Perfumes, I find, are particularly unique gender-defined products as there are such a myriad of invisible scents that are attributed to each gender. “Floral” is female, whilst “musk” is male. Unlike most other goods, they do not boast visible designs that work to characterize each good in a gender-defined manner, but do so uniquely by appealing to our sense of smell. Due to the heavily gender-defined characteristic of perfumes, it is unsurprising that many perfumes are marketed through a sex approach – marketing how their perfume appeals to the opposite sex.
Tom Ford’s “Tom Ford for Men” perfume’s marketers took a blatant sex approach, particularly using a highly sexualized physical female attribute: the breasts. Tom Ford deliberately places a perfume between the sweaty and/or oiled, full breasts of a woman, whose nipples (Gasp! Scandalous!) are covered by her own hands. Though I cannot speak for all others who saw the perfume, I immediately thought the perfume as a phallic object; the perfume placed between this woman’s breasts will, I assume, leads the man to relate the image back to his own penis. As such, Tom Ford markets the sexuality of the woman’s breasts and how their perfume will help the man increase his sexual affinity to women.
The obvious objectification of women, specifically their breasts (glistening, desirable, full), as a sex object onto which men are to project their desires onto is problematic. Additionally, even the implicit message of the ad that “Tom Ford for Men” will increase the wearer’s sex appeal to women, is potentially offensive as well. The message degrades women to inferior beings, subject to holding voracious sexual appetite by appeal of a mere “male” scent. There are additionally other versions of the same ad, wherein the perfume is placed between a woman’s open legs; coupled with the ad with the breasts’ image, the marketers of Tom Ford evidently wanted to reinforce the message of “This perfume helps you get into ladies’ pants”.
I will address in the jam this objectification of women, as well as their degradation into highly sex-fueled beings is the message as well as how Tom Ford seeks to send men the message of how their potion will increase the man’s stereotypically expected sexual success, or sexual “masculinity”.
I firstly apologize for the obvious crudity of this PhotoShop job (such as weird skin textures and wobbly lines); I am far from an experienced PhotoShop user, but I hope that it gets the message across.
I made two visible alterations to the original ad: the first is in the shape and text of the perfume itself, and the second is the text underneath the product name “Tom Ford for Men”. Extending my perceived image of the phallus of the original perfume in the unaltered ad, I mashed the perfume’s image to a more phallic one, so it is more evident that the perfume represents something more than just the marketed object. This reinforces my perception of the sexualized breasts, and attempts to force the reader into seeing that the perfume really is marketing sexual appeal to women and how the product can get the wearer “into her pants”, figuratively.
Furthermore, the text on the perfume was altered from “Tom Ford” to “Ego Potion”, which also denotes the selling point for the perfume in this ad: increased male ego, due to the perception of the perfume or “ego potion” being able to draw out their sexual prowess, as societal stereotypes usually expect the man to succeed in his sexual endeavors (or is otherwise a “loser”). In combination with the mashed perfume’s phallic resemblance and the denotation of the perfume as an “ego potion”, the jam endeavors to insinuate that the woman’s position is degraded; a sexualized creature that responds eagerly to the perfume’s appeal.
Lastly, the text was altered from the original ad underneath the product name, originally reading “The First Fragrance for Men from Tom Ford”; in the jammed version, it reads “Boob Marketing for Men from Tom Ford”. Intended as a jab at unwitting consumers of the advertisement, I looked towards invoking feelings of discomfort by the flagrant labeling of the actual intended selling point of the ad, and the objectification of a female physical part that underlies the ad. Through the jam, I aspired to ultimately stimulate the latent wrongness of the ad, the subliminal messages, and shocking potential consumers of the ad to reject the message itself on being exposed to the sexual female and male exploitation of this product’s marketing campaign.
One thought on “GRSJ 300 Culture Jam: Tom Ford and Boob Marketing”
Great blog, thank you very much for the post