Rhetorical Images in Alcohol Advertisement
September 16, 2011 Rhetorical Images in Alcohol Advertisement In our everyday lives we come across different types of advertisements from a variety of products. Alcohol is a product that shows in their advertisements a mix of feelings and emotions, such as fun, happiness, self-stem, power, sex, and interaction with the opposite sex. All advertisements use rhetorical images and visual effects to make their product more appealing to consumers. But what is the purpose of these advertisements? How do we get to see just the images, and immediately think, I want to try this alcoholic beverage.
I have chosen three advertisements from different alcohol brands to analyze the meaning these images project towards the audience. First, the Bacardi advertisement below (Fig. 1) shows a young male partying, possible in a club, having the time of his life, hugging the legs of two attractive women. The women are only shown from the shoulders down, and they are both wearing revealing apparel to show their bare legs. The man is holding two Bacardi drinks; one of the women is also holding a Bacardi drink. What this advertisement is trying to tell us is that by drinking their product we will also have the time of our lives.
This is also telling man that by drinking Bacardi they suddenly look more attractive to women and that they have power and control. Fig. 1 Bacardi Advertisement Fig. 1 Bacardi Advertisement On the bottom of the advertisement we can read “Zoning Inspector by day, Bacardi by night” this phrase is frequently use to show two different types of identity a person may have. In this case, this man works as a zoning inspector by day and thanks to Bacardi he can have a double life, this second life is obviously more fun and entertaining than his regular day life.
We can also see a Bacardi bottle on the bottom right side and the Bacardi symbol on the bottom This advertisement clearly shows man as the main center of attention and women as objects. The second advertisement I selected is the Jose Cuervo advertisement provided by the Jose Cuervo Especial Tequila Company. The image below (Fig. 2) is presented in black and white and at the bottom there is a text or headline in a gold border. It is evident from the visuals and text that the perspectives of these ads are directed from a male point of view. On the bottom of the advertisement we can read, “It makes you irresistible”.
This headline represents the views expressed by a male dominated society where men are viewed as superior and women inferior. The advertisement shows a young man symbolizing the devil surrounded by beautiful women who are supposed to be angels at a night club. He is in the middle of the room and all of the women are staring at him Fig. 2 Jose Cuervo Tequila Advertisement Fig. 2 Jose Cuervo Tequila Advertisement This advertisement encourages women to be like the girls in the ad, thin, pretty and attractive and to give all attention to man, also to always be in competition with other women for men.
The young male representing the devil is telling man that thanks to Jose Cuervo he is attracting several women and that this is allowed for men in society. In addition, the only part of the advertisement in color is the Jose Cuervo bottle and what it seems to be a river of golden tequila. This effect makes the ad more appealing and eye catchy to the public. This advertisement displays male as a supremacy and woman as followers, making believe men that by consuming Jose Cuervo all these fantasies could be real. The last advertisement I have selected is the Skyy Vodka advertisement (Fig. ). This advertisement is very similar to the other advertisements by Bacardi and Cuervo, except the other ones included a headline and this one is purely a visual ad. It does not contain any form of text, with the exception of the Skyy Vodka logo on the bottle. This advertisement shows both men and women in a compromising position. Fig. 3 Sky Vodka Advertisement Fig. 3 Sky Vodka Advertisement The ad displays a woman in a bathing suit in a beach setting. The visual shows the woman laying down wearing a bikini and a man fully-clothed in a suit.
The man is featured from the chest down straddling her as he holds the bottle of vodka and two martini glasses. Since there are no words in this advertisement, the entire message is contained in the visual. The use of visuals is a very powerful tool used by advertisers to communicate its message. As discussed in the research paper of Exploring rhetoric: alcohol and Absolut Vodka advertisements, the authors explains that the “Exposure to visual imagery can also lead to a highly cognitive understanding of advertisement” The visual nature of the Skyy Vodka ad forces readers to interpret the messages themselves.
The ad contains powerful images about the relationship between men and women. The focus of this ad is placed on her breasts, and although her face is shown, it is not all visible and clearly not the center of attention for this ad. It is also interesting to note that the woman’s body is on display for the audience since she is wearing little to nothing. On the other hand, the dominant male figure is fully clothed showing hardly any skin at all. The woman’s body is on display allowing the man in this advertising as well as the entire audience to objectify her body.
This ad is clearly trying to catch the attention of the audience by representing a man in work clothes (suit) holding a Skyy Vodka bottle and suddenly turning the scene into a relaxed day at the beach with a beautiful woman. In conclusion, all three alcohol advertisements show rhetorical images from man and woman enjoying alcohol. All ads are shown in different scenarios but they all share the same message, which is: Alcohol makes you look cool, fun, happy, powerful, and in control.
All of these advertisements showed man as the center of attention and woman as objects. The Bacardi add uses the visual rhetoric Juxtaposition and similarity by placing one woman next to the other one, and the two drinks on both of the man’s hand, displaying similarities of double the fun, double the alcohol intake. The Jose Cuervo ad applies the rhetoric effect by using similarity representing “heaven”, the man is the devil and he has infiltrated heaven and is surrounded by angels which are all the women.
And lastly the Skyy Vodka advertisement also uses similarity, making the audience believe that consuming Skyy Vodka is as taking a nice vacation or afternoon in the beach topping it off with a man which clearly makes the scene more interesting. All these advertisements use a variety of rhetorical images, in which the main goal is to attract the audience into consuming alcohol. Up to date the use of rhetorical images has been successful and we will keep on seeing the visual effects of rhetorical illustrations in advertisement in the future.