Monday, October 15, 2012

Deodorant Dissonance

Assignment #9

Deodorant Dissonance

Comparing these two ads for deodorant side by side, the first thing you'll notice is that they are both the same brand. They are both Speed Stick, the deodorant made by the company Mennen. What's important is the marketing slant of both ads, the left one advertising to men, the right one advertising to women. It is the same title for both variations of the brand, except the prefix "Lady" is added to the feminine deodorant for obvious reasons. One difference between the ads is the color scheme, obviously geared towards the sensibilities of each gender. The men's ad is a cool blue color, the same as the product, while the women's deodorant is the same way, except purple. Note the subjects in each advertisement: the men's advertisement has an adult male with half a mustache, no doubt caused by his ineptitude with a razor, and the women's advertisement has a closet of clothes, the sleeves of the lightly colored garments raised in the air as if to express their gratitude for not receiving armpit stains. The male advertisement carries a message of preparedness, that if you wear the deodorant in question, you'll be ready for anything. The female advertisement, in contrast, is about how the user's clothes are spotless and odorless, thanks to the deodorant.

The values implied by both ads differ, due to marketing to gender. The men's deodorant ad emphasizes confidence and utilitarianism, both male traits. The clean, straight lines and muted color scheme also appeal to masculine sensibilities, as well. The women's deodorant ad takes an opposite approach, instead emphasizing the female consumer's clothes. This focus on clothes is decidedly feminine, with an appeal to vanity. Note the lack of an actor/actress in the advertisement; the inclusion of a female subject would take away from the message that the clothes deliver. The stylized lines and bright color scheme are also designed to appeal to the female demographic. Overall, both ads do not break gender norms, as they have to remain firmly planted in gender roles in order to sell to their respective audiences.

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