Luxury & Age
The fashion industry creates some of the most influential advertisements of our time. The fashion company Chanel is a luxury brand designed for the upper class citizen who doesn’t mind spending $55.00 on a “Firming and Smoothing” facial foundation. But who set that price? The advertisement company did by creating ads that made Chanel appear to be a better quality product than other companies. When Chanel first began the advertisement company decided they wanted Chanel to be a luxurious high priced brand. Therefore, those advertisers created ads that made Chanel products appear to be high quality so they could set the price high and still have customers.
Chanel has an impact on each and every woman in the world. It doesn’t matter if that impact comes from a friend owning Chanel products or seeing a magazine advertisement for this luxurious brand, they still send out a message. Let’s start with young girls and what message they get from Chanel and the fashion industry. If a young girl sees a billboard of a gorgeous model with tan, smooth skin and the words “Chanel” in white words against a black background she will look at the ad more closely because of its’ stunning beauty. The message that advertisements like these give to young girls is “wow, that lady is really pretty, maybe if I use Chanel I could be that pretty” and that is what is wrong with the fashion industry. That young girl is going to remember those words and the emotions that she felt when she saw her first Chanel advertisement.
Teenage girls also are affected by the fashion industry’s manipulative message. Teenagers in general are very sensitive and open to try new things. They are also desperate for the attention of schoolmates to make new friends. One look at a Chanel advertisement of their lavish jewelry or “transforming” foundation and that teenage girl is going to save up her money for that particular product that may hold her key to popularity. One specific ad for Chanel shows a young beautiful girl (of course) wearing oversized black sunglasses and large hoop earrings, both are encrusted with Chanel’s well known double “C” logo. This ad appeals to teenagers because one look at this and they can picture themselves wearing those sunglasses or earrings to school one day and can imagine every girl complimenting on their new investment in Chanel. This new addition to her wardrobe is capable of boosting her confidence to be more outgoing because she is now a proud owner of Chanel. A brand that her schoolmates think only the rich and famous can afford.
Middle aged women are even affected by the fashion company’s messages. Middle-aged women are dealing with a lot of things in their life. They are getting older and dealing with how to make their body look appealing to their aging skin. The largest flaw in middle aged women that fashion industry’s have made a huge emphasis on in the past couple years is wrinkles. The advertisement companies have filled the minds of middle aged women with the message that wrinkles can be “gone in a flash: with this product or buy this product and you can be “young and beautiful again, wrinkle-free”. When in reality they are beautiful and wrinkles are a normal part of life. But now that advertising companies have found a solution to get rid of wrinkles forever, why pass it up? Chanel in particular has a $96.00 “Retexturizing Line Correcting Night Cream” that will “Actually help reprogram skin to outsmart time…Skin is firmed and retexturized for a vibrant, young look.” Just simply spread it on your face and neck every night and you will be transformed. The message seems so promising and if a consumer is willing to pay top dollar for a product, they expect a top dollar result.
Chanel’s message even spreads to the elderly women. These women have been customers of Chanel for so many years that they are convinced no other cosmetic company will do justice for their needs (or is it wants). For instance, my grandmother is 72 years old and the only perfume she uses or purchases is Chanel Number 5. Personally, I think that perfume does not have an attractive scent and is overrated but since it is Chanel and promotes the classic “what every real woman wears”. I believe that is why elderly women are attracted to it. The catchy Chanel N5 ad shows a black and white photograph of a model that looks like she came straight from the ‘20’s or ‘30’s. Her outfit is complete with a white fur coat around her shoulders and a diamond clip in her hair as well as sparkling diamond earrings. The beautiful woman is holding a bottle of N5 perfume spraying her neck. The expression on her face is one of pleasure and enjoyment. This ad attracts elderly women because they grew up loving women and celebrities of the ’20 and ’30 generation and have associated Chanel N5 with those glamorous celebrities all their life. So when these elderly women use the same perfume as those celebrities, they are led to believe that they can be as elegant as they were in the ‘20’s and still maintain that modern elegance. But can only achieve this with the classic Chanel N5 perfume.
I will admit that I own a Chanel perfume and have been sucked into these advertisement traps but that just makes me realize how manipulative and controlling these advertisements are. The ad that I saw in a magazine that made me want to purchase the Chanel Chance perfume was one with a white background and the black word “Chanel” in the top right hand corner. The word “Chance” is in pink located right above the word “Chanel”, which is unique for Chanel ads because they usually don’t distract from the word Chanel. However, their target market in this ad is teenage girls so exceptions can be made since this is where advertisers can grab attention from a potential Chanel customer for life. The bottle of perfume is enlarged to fill the page and the liquid inside the bottle is lime green, which brings fun and excitement to the ad. Holding onto the oversized bottle of perfume is a model dressed in a white outfit with a feathery skirt that is short and fluffy. Her hair is in curls, twirling in the air and her facial expression shows enjoyment. To add to the happiness effect, the cap of the bottle looks like it exploded off and the green perfume is splashing out of the top, which a viewer may associate with splashing around in water. There are three words at the bottom of the page in black that say, “Sparkling. Spirited. Surprising.” When I saw this ad as a teenage girl I fell in love and immediately felt the need to buy this amazing, fun Chanel perfume. This need was felt because not only was it a Chanel product but it was also a Chanel product designed especially for teenage girls. Therefore, I felt the immediate need to acquire one of these amazing bottles of perfume and what they represented.
