Culture Jamming Assignment

The image I have chosen to analyse is a cologne advertisement for men from Tom Ford. It could be challenging to sell a scent which caters to olfactory senses through print advertising but Tom Ford has tackled this with their highly sexualized ad. It shows a topless woman with the bottle of cologne nestled between her breasts. The woman in the ad appears to be sexually aroused by the product because of the way her skin is shining from perspiration and the suggestive sexual manner she is holding herself with the product.


The sexual nature of the ad is not only eye catching to men, but to the general public including women which seems to be the general purpose of the ad. The ad says, “Tom Ford For Men, The First Fragrance for Men from Tom Ford”. The text in conjunction with the image suggests it is not only a first for the company, but also a first of its kind in the cologne industry leading the main consumer – men, to think that this product has an edge above all other colognes. The relevance of the actual scent of the cologne is overshadowed by the subliminal message of the ad which is “sex” is the outcome of wearing this cologne.


The ad is a classic example of objectifying woman in marketing to sell a product as there is truly no relevance between a naked woman and a bottle of cologne. The bottle of product takes less than 30% of space on the ad, while the female model is the focal point of the ad. Therefore, for this reason it appears the ad is NOT actually selling the product but selling a lifestyle or a feeling to the consumer if they wear this product. The ad plays on the emotions and fantasies of men to build a bond with male consumers resulting in them using the female anatomy in their marketing. It is as if they are selling consumers the promise of the “ideal” women instead of the cologne.

In the jammed image of the ad I changed the text to read, “…The First Fragrance to Make Women Do This”. Realistically that is what the ad is promising, an unrealistic effect of the product. It plays on the fantasies of what they think men want and attempt to make it relevant to their product. Ads like this one are common and lead popular culture to perceive women as sexual objects for men to obtain and conquer. It further fuels the inequality of gender roles of males as users, the dominant gender, and women who are objects to be obtained and are submissive.


The ad also depicts the “ideal” body type of women, or what todays culture perceives as the ideal body type. The breasts in the ad are not a realistic depiction of women breasts, nor is the behaviour displayed proper representation of women. However, the ad almost dictates how the gender roles should be – males dominating females. This heavily influences consumers that this is the way things should be. In society where ads are constantly bombarding us at every corner, I am not sure this is the type of messages I want for my generation or for future generations.


I think the problem comes down to the fact that we have become a society that responds to sexualized ads because ads like this trigger our visceral system. There may not be no real message behind these ads, but they are subconsciously influencing our behaviours and thoughts negatively as it relates to gender roles. When women are objectified in marketing schemes it further pushes society away from thinking of women as people. Though some might think it is just an ad, it has real life consequences in the public psyche of what being a female actually means.