The Good, The Bad, and the UGGly (Essay about Advertisement)

The Good, The Bad, and the UGGly (Essay about...

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The Good, The Bad, and the UGGly: The Use of the Traditional Male in Advertising In recent years, the appearance of UGG boots has become a fall tradition along the lines of multicolored leaves and Thanksgiving dinners. From seventh graders to supermodels, women across the world don the sheepskin boots to comfortably, warmly, and, arguably, stylishly brave the cold temperatures of fall and winter. Like the iPod, UGG boots have become a pop culture and style icon of the early 21 st century. Nonetheless, unlike the iPod, UGGs are not the product of modern technology or a new invention. In fact, the boots were first popularized in the US nearly 30 years ago by male surfers (Our History). Their recent resurgence in popularity, however, has been a strictly female phenomenon. Not one to sit on its laurels, today the Australian company is looking to further conquer the winter footwear market. The company’s hopes, though, lie with a group more likely to spend November weekends watching football than discussing boot styles. Nonetheless, men have become UGG boots’ new target demographic. The company has launched an advertising campaign in a variety of media including magazines. In particular, an advertisement for men’s UGG boots appeared in the November 2007 issue of GQ . Operating under the slogan “Look sharp, Live smart,” GQ is a men’s fashion and lifestyle magazine targeted at “style conscious men of an average age of 30.” The magazine’s pages feature fashionable, quality, and often expensive, items. A GQ reader then can afford to and enjoys purchasing clothing. Aiming at this demographic, UGGs created a subtle, subdued advertisement. In an attempt to overcome the boots feminine reputation, the advertisement creates an image embodying the values of traditional American manhood. Several key qualities have come to embody traditional masculinity in America. As early as the 19 th century, observers noted that in All-American culture a man is “individualistic,
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insensible, cold, and implacable” (Kolbe). Masculinity is embodied by independent leaders who do not feel concern, show no emotion, and never give up. Throughout the late 19 th and 20 th century, idealized versions of Wild West cowboys came to represent these qualities (Kolbe). Ruggedly handsome, but never pretty, these characters responded to any appeal to emotion with a witty one-liner and an invariable stare of defiance and determination. Riding alone on his horse through the prairie, unafraid of an Indian ambush, these “mythical heroes” are “the quintessential image of the American male” (Kolbe). The massive popularity of the spaghetti Western film genre proved their undeniable commercial viability. In advertising, the success of the Marlboro Man campaign created one of the 20 th century’s major pop culture symbols. These traditional values succeed and continue to succeed in 21 st century advertising because they appeal to a variety of men’s emotional needs. The cowboy qualities of traditional manhood perfectly
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The Good, The Bad, and the UGGly (Essay about...

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