There is a series of popular Old Spice body wash commercials in which a good looking man is doing ridiculous and impossible things that women would supposedly love a man to do. He states that “your man can never be like me, but he could smell like me” if he wore Old Spice body wash. The commercial is clearly a joke, but still implants certain ideologies on those who see it.
This advertisement gives an obvious distortion of reality. For men it sets an unattainable goal, but leaves a bit of hope at the end (Much like we often see in women’s advertisements). The advertisement is used to make the watcher feel less about themselves. Then they feel the need to improve themselves with the product being sold. The consumer of this product changes their ideology about how they are supposed to look, or feel based on the message conveyed by the advertisement. The capitalist ideology is passed to the consumer.
The humor of this advertisement can affect the consumers’ ideology in a different way. Because many people find the advertisement funny, it is something that people can relate on. As people quote the commercial the jokes become a part of their group. In turn, the product becomes part of the groups’ ideology.
It’s strange to see how advertisements can actually affect the people that watch them. I notice it even in myself after investigating the issue. I never really cared about what brand of body wash I wore, but thinking about it now, since I first saw these commercials I have always bought Old Spice body wash. I don’t notice any particular difference in the smell of it compared to other brands, but I am somehow loyal to the brand now. I also can relate to others who wear it. We can talk about the commercials. We talk about what specific scent we each wear (even though I really don’t care). It has unintentionally become my ideology that real men should wear Old Spice.
As I look more into the cultural influences of ideology, I feel the need to assess my own ideologies. How many things in my life do I idealize because of advertizing and cultural influences? I grew up always using a PC computer, saying they were superior to Macintosh. In the last few years Macintosh took over the market from PC’s as the standard computer to own. I bought a Macintosh a few years ago, and now have nothing good to say about PC. Now, I doubt my opinion actually changed. More likely the popular culture of Macintosh dominating the market I am a part of changed my ideology about PC’s.
I find it interesting to notice these things about myself. I have never been one to try to conform to what is popular. In fact I have often tried to be different from the norm. I guess even in that respect I was building my ideologies around some sort of sub-culture, or counter-culture. With that I have to wonder if it is even possible to build your own ideologies.
It seems no matter what your ideology is, it is somehow a product of the society around you. Whether you try to conform, or try to differ, you are forming your ideology based on the culture you live in. Perhaps the only way to truly form your own ideology is to detach from the culture that influences all of us so much.