Attracting our Gaze

As the advertising industry developed, advertisers realised that they had to be edgy to attract attention. Advertises continue to employ controversial issues to attract our attention. Look at Benneton’s recent advertising campaign (UnHate).

  • commodification
  • sexualisation
  • naturalise
  • anaesthetise
  • eroticism of violence
  • Infantilism of women and sex

To improve your google ninja skills, try searching for these terms using the “” command.

Define these terms and add your ideas to our Advertising Glossary.

It should be pointed out that the above advertisement was banned; evidence of how far advertises are prepared to push the boundaries to attract our attention. As time passes, we become more and more anaesthetised to the imagery of advertising which in turn creates a challenge for advertises to find an idea that is appropriately shocking.

Task: Analysis of Advertising Imagery

Comment upon one of the following advertisements. Use the structure below to guide you.



1. Choose one of the following advertisements. Take notes on the different elements you notice: connotation, denotation, any signs present, use of the concepts studied above (sexualisation etc.), colour, words (or lack of), focus (where is our attention drawn), symbolic elements (what is that lollipop all about?), expression etc.

2. Use the following structure to write your thoughts:

  • Introduction – based upon denotation. What do you actually see? Introduce connotation.
  • Connotative elements -explain each of the above elements to demonstrate the effect they have. Here, think more about how the advertisement is designed to encourage you to buy the product.
  • Educative potential – consider the effect this ad has on the audience or society. Vocabulary like naturalise, anaesthetise or desensitise might be useful here. What does the ad present as being ‘ok’?
  • Concluding thoughts – draw links between connotation and educative potential. Are these at odd’s with one another?
We have looked at plenty of advertising that depicts women in various ways. However, men are also treated in a similar manner though less frequently:
Text 1:
Text 2:
Text 3:
Compare your thoughts on one of these advertisements with my notes.  Add any ideas that I have missed with your name beside them.

If you are done, it’s worth having a look at the gender ads project as they present some very interesting advertisements based on this field of study.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: