Most people read magazines to inform themselves on current news and fashion. People buy magazines for different reasons, but the fact is that they do buy them. Everyone who reads or looks through them has seen advertisements. This is why advertisements are such a big business in the world today. Most people glance at the ads in the magazine then flip the page to the next article or next picture. The advertisers need the reader to be intrigued with certain pictures or phrases so they can sell their product. By doing this, they do not always tell you what they want you to see in the ad. When examing certain ads, it is possible to reveal hidden meaning behind the way they are setup. In the July 2000 issue of FHM (For Him Magazine) a seemingly simple advertisement for AXIS|menswear depicts the stereotypical, sexiest, male/female roles portrayed with marketing in todays ads using copy, the setting and the characters in unique content.
Look at the lack of copy, the words or phrases, used in this ad. Most ads rely on words as their main selling point by using catchwords or phrases. The copy helps the consumer remember the ad and the product when he or she hears it or sees it in the store. However, this ad does not use much copy; this ad uses something else to sell its product. The copy reads AXIS|menswear and is located in the upper right hand corner of the ad. Notice the size of the word Axis; it is a larger more eye-catching text. On the other hand, mens wear, the type of product itself is smaller and less noticeable. This might show the importance that this company puts on the name not the product. The copy is straight to the point with maker/product with nothing more; these few words are the smallest part of the content. Maybe the makers think that the clothes speak for themselves. Maybe they expect the reader to associate something more with their clothing, not exactly what is written in the ad but instead what of is seen in the ad.
Next, the setting places the characters or people in the ad on a boat or yacht. By showing the wind blowing through their hair as they stand on top of the boat symbolizes freedom. They are near a coastline that is barely viable in the background. The ocean looks very inviting and creates a relaxing feeling for the viewer to think about. The background is blurry with almost a dreamy affect. This may be an attempt to bring imagination into the ad. The goal is to place the reader in the ad. The advertisers want the reader to think this could be them if they buy the clothes.
Finally, the most visible part of the ad is the characters used, one man and one woman. The woman on the right is wearing a black bikini standing behind the man. She is attractive and has an extremely nice figure. This is an ad for mens wear. Why is she in half the ad? At first glance, it is possible to think this is an ad for the swimsuit that is shining in the sun. She is in the stereotypical place of a woman in society behind the man. Notice the fact that she is looking away as in submission to the man. There is a heavy sexual overtone used in this ad. If he buys the clothes, will he get the women or is it that the women are attracted to the clothes. Look at the sexual mood set by the advertiser. She is wearing a revealing swimsuit with diamond earrings and he is in casual clothes. She has to look perfect and he looks just ok. At closer look, he is in front of the woman, which shows a dominant form over her. His clothes are plain and there is not much to them. He is wearing a black shirt and tan cargo shorts. This is an ad for mens wear and the main topic or product is not that special. If companies were going to put an ad in a magazine, should they not use something more fashionable than this?
The stereotypes used by the advertisers in this ad are frequently and widely visible. The next time while reading a magazine look at the ads and really try to see what the advertisers are using to sell the product. It is surprising what might found and revealed in the ad. Advertisers consider all of the elements when making an ad. While reading ads, look at all of the content in the ad to understand it completely. See if the ad hits its target or just misses. All of the elements can be viewed different ways by different people. Other readers may look at this ad totally the opposite. This is just one way to look at it.