Last summer, I used to intern at the advertising company and learned that there is a general rule of three elements of Bs to eye-catching advertisements. Three elements of Bs are baby, beauty, and beast. I figured out that I am one of common audience since I was attracted to this 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Safety Commercial that has one of the element, which is baby.

Currently, there are many ads that aestheticize everyday life. However, there is certainly limit to aesthecizing everyday life as chapter 9 of our textbook quotes;

“Alan Warde maintained that academics had overemphasized some of the flamboyant aspects of consumer behavior among various subcultures, thus neglecting ordinary consumption patterns. He cautioned that this emphasis overlooked the many studies that illustrates how thrift and economizing remain essential components of consumption, at the forefront of many consumers’ mind, above aesthetic manipulation and appreciation”(326).

This ad also does not aesthecize everyday life. In fact, it pulls out sympathy of people looking at the baby facing a sudden danger. It certainly is not one of beautiful or ideal scene. Then, Volkswagen brings comfort to the family and baby by its unique IIHS proved technology. So, it would be more beneficial to buy this safe car than to buy beautiful car or car from an advertisement that will make audiences to believe that the car will bring luxurious or utopian lifestyles.

Although the message of overall advertisement is like above, this advertisement can be analyzed by using semiotics. First of all, I witnessed several signifiers in the ads. First signifier was mom holding a baby in her arms. For a baby, it can be one of the safest moments while being held in mother’s arms. It could relate to the product that the car can be the safest place to be in. Another signifier was life flashing before baby’s eyes. It signifies that it is about a moment of death because typically life flashes before eyes in such occasion. Also, by using the baby’s life, which is very short (just three scenes) flashing before his eye, it signifies that Volkswagen can save people’s life in a brief time by reacting fast. Lastly, the song was a signifier. The lyric was “Ooo Child, things are going to be easier. Ooo Child, things will get brighter”; as the lyric, Volkswagen can make the child’s life that way.

However, this ad promotes a social norm of traditional heterosexual family, composed of male, female, and a child. This ad excludes homosexuals. Also, the ad promotes a social norm of Caucasian family. The ad openly promotes a social norm that the German engineering is powerful and innovative. In the end, the narrator said “That’s power of German engineering”. This ad speaks to such traditional heterosexual family or people whose main concern is safety. However, This ad does not speak to younger age group who are not married and who thinks of aesthetic value of the product as a main concern.

Another possible explanation can be the ad intently skips the part where the driver is using IIHS proved technology to stop the car. It provokes the people being curious of the technology, which will bring people to the Volkswagen dealers. 

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