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In
this paper, I will argue that the Mercedes Benz advertisement associates their
product as something that will help ease the life of a hard-working businessman.

The directed audience for this advertisement is urbanites and fast-paced
businessmen. This ideological function of this advertisement is that with the
ownership of the car, the everyday struggles of the City Alpha Male will fade
away when he steps into his mood-changing, luxury car. The advertisement places
the connotations of luxury, masculinity and superiority on the product, which
creates an image that an upper-class businessman, might want to portray.

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The
advertisement uses specific items and settings to reinforce the image of a
stressed businessman. For example, he is listening to a pitch in an office,
wears a suit, works in a high-level office, next to a woman who is probably his
secretary or assistant, he appears on the front cover of a magazine, and he has
an inbox that constantly needs attention. In the advertisement, the businessman
is portrayed as a lion, therefore conveying the message that all businessmen
are leaders and that they are at the top of the ladder. Cars, in general, are known
to be a symbol of masculinity. The advertisement takes the masculinity of the
car and makes a connection to the intended type of individual that wants to own
the car. According to Williamson (1978), advertisements are idea systems that
categorize and construct meanings (p. 12). This advertisement uses the
pre-constructed ideas of the public to give meaning to their product, which is
that powerful men drive their powerