Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How cute!... or not

This is an ad for Quartz counter tops that was posted on Sociological Images, a website that critically analyzes images that we are exposed to but don't necessarily realize have deeper meanings. This magazine ad for instance, just shows a young girl trying on her mother's high heels in the bathroom. Underneath it states, "Who knew the little moments would quietly steal the show. Harmonizing Beautifully With Life". The ad seems harmless until you then think about what the ad is implying:

1. By trying on heels, the girl is trying to be like her mother or more adult. Heels are something a woman wears when she wants to be attractive or sexy. By trying on the heels, the girl is sexualizing herself.

2. The girl is dressed in white and everything surrounding her is pristine. The heels are in the only thing in the picture that are black. While represents innocence while black represents corruption. In this case, the corruption is the preemptive maturation of the girl.

3. The girl is white which is significant because once again whiteness = purity. If it was to be a black girl in the ad, it would come across completely differently because black women are normally associated with promiscuousness and impurity. If a black girl were to be trying on heels, people would automatically associate the image with looseness opposed to the white girl trying on heels which is associated with young innocence.

4. The shoes are extremely expensive Christian Louboutin heels as identified by the signature red sole. By revealing the brand, the company is making a class statement because only someone of a higher class would be able to afford these shoes and therefore this countertop.

It is hard to believe so much can be said in such a simple one page ad, but the point of marketing is to send a subconscious message to viewers.