Cultural Jam Assignment

Original Advertisement:

This advertisement is intended to promote a protein drink produced by Maximuscle Company who offers high protein foods & multivitamin supplements. The problem with this advertisement can be seen in the slogan “milk for real men” which showcases the blatant sexism in this ad, alongside the judgement among men themselves. It is common to see most protein drinks and supplements are advertised to men rather than women; however, another aspect of targeting “weakness” as a non-masculine trait goes deeper into the issue of hyper-masculinity. Commonly in society, men are characterized to be strong, courageous, and tough while any side of weakness is considered to be a feminine trait. Furthermore, portraying a man who has a six-pack and shredded muscles most likely does not represent the average individual in the society which further creates unrealistic expectations on how people should look like. This misogynistic perception that “real” men must always be strong is an outdated tactic used in advertisements like above to lure those who are insecure and/or unknowledgeable to buy their products. Hence, the use of nutrition values such as fat-free and high protein quality is also targeting those who would easily buy such items thinking they would gain muscle just by drinking this. Unfortunately, drinking this protein drink alone will not develop lean muscle right away as shown in the advertisement with the image of the muscular man. By targeting men’s insecurities and creating gender stereotypes, this advertisement tries to provide them with a “solution” which is their product. Although some people may see through this advertisement, many naive and/or misogynistic people believe there are certain characteristics are required to be considered a man, contributing to the discrimination amongst individuals. Overall, this advertisement creates negative stereotypes and barriers that can cause an impact on the way people feel about themselves and others in society.

Subverted Advertisement:

The main element I wanted to alter in this advertisement was the sexism and gender stereotypes. I changed the slogan from “real men” to “everyone” to remove the blatant sexism. I wanted this subverted advertisement to include everyone and also focus on the real truth, rather than fabricated lies. To do so, I decided to remove the muscular man and replaced him with a woman and an old man to not only focus on the inclusion of women, but also different age groups. The media tends to focus on a certain body type which may not be the average person’s body type. Hence, the old man is meant to be a stark contrast against the previous muscular man to reduce the unrealistic expectations on how people should look. Furthermore, the woman and old man are there to normalize every body type and help realize not to focus on one end of the spectrum of individuals. To make the advertisement truthful and straight forward I altered the description box by changing “real nutrition when you need it” to “chemically formulated nutrition”. Additionally, I added a small disclaimer in asterisks *only if you exercise properly and have adequate nutrition* to indicate the reality of this product. This knowledge is often neglected in advertisements to lure those people who might think by drinking this product they will look like the muscular man in the original ad. More so, at the end of the description box, the original advertisement ended off by saying “… it’s great at building lean muscles and helping you do manly things”. I do not believe certain tasks should not be categorized as manly or feminine. This creates a barrier in what society expects what individuals can and cannot do. Thus, I changed this sentence to say “… it’s great as ordinary food and helps you do regular things everyone does.” I aimed to provoke that drinking this protein drink would not increase anyone’s “manly-ness”, but instead you would still be able to do the same tasks that everyone does. I wanted to eliminate the sexist approach that categorizes individuals into either masculine or feminine traits making it a struggle for those to be who they want to be. I hope with all these changes I was able to remove the sexism and typical male stereotypes, while revealing the truth about this advertisement.