Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Perfect People - Project #2

I chose my commercial specifically based on the theme of our blog, which is “Perfect People.” In doing so I found this commercial on YouTube of Eva Longoria, who plays one of the housewives on the hit ABC television show Desperate Housewives. She is doing the commercial for L’Oreal, and more specifically for one of their shampoos called Vive. Throughout the advertisement, Longoria emphasizes the idea that Vive is not like other shampoos and is the most original shampoo you can buy because it is made just for your hair type. By using a very attractive and prominent television star the ad creates a desire to be an individual but to also look “perfect” as well. Thus, the entire theme of the ad is that by using Vive shampoo by L’Oreal you are a unique and beautiful individual.

L’Oreal is trying to create a specific type of desire in every woman that watches this ad, and that desire is to be both unique and attractive. L’Oreal does this by using Eva Longoria who is very attractive, as well as a central theme of individuality. I noticed that throughout the ad, Longoria uses buzz words such as “unique” and “signature.” These words are designed to establish an overall tone in the commercial of individuality. Also at the start of the ad Longoria says, “Ask yourself, is your shampoo designed for you?”, as though there is a problem unless your shampoo is specifically designed for just you in a secret laboratory somewhere. The objective of L’Oreal was to create the idea that every bottle of Vive shampoo is made specifically for one person. L’Oreal wants you to think that you are the definition of unique when you buy their Vive shampoo, when in fact you are just the opposite because you are supporting a company that is known world-wide and sells millions of bottles of the same shampoo to other people.

This idea of being glamorous and attractive is one of the staples of L’Oreal as it can be seen in this other commercial with Heather Locklear. Locklear is endorsing another one of L’Oreal’s shampoos called Preference, and the formula is clearly the same. L’Oreal is using a prominent movie star to sell one of their products to create a desire to be an individual while also being sexy. Some of the buzz words used by Locklear to draw you in to the theme of the commercial include “gold standard” and “glamour.” Although there was more of a theme of glamour in Locklear’s ad, it is comical to me that these two commercials are identical in almost every way, most notably the use of a prominent Hollywood star as well as the same basic concept.

I realized that L’Oreal wants to promote this image of glamour and uniqueness in all of their commercials, but they also create a desire in women to want to be and look like these Hollywood stars that they cast in most of their commercials. The stars that they use in their commercials are some of the most beautiful women in the world, and I realized that this is a very useful tactic in order to get women to buy their products. It works because by using these exceptionally attractive women, the average woman watching at home starts to feel a little insecure or self-conscious thus, a desire to look more attractive is created, women go out and buy these products, and they feel better about themselves. It seems to me that L’Oreal is using textbook psychology to get into the heads of women, which in turn allows L’Oreal to turn a profit at the end of each year.

Whether the emphasis is individuality, or glamour or a combination of the two L’Oreal has one goal in mind: Create a feeling within the viewer that makes her feel average or mediocre, which in turn creates a desire to want to look more attractive or be more of an individual. Then sell the idea that the only way to be sexier and more unique is by buying our product from L’Oreal. Within the boundaries of wanting to look more attractive, L’Oreal casts movie or television stars to create an image of what an attractive woman should look like. When women see these commercials and begin to question just how attractive they are, they have a “standard” of what sexy is right in front of them, which unfortunately is not realistic. Thus, the majority of women feel as though they need to look exactly like these Hollywood stars in every way, shape and form and what they don’t realize is that this is a level of beauty that is often unattainable for the average woman and is often times an unhealthy standard for what “beautiful” should be.

Connor Murray
TA: Katherine Brandt

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