Culture Jam

Original Ad

This is the original version of a magazine ad for the Lexus GS. This advertisement plays a great role in summarizing how many car companies portray themselves to today’s society in order to grab the audience’s attention. The first aspect that jumps out to the viewer is the use of the female body to sell a car. In this ad, Tori Praver, a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model, poses in a bikini in front of the Lexus GS. She is positioned in the foreground of the image, while the car is more distant in the background as a second object of attraction. Clearly, the ad aims to grab the attention of the main target, that being the “traditional” man, with the use of a barely clothed woman. The ad uses the woman as a sexual object and as a trap to draw attention which is then leveraged to showcase and sell their product.

There is no evident reason for the female to be included in the first place. The ad is attempting to sell a car and the inclusion of the woman seems quite unnecessary. Additionally, given the setting portrayed, the selection of clothing is no where near fitting and clearly chosen strictly for the reason of grabbing the audience’s attention.

The catchphrase on the top left (“From this car forward, there’s no going back”) is also another aspect that poses some uncertainty. It is possible that it is referring to Lexus’ motto (“The pursuit of perfection”), which supposedly refers to their aim to manufacture the perfect car. However, both catchphrase and motto can also be interpreted as “buy this car, and your life will change for the better”. In a way, the woman depicted also plays a role, hinting that with such a car, you gain a certain lifestyle, power and therefore access to an idealized woman.

Lastly, I found the little section in the bottom left to be quite disturbing and disrespectful. First off, it strictly uses the word “gentlemen”, justifying the target of the ad and creating a sense of exclusivity. Secondly, it is advertising an app in which you race around a giant simulation of the female model. Once again the female body is objectified and used as a lure to sell something.

Jammed Ad

This is my jammed version of the magazine ad for the Lexus GS. I made several changes to the ad including the catchphrase and subtext, the car and model and the section for the iPhone app. My main objective was to simplify it and make it more raw. Initially, it was bombarded with unnecessary component that leverage disrespectful strategies (ie. objectifying women) to gain attention from the audience and misleading text that could be misinterpreted by individuals.

The main difference is the removal of the model from the scene. My thought process came in several steps when considering how I should handle altering the image. First, I considered clothing the model. Of course though, this wouldn’t fix the fact that having a woman in the frame of this ad is unnecessary. Secondly, I considered replacing it with a man. Having a man instead though creates a sense of exclusivity and additionally, choosing the image portrayed by the male model is difficult. Therefore, I decided that having no individual in the image and simply having the car emphasizes the fact that the ad is selling a car and just that. I enlarged the car and centred it to make it the main focus, bringing it to the foreground.

There were also some changes made to the catchphrase and the subtext in the top left. The catchphrase was adjusted to explicitly expose the possible misinterpretation of the original ad. It explains the fact that the car will provide no (or minimal) change to your lifestyle. Similarly, in the subtext, the last sentence is altered to generalize it explicitly to the driving experience instead of any false messages that can be derived from ambiguous wording (i.e. “standards”, “everything else”).

Lastly, I made some changes to the section for the iPhone app. The idea of the game is quite disrespectful to the female body, therefore, I removed the app’s reference to the model and the fact that you get to “race around her”. Additionally, I generalized the use of “gentlemen” to “everyone” to be more inclusive.

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