Friday, 1 November 2013



Using the text Berger, J. (1972) 'Ways of Seeing', write one critical analysis of an advert which, in your opinion, reflects
the logic of consumerism, or the social conditions of consumerism, discussed in the lecture 'Consumerism' (17/10/13). 
Use at least five quotes, referenced according to the Harvard system, in support of your argument.
Maximum of 500 words.


I have chosen to analyze a Wonderbra advert from 1994, featuring Czech model Eva Herzigova, showing her cleavage as part of the "Hello Boys" campaign. This was first revealed in the early 90s, when males and females had reached equality in all aspects of life, and feminists supported the needed change - "publicity is about social relations, not objects" (Burger, J. (1972). Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin Books. 132.) showing that the campaign isn't about objectifying women, but about the reaction caused in turn.

The Wonderbra ad was the first of it's kind, showing the female body as an object of desire, with Herzigova willingly looking down at her cleavage. Was this retaliation to the conservative past of advertising? Or a clever way of targeting feminist consumers, through selling the ideology of sex and the perfect female physique? 

There is power in sexuality, especially when selling a product or 'image', which wasn't openly witnessed prior to the '90s. "Today we see the art of the past as nobody had saw it before. We actually perceive it in a different way." (Burger, J. (1972). Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin Books. 16.) Burger proposes the idea that in the past things which have been hidden, can be revealed and seen in a different light. That is what has happened here, with males and females buying into a sex consumer driven industry, prying on sexual desire, "[feeding] upon the real" (Burger, J. (1972). Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin Books. 16.). 

There is no gaze being reflected in the image other than her own happiness, allowing the audience to freely look upon her cleavage, as she is herself. Modern advertising aims to make the viewer empathies with the campaign, with desire to become the object of consumerism. Burger stated "the publicity image [of Herzigova] steals her love of herself as she is, and offers it back to her for the price of the product" (Burger, J. (1972). Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin Books. 134.) allowing others to feel the same by buying into the campaign and the consumerism attached. 

Opposed to targeting men, the advert has been constructed towards a female audience, to empower and address social issues at the time through marketing and consumerism, “She is meant to imagine herself transformed by the product into an object of envy for others, an envy which will then justify her loving herself” (Burger, J. (1972). Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin Books. 134.) a perfect example of the issues addressed and raised from this advert.