Effect of Ideologies in Advertisements
It’s not surprise that advertisements are all around us all of the time. What may come as a surprise is what these advertisements are portraying. Ideologies (a word with many definitions) can be used to describe shared values, mass belief, myths, ideas, and much more, and they are shown throughout all kinds of popular culture. The most important concern being if they have any effect on viewers, and if so what kind? My research started after watching a well produced hardware commercial, keeping an eye out for ideologies.
The commercial was for Lowe’s (a well known hardware store) and depicts a newly married Caucasian couple who are working on fixing up their first home. While they try to do every chore themselves, like painting a room or fixing their own plumbing or cleaning their gutters, they seem to fail each time. While this is going on the man or woman is seen talking on the phone with their parents trying to get all of the problems figured out. Until of course the couple decides to head to Lowe’s for help where they can then get the solution to all of their problems.
Right off the bat ideologies are being portrayed in the commercial, but I want to be clear to note that advertisements representing ideologies is not always a problem. Ideologies can be defined as shared sets of values by a multitude of cultures. For instance, the couple is shown moving to their next step in life, buying their first house and fixing it up to their liking. While by no means is it every single person’s main goal to move out of their families house or apartment to buy a home of their own, but many see value in having a purchased house.
However other ideologies are shown that aren’t as innocent. On a more negative side, ideologies can be defined as ideas or myths that only represent a small fraction of society. As I said, the couple shown is Caucasian, but they are also a young, well dressed, fairly attractive (by societal standards) heterosexual couple both with “typical” brunette hair. Judging by the setting it seems that they both have a parent or parents who know how to fix houses. They are probably at least middle class being able to afford a quite nice looking house. And the location of their property is presumably part of the “standard” white fenced, sunny but green suburban neighborhood. A couple with these attributes is probably fairly rare in the real world, but the use of them in the commercial promotes this idea that really doesn’t represent a large portion of society.
Even further, ideologies that are created as social assumptions are also represented. While the viewers know little to nothing about the couple shown, the commercial makes it clear that they don’t know anything about fixing a house. The husband or boyfriend in the relationship white tall is quite thin and pale. It’s astounding how much even I interpreted from the image of him, but watching it I surely wasn’t shocked he wasn’t a handyman. And it’s made obvious that while at Lowe’s they are in good hands with the taller, tanner, and more heavyset Lowe’s employee. The connotations of his look is that he knows what he is doing, someone to be trusted when it comes to fixing house without having to know anything about him.
Something that is very important to fully address is how I noticed these things. I am by no means an expert in analyzing pieces of pop culture, yet when looking, simple ideologies or connotations are easy to pull from advertisements and be interpreted. My point being that they aren’t well hidden, but when not looking for them I can go a very long time without noticing them. It seems clear that ideologies in the media are so frequent that they aren’t unusual at all, we even begin to expect them.
That I believe is the downside of underlying ideologies in pop culture. Particular images that aren’t actually that common are celebrated ideals, much like the couple in the commercial. On the other side of that, relationships that happen quite frequently in real life would catch many viewers off guard if shown on a commercial. Interracial couples, a couple of two very dark skinned people, a homosexual couple, a couple with a large age difference or socioeconomic difference. Any of those would seem weird to view on television or in a print advertisement. The ideologies have skewed what many believe to be normal.
As shown, something as simple as a Lowe’s commercial can be ripped apart into different ideologies. The couple fixing up their home is not given a second glance despite likely bring quite different from the people viewing. But in the end, these assumptions we unintentionally make are not highly dangerous to society. It is unfortunate that so many people have ideologies in their head that they come to expect in different forms of pop culture, but the best thing to do is to be on the lookout for it. By limiting the effect of these advertisements, it’s possibly to change our view, and hopefully put more of our own true ideologies into the world of popular culture.