Jomack Miranda (Word Count: 643)
Analyzing Advertising Paper
Carlsberg Beer and Customer Alienation
In today’s advertising world, targeting new, adult heterosexual male drinkers by objectifying women and by projecting the sexual fun associated with the consumption of alcohol is a norm. The Carlsberg Group, which is the 4th largest beer company in the world located in Copenhagen, Denmark, follows this business formula (Chaisson). However, one specific advertisement seems outrageously sexist and portrays men as too naïve. While Carlsberg targets young, male beer drinkers, this specific advertisement seems to alienate its audience by unintentionally ridiculing their childish behavior.
The use of camouflage in the advertisement presents a mixed message; it displays the men as childish voyeurs, yet because they are adults their sexual intentions can appear predatory. While the scene could have been intended to create a sexual fantasy to attract young males, the men breach this naked woman’s privacy and spy on her, which is somewhat disturbing. The men are also naïve because they think their camouflage is successful. Yet, the woman can easily turn around and see the floating beers. Not only are the men naïve but they also are predatory. Camouflage is traditionally paired with hunting or as the Oxford English dictionary states, “the disguising of military personnel.” The advertisement, following beer’s sexist presentation of women, then puts the woman at risk of being ‘caught’, much like animal prey. This prey idea dehumanizes the woman, which furthers her objectification. Through the blatant objectification of the woman and the immaturity of the men in camouflage, Carlsberg could make its beer unattractive to men who find its content pushing ethical boundaries.
The three towels and the two vases with bamboo plants illustrate the tension between the subjects in the advertisement. The red towels, like the red chair and the red floor mat, pop, guiding the eye of the viewer to see the entirety of the advertisement. Like a rose, the redness of these elements signify romance and furthermore, feminine sensuality. Because of this, the draping red towel in the upper right corner connects to the woman. In addition, the vases appear phallic, representing the camouflaged men. The plants within each vase indicate the ‘seed’ of men or sperm. What is most significant, however, is the relationship between the draping red towel and the plants. The plants seem to be caressing the red towel, depicting what the men hope to do to the woman. While covert, this micro-scene containing these objects exhibit the sexual desires of the men, providing additional female objectification.
The bathtub is designed to complement the modernistic characteristics of the room, which further sexualizing the advertisement. Its curved bottom and white color make the bathtub look like a split egg, representing an ovum. Moreover, the bubbles, which are fluffy, can signify sperm. Like the towel-vase interaction, Carlsberg uses inhuman icons to perpetuate multiple subtle sex scenes. Such scenes, however, appear to crowd the image, making the advertisement’s message too grotesque for appreciation.
The modern décor of the bathroom appears sophisticated, juxtaposing the childish behavior of the men. The room is spacious and has luxurious red velvet furniture. The room also appears very organized; items like the bottles of soap and the towels appear in groupings of threes. The modern construction of the room then makes the men’s intentions much more visible. Physically, the camouflaged men disrupt the neat qualities of the room; their outlines distort the two shelves on the back wall. The visibility of their bodies and their intentions could make the viewer not take the advertisement seriously, which could cause customer alienation.
The Carlsberg advertisement could alienate its customers by placing a naked, bathing female as a ‘centerpiece’ who is being spied on by three invisible men. Instead of attracting customers, the advertisement unintentionally satirizes drunken characteristics of men. Lastly, the female’s objectification and the men’s predatory nature create ethical issues that can backfire, distancing the intended audience from the product.
Chaisson, Gail. “Carlsberg Canada Chooses GJP”. Feb 2009. http://www.pubzone.com/newsroom/2009/3x090130x090839.cfm