These days, people are exposed to so many advertisements that it became a significant force that influences an individual’s perception of society and image of self.
I see several problems with this Coke advertisement. First and the most obvious, this ad plays to the false association that if you drink Coke, you will be healthier and slimmer. It is evident that soft drinks are variables that play in America’s obesity problem. Thus, Coca-Cola is portraying unrealistic expectations about their product, which is unethical. Not only unethical behaviour is present in the ad, but also the ad objectifies women. The woman in the original ad design is naked, has a curvy and skinny figure that is meant to represent a Coke bottle — the product itself is not shown. This woman is portrayed as an objectified item of desire alongside food; she is an object of male appetite. Advertisements like this have become a standard in popular media, and they often go unnoticed. They are usually composed of the images of half-naked women next to the product their sexuality is intended to sell: food, clothes, cars, etc..
Modern culture has a saying “sex sells,” but food advertisements sell more than just a product — they sell ideas. Food becomes a symbol of satisfaction and desire when placed next to an overly sexualized woman. The advertisers use ‘Pavlov’s bell’ concept: the idea that you associate some appealing stimuli (i.e. hot/sexy body) with the arbitrary product you want to generate a positive response in the viewer (the beverage/product/etc. you want to sell). The advertisement companies are not interested in the morality of this issue–whether or not it is beneficial or detrimental to the societal view of women. They simply want their product to sell.
Consumers are subconsciously tricked into the culture of consumerism that makes them believe that it is acceptable to use women’s body in a solely sexual and materialistic manner to make products look desirable and fashionable. The woman on this picture is meant to sell not the beverage, but sex. It is a blatant attempt to commodify the body of this women – literally turning her into the bottle.
Overall, this manner of this advertisement is entirely sexist and unethical.
In the jammed version of the image, I aimed to flip the message completely. My goal was to turn the dehumanizing advertisement into the social advertisement, showing that with a little more effort advertisers can achieve both: encourage action and educate.
I have chosen to remove the image of the model entirely to eliminate the sexual aspect of the advertisement and replace it with a silhouette that is unhealthy and obese. It is a well-known fact that Coke makes people sick. With my cultural jam, I tried to portray the reality and the truth that happens with people when they drink considerable amounts of Coke. I also altered the text “Department Intl.” to “Diabetes Intl.” to highlight the fact that soft drinks are playing a significant role in promoting obesity worldwide.
Regardless of the target audience of a product, the practice of using women only as photoshopped, scantily clad, and sexually provocative items to be purchased needs to stop. Women who grow up in a culture with widespread sexual objectification tend to view themselves as objects of desire for others. Sexism in advertising can lead to different problems such as unrealistic expectations of women’s bodies leading to problems like bulimia, anorexia, lack of confidence, and increases in sexual and domestic violence.
Although the person in my jammed ad is still objectified, the character is gender-free, to avoid any attachment to women’s or men’s sexual body. This person could be anyone. By doing this, my goal is to bring to light that it is perfectly acceptable to use metaphors in the advertisements as a mean to attract attention, as long as it is truthful and not dehumanizing. The objectification of women is avoidable! People accept it as an inevitable reality, rather than challenging advertisers and each other to recognize and push back against sexist practices.
How Food Advertising Drives Gender Inequality – BrownBlogs. https://blogs.brown.edu/amst-0191z-s01-spring-2016/2016/05/04/how-food-advertising-drives-gender-inequality/
Object Objectification of Humans | Otrazhenie. https://otrazhenie.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/viruses-of-the-mind-sexual-objectification/
Sexism in Media Culture and Advertising | Understanding of …. https://juanpablomartinez1.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/sexism-in-media-culture-and-advertising/