Cultural Jam Assignment-Tom Ford

Original Version:

tomf ford

Anyone who pays attention to the fashion industry knows that Tom Ford is known for producing sexual and controversial ad campaigns. He had many ads with both men and women completely nude and exposed. This ad campaign was launched in 2007, releasing his first fragrance for men (There were two pictures with the other one even more inappropriate by putting the fragrance bottle right between a naked girl’s legs). In the ad, we can see a woman’s upper body painted with sweat-like glitters shining under bright lights. The fragrance bottle is strategically placed right in the middle of her breasts, telling the viewers: “look here, look at her breasts!” If you pay closer attention to details, her nails are nicely trimmed and painted in a solid red color.   The vivid red colors are commonly associated with passion, heat, love, and affection. With this perfect sized body to every detail in a perfectly toned color modulation, the ad appears to be both alluring and captivating, in a sexual way. This fragrance campaign doesn’t show her full body giving audiences room for imagination. But it’s not hard to presume the situation without sex when there’s a girl clutching her breasts together.

Undoubtedly, this advertisement is very edgy and obviously too sexual. Recently there are so many reports indicating that magazines and advertisements have been more and more associated with sexual images and the sale would increase correspondingly, known as the “sex sells”. The target consumer segment is for men who find this advertisement sexually appealing. Tom Ford wants viewers to be aroused and excited by watching this ad as if they purchase one bottle of the fragrance they can get an attracting woman just like the one in the ad. He is using the woman’s body as a tool to encourage men indulges in sexual fantasies. Women and their bodies have been objectified as if a man can own a woman just like he can own a perfume.

Jammed Version:

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 10.00.50 PM

I made two changes in the words without modifying any part of the image because I want to keep it in this shocking way of presentation. The first change is that I replaced “Tom Ford” with “Sex”. Isn’t it ironic that even though this is an ad for men’s fragrance, the woman’s body, especially breasts, was all that matters from the ad’s perspective. It might as well just simply put the word “sex” on the ad when everyone has already clearly get the sexual idea that Tom Ford was conveying. And I also substituted the phrase “the first fragrance” with the word “women”. Isn’t this a fragrance for men? Why does it need to embody a woman’s nudity? To me, Tom Ford is not just selling the fragrance; he’s also selling an idea that “this fragrance will assist you to find a perfect woman figure, thin and hairless and with large breasts, that only existed in your imagination”. This way it’s more obvious for viewers to directly see the sexual connotations implied in the picture.

I want to deliver a message that exploiting and objectifying a woman’s body to promote a product for men in a sexual way is extremely misleading and disrespectful. The original ad is neither funny nor attracting but very disturbing. It really concerned me when I found out that this ad was only banned in Italy and nowhere else. While in my eyes such advertisements and images utilizing sexual and nude female body figures as a mean of attracting consumers in order to increase sales are a taboo, but it seems that it has been widely accepted in today’s’ culture as people are getting more and more used to it. When they are skimming across this picture, they might find it okay because everything was implied. But when they read the words in the jammed picture directly portraying woman as an object they’ll realize that this is actually not okay.