in history while their ads fail to feature hardly any of the clothing products they’re selling. It becomes intriguing to consider the psychological implications behind and resulting from this particular display of objectification of men in advertising. It is unlikely these ads are appealing to heterosexual males-most of my guy pals realize those acid-washed jeans do not come with a complimentary set of washboard abs. Therefore, it would seem the target audience includes homosexual men and heterosexual women-even though all genders and orientations shop at Abercrombie & Fitch. Subsequently, I think the lack of a product and the ability to relate with the ad’s subject shows A&F’s marketing of a feeling as opposed to a look: Those who wear clothes from Abercrombie & Fitch are hot and confident enough to take them off. Now the subject’s gender and the apparel itself do not matter-the message is still loud and clear. While other campaigns choose to take the approach that their products will make you better, A&F suggests their consumers are the elite right now and they want to celebrate that. I also think this explains how they get away with it. The shirtless sex symbols of Abercrombie don’t appear vulnerable or exploited at all. The billboard in Dublin doesn’t even include a face-there’s not a humanizing quality with which to sympathize. All things considered, there is still something fundamentally unsettling in using sex symbols in advertising. I agree with Ashley that more research should be done. I’d love to hear how males, heterosexual and homosexual, respond to Abercrombie advertising.