Adverts Selling You Lies – What Else is New?

Lia Schopmeyer
I read this Vice article earlier today about the famously saucy lingerie company Agent Provocateur‘s new video which was directed by Penelope Cruz.

Agent Provocateur is like Anne Summer’s but expensive and with better branding. I guess you could also say it’s better quality, I wouldn’t know, I don’t wear either brands.

These videos have been going on for a while, they make cute advertising shorts usually full of beautiful models doing things men think women do in underwear.

And that’s the problem the writer had with the latest of their shorts. The products are designed to be worn by women yet the advert is very heavily targeted at men.

This house is made of PAPER!

In the video, a handsome fella stumbles into a room and with the help of sunglasses sees women lounging around in their favourite suspenders, doing frivolous things like eating some cake frosting or standing in a paddling pool with seamed stockings.

He’s visibly taken aback by the amount of sex on show and when a particularly hot woman does her best sexy lap dance impression on him, he gets all dizzy and is finally woken up by his work buddy Javier Bardem as it seems like he’s a construction worker who had a cheeky little sexy nap.

Apart from the fact that Bardem would probably be my favourite way of being woken up, and the plot of Cruz’ ad being incredibly similar to the ’80s film They Live, the video caused the Vice writer to be critical about the confusing message it sends to its viewers.

Titties! Titties everywhere!

She says “[…]up to (or above) three quarters of their customers are female, and that’s on top of having one of the highest number of male consumers of any luxury lingerie brand.” questioning why a product that has more female buyers is so targeted at males.

Good point.

But you know what I thought while watching this video?

“Fuck, I want that corset and why the hell do I not wear suspenders all the time?! Oh, I don’t have suspenders… maybe I should get them. Jesus, those stockings!!”

So it does kind of work. If I had a spare £365, I may drop it on some clatty (classy slutty) underwear, but I sure as hell would want my boyfriend to see it if I did, with his popping eyeballs being the desired effect.

The writer goes further: “As far as I’m concerned or aware, everyone likes to celebrate themselves…”

This is true, but we also like an audience when we celebrate ourselves.

For example, if I thought uh- I bought this beautiful £12.50 lipstick from MAC to celebrate myself I want to wear it out, same goes with clothes, new hair do, new glasses, new car and lots of other things.

The difference is the audience. Everyone can appreciate your new stuff, friends, family and your man.

When it comes to sexy lingerie, well that’s usually something admired by your partner. You wanna be seen in it, but not by everyone.

This male gaze thing is a bit bullshit on this occasion, men liking women in underwear isn’t something new, Agent Provocateur sell sexy underwear, it could be a woman making stupid cupcakes or sewing buntings or reading the nutritional value of Uncle Ben’s rice, it wouldn’t really matter as she’d be in sexy underwear. It would just be sexy. Women want to be desired, women buy lingerie to feel great and sexy and have a response from their partner/sexual interest. Usually a “boing” is sufficient.

Boyfriend on the left

It’s selling us a lifestyle which is apparently wrong, How come? There’s nothing practical about sexy lingerie, it’s a luxury commodity, we associate certain things with it, it may not be showering while we have it on, but we hope for a good reception. That’s exactly what the advert shows us.

In the words of Don Draper:

Don hates you

The article then continues waffling on about plus size and how the advert doesn’t represent all different sizes.

You know what else doesn’t promote all shapes and sizes? ALMOST EVERYTHING.

And since we are at unrealistic standards, have you also noticed how all these girls are gorgeous?! Well that’s not right, is it? It also shows construction workers that look like Bardem. All of that advert is a lie, we all know. What we do want though is having a slice of that fantasy.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look desirable and you shouldn’t be ashamed if you wanna do it for your partner, it doesn’t undermine your feminist self, it’s just bullshit and actually quite boring marketing. The video could have been much cuter and funnier without a man and horny teenage boys would still be cumming into their crisp bags.

MissConfig

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