Looking back I now realize that it was a waste of money because I could buy a spray bottle of perfume at Target for about one tenth of the price. This purchase made me realize how convincing and effective advertisements are toward the everyday person. They create a problem that doesn’t even bother the consumer until the ad points it out and then makes their product the perfect solution.
Advertisement companies created Chanel into the high class company that it is today. Coco Chanel was the woman who began the major fashion company of Chanel. When Chanel first started off, she obviously was not immediately the most sought after designer or made clothes for all the celebrities the second she began fashion. She did not make the company achieve this goal; the advertisement company gets credit for that one. Imagine a world without advertisements, not one single person would have the desire to purchase a new car, because the car they have now works just fine; there would be no need to replace it. Every woman would feel beautiful and wouldn’t feel the need to spend a hundred dollars on a night cream that “retexturizes” their already beautiful skin. Young girls wouldn’t feel the pressure to start wearing make up in order to fit in or feel beautiful, because they already are without it.
The ad I focused on is one by Chanel and it is promoting their new Autumn 2008 Makeup Collection. The ad has a solid black background with a close up face shot of a gorgeous model who has bright blue eyes. There are white letters that spell out “Chanel” and located in the top right hand corner. The model’s face is flawless and breathtaking because of her beautiful skin. There are three make-up products in the lower right hand corner, which is a unique place for them because it’s not drawing attention to the products. The ad is more focused on the model’s face and the word “Chanel” than it is the actual product.
One product is a compact powder foundation with a brush. The compact is colored black and contains the double “C” logo on the top, just to remind the buyer that it is Chanel. Another product is a liquid foundation that has a black top and again the Chanel logo imprinted on top. The third product is a tube of concealer, which is used to hide blemishes (or pimples, bags under your eyes). The top of the tube is, of course, black as well as having the Chanel logo on top. The color black seems to be a repetitive color for the advertisers for Chanel. Black seems to put on a feel of luxury and class, as opposed to white or nude which is simple and pure. This ad sends out the message that if you wear these new products coming out from Chanel that your skin will be as beautiful and breathtaking as the model’s in the ad. When in reality the models’ face was most likely Photoshop’ed to simply attract buyers.
In my anti-ad I used a solid black background as well and used a Dove model for my gorgeous model. Dove models look more like the average woman because their skin is not perfect or “wrinkle free” nor is their body tiny and curve free. She represents the average woman and not the unhealthy typical model. She is also smiling rather than posing for the camera. The white letters in the top left hand corner spell out “Channel” because that is how a person who sees the word “Chanel” but isn’t familiar with the French company, usually mispronounce it by saying channel. Another reason I chose to use “Channel” is because many of Chanel’s customers are channeled into buying their products. These consumers notice that celebrities and their upper-class friends are buying Chanel and maybe just join the crowd and buy Chanel too. These people are being “channeled” to buy Chanel, hence my product’s name “Channel”.
The three products my ad is trying to sell is Coopertone sunscreen, Chapstick and a compact mirror. I chose these products because chapstick highlights the natural beauty of women’s lips and sunscreen protects the beautiful skin of women from the dangerous UV rays that can cause cancer. The compact mirror is used to represent that small mirrors are acceptable to the average woman. They are acceptable because compact mirrors are usually used for small things like to get something stuck in your teeth out or to see if there is anything in your eye. Most women do not use a compact mirror to put on foundation or eye makeup. The bottle of the Coopertone sunscreen is a bright blue with even brighter yellow writing. The Chapstick tube has a white cap and a black logo. The compact mirror is a mixture of various shades of brown. These colors help add to the purpose of these products, which is necessity. The bright blue of the sunscreen immediately draws your attention to it because it is an important product, due to the fact that it protects your skin from cancer. The white tube of the chapstick is just a normal color which emphasizes the normalcy of this product. The brown of the compact mirror is for decoration because almost everyone owns a mirror, so decoration is needed to make it attractive to the buyer. All of my products are ones that either highlight natural beauty or protect your skin. Unlike Chanel’s products that cover up natural skin and “hides blemishes”. The words, “Fall 2009. Real Beauty” are located in the lower center of the page. These words send out a message that real beauty overcomes the beauty displayed in the Chanel advertisement.
The fashion industry is one of unimaginable competition and many people will do whatever they can to make it into the fashion career and to work alongside a Chanel representative. However, this industry is distorting the worlds’ view on beauty and changes the way women of every age feel about themselves. Chanel is charging middle aged women $96.00 for a cream that “retexturizies” their skin when there is nothing wrong with their skin in the first place. My anti-ad sends out the message that makeup is not a necessity but sunscreen and chapstick are and that real beauty is more attractive than fake beauty.
“Coco Chanel”. About.com: Women’s History. Web. 12 Nov. 2009. <http://womenshistory.about .com/od/chanelcoco/a/coco_chanel.htm>.
“Holiday Colour 2009”. Chanel. Web. 11 Nov. 2009. <http://uma.chanel.com/home.php?wt.mc _n=psearch&gclid=CPfypYvdk54CFU8M2godoG9d5w>.
“Who Are We”. Y&R. Web. 12 Nov. 2009. <http://www.yr.com/>.