Modern society needs advertisement to manifest their living culture. Whether it is a wall poster or a roadside billboard, all advertisements are apt to attract public attention. Similarly, the advertisement which I received is simple but eye-catching. It is a print poster of Haagen-Dazs that only portrays a female figure. The figure is about a young black woman who is closing her eyes and holding a Haagen-Dazs Popsicle stick in her mouth. She appears to be placid and mild, and there is a small line of words Chocolate & Dark Chocolate below the womans portrait.
With the association between the black womans skin colour and the word chocolate, people can easily understand that the chocolate is the symbolization of the black woman in the picture. Haagen-Dazs is a well-known high brand in the ice cream market. Its intended customers are people with a certain level of economic foundation who pursues a high-quality lifestyle, especially the young consumers who pay attention to the personal taste.
Thus, presenting a simple image not only conveys the information concisely but also emphasizes the sense of novelty which easily attracts their targets consumer.
However, there are some deep social issues hidden behind the Haagen-Dazs advertisement. In advertisers view, this black woman is the personification of the dark chocolate. They objectify her as a commercial good just because she possesses a similar skin colour to the chocolate. The woman has to be labeled as a food product due to her specific physiological characteristics which ignores her individual value. It is an obvious materialization and racial discrimination to equate a groups of people with their skin color. In fact, racism is a significant social problem which exists in different countries through ages. The manifestations of racial discrimination can be concealed or practical that emerges in our daily lives. Throughout history, the occurrence of slavery and apartheid always affected the attitude of white peoples towards black people. During the colonial era, most of whites regarded blacks as slaves, tools or private objects and ignored their human rights. With the time development and social progress, those serious racism issues seem to be resolved in various social groups. However, the Haagen-Dazs advertisement accurately illustrated that the phenomenon of white discrimination against blacks is still existed in individuals subliminal mind. This usage of black people in advertisements reinforce the negative stereotypes of certain ethnic groups. Other groups tend to relate the low social status to the blacks which results in inequality between different races. Influencing by this racial stereotype, white groups hold their traditional conventions towards blacks which blocked equal access to the social resource and hindered the cross-cultural communication.
Besides, the woman portrait in the advertisement shown her bare shoulders which indicates she is wearing nothing at all. This sexual depiction of the female body in the advertisement highly reflecting the social gender issues. In the modern consumer society, the consumer culture materializes and commercializes women that advertisers have begun to use this strategy to stimulate consumer desire. The demonstration of female sexual charms in advertising makes the woman’s beauty and sexy become a sale. Their image is often combined with famous cars, luxury goods, or branded clothes also men’s products. In the subconscious of the audience, womens beauties are constantly hinting that purchasing these products can mark the success of men. As the consumer culture undergoing such transformations, society continuously emphasizes the male hegemony and develops its patriarchal culture to stimulate consumption desire. Under this circumstance, Peoples subconscious always places women in subordinate positions, neglecting women’s self-development and their contribution to society. Even women themselves are affected by the materialization that they tend to ignore their true values and focuses on their appearance. The prejudice of the female concept in the advertisement still needs to be helped by our society so that society can move towards a free and dignified community for both sexes.
Advertisement interacts closely with the evaluation of a society, therefore, by analyzing the advertisements, people can see the evolving issues of the social lives at that time. Whether it is related to race or gender issues, thinking more broadly brings both individual and society a possibility to change the world.