Research Blog Post #1

US Ideals


This Axe deodorant commercial exemplifies the hegemonic ideal of both young men and young women.  In the commercial the women are presented as relatively homogenous in their image.  They are all skinny with perfect bodies.  The only variation comes in their hair color.  In today’s culture the ideal hegemonic image created in the media is one where women are skinny and beautiful.  This commercial parallels perfectly with aspects of the Lull article on Hegemony.  Lull writes, “Mass media are tools that ruling elites use to “perpetuate their wealth, power, and status [by popularizing] their philosophy, culture, and morality” (Lull 62).  The “ruling elites” of this advertisement are attempting to say that  by purchasing Axe you will be flooded by hundreds of beautiful women since you smell so good.  The American ideal of beauty is being perpetuated in this commercial.  People have a desire for what is presented in this commercial.  The man in the commercial is also a hegemonic ideal.  He is attractive and has a ripped body that is so “perfect” that once he sprays on some Axe women come from land and sea to be with him.  This shows his power and control over women, which is a large part of male hegemony.  The women are being shown as animalistic and wild simply in an attempt to reach this guy first, which again shows how he is in control.  This commercial is clearly selling sex. The commercial implies that by purchasing and using Axe the consumer will get laid.  This is relatively cut and dry considering that the man in the commercial is swarmed by hundreds of women in bikinis on a beach, and he is shirtless as well.  Also the commercial ends right when the women reach him on the beach, suggesting again that something dirty is about to happen again.

This commercial is definitely successful in todays culture.  People in the 21st century are obsessed with their body image and this commercial plays into what an ideal body should look like.  It also shows “what will happen” when you look the same as these people in the commercial.  By purchasing Axe you too can reap the benefits of being skinny and sexy even when you are not.  The Jhally article discusses image-based cultures and advertising says, “people construct their identities through commodity form, and in which commodities are part of a supernatural magical world, where anything is possible through the purchase of a product” (Jhally 252).  This idea is what makes Axes advertising campaign so successful.  People like the perception of what Axe will do for them, when the reality is it’s a crappy $5 cologne.  There won’t really be a stampede of women swarming you on an exotic beach, but the people who desire this outcome will buy the product.

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