Commentary on the Original Ad
This advertisement featuring pop star Katy Perry touts Pop Chips with being a low fat, low calorie snack. In order to sell their product Pop Chips uses Perry, a slender and fit woman with the tag-line “Love. Without the handles” above her. The idealized image of feminine beauty, represented here by the Perry, paired with this tag-line works is obviously meant to encourage women to buy and eat the snacks in order to stay slim. However, the underlying message that is presented is that if you have “love handles”, or do not conform to the feminine ideal body type, you are somehow unlovable. Pop Chips is saying that love and love handles simply do not go together.
The use of Katy Perry in particular as the celebrity spokesperson seems intentional. Perry’s body is indicative of the feminine ideal in more ways then one. She is white, has large eyes, a small nose, plump lips, large breasts, a small waist and a petite but perky buttocks. Pairing her with the Pop Chips brand is a smart advertising move in that it is basically saying if you want to look like her, eat Pop Chips. Katy is depicted in a sports bra, headband and black exercise pants (while of course fully made up) in order to further contribute to her fit, slim, athletic image. You barely notice the actual product, Pop Chips, in the corner of the ad which is the same colour as the background of the image allowing it to blend into the background while Katy stands out.
Ultimately the problem with this ad is how it equates feminine beauty with not only being slim and fit but also with a very particular body type. Most problematic though, is the connotation that someone who does not look like Perry is somehow less worthy of love and belonging. I find this deeply troubling as it goes beyond the typical advertising campaign where a thin, white, female celebrity or model is paired with a product. It brings the ideas of worthiness into and lovability into the equation.
Commentary on Jammed Ad
In the culture jammed image I changed the tagline to reflect what the advertisement is really trying to say. The true message of the advertisement is basically “Eat Pop Chips, lose weight, look like Katy Perry and you will be worthy of love and acceptance”. The new tag-line “Love handles. You can’t be loved with em'” attempts to evoke what the original ad is really saying.
Although I did use the term “love handles” in my ad above to keep is somewhat similar to the original, even the use of this term seems derogatory. Although the word is used to refer to fat around the waist and hipline in both men and women, I most frequently hear it used by woman to describe themselves or by men to describe women. “Love handles” was originally coined to describe this area of the body as a place to grab onto to during sex. Objectification of the female body is evident here, in that a woman’s fat around the waistline is only useful for sex meant to satisfy a man. Handling a woman’s body in this way puts the man in control and asserts that sex is primarily for male pleasure.
Changing the tagline of this ad brings to light how ridiculous it truly is. I don’t see why it is necessary to bring love and worthiness into the equation when marketing low fat chips. Sadly, had I not done this assignment I probably would have easily skimmed over this ad, registered the Pop Chips as a low fat snack and moved on. The need to critically examine the types of ad’s and media material that we are bombarded with on a daily basis is definitely brought to light when looking at this ad.