I recently came upon an ad for Tom Ford's cologne. There are a couple versions of this.
First I saw this image above and was immediately grossed out but not very surprised. It seems like the more well known the brand is, the more 'sex' the company tries to sell. Obviously this is offensive but I also thought in my mind, "Do you want to smell like someone's vagina? Then this is the perfume for you! It's tasteLESS and inappropriate. More ads feature the woman's breasts or butts, as a matter of fact, Tom Ford has already done a campaign featuring the perfume bottle in between the model's breasts but I think this may be the first ad featuring or eluding to the vagina that I have seen.
In this one, the woman's legs are spread wide open. It's a suggestive pose and the fact that her hand is touching the bottle cap, eludes to the idea of her masturbating. Again, inappropriate and gross and I feel like it cheapens the product. To me, it is on the same level of tackiness as American Apparel
As Jean Kilbourne's Beauty and the Beast says that advertisement is not only selling the product, but values, images, concepts, etc. This is being advertised to males probably around the age 18-35(?) with expendable income. It is $60-$90. Since I am not a male, I do not know what the first idea that pops up in their head. Would someone actually run out and buy this because of the fact that the ad eludes to sex and a woman's private parts? According to Kilbourn, women are exclusively sex objects. And in this case, it is dead on. As a woman, I see it as the woman in the ad is just an object and if the man buys that product, it implies that he can buy sex or the woman altogether.I'd love to meet someone who is dumb enough to think this way.
I really do like the philanthropic approach with companies like Tom's shoes and also recently my friend recommended me an eyewear company called Warby Parker. With the same idea as Tom, once the costumer buys the product, 1 product will be donated to another person in need. Companies like Warby Parker probably do not have a huge amount of money to spend on huge ad campaigns. On their website, they even have a statement saying that truthfully, most people are overpaying for their glasses and they can offer the consumer better quality for less than $100 for frames + prescription. Their statement comes off as very genuine and most importantly they do not need to exploit male or females to sell their product. I believe with strategies like this, the fact that the consumer knows that whatever they purchase can help someone else in need, it may be more of an incentive to buy. Given that the quality is good, the consumer will recommend to others, etc. and the company can be successful in that way.
I supposed the 2 industries are completely different and also the target market may be different but advertising without the exploitation is do-able and profitable. It's a shame that luxurious companies have failed to do so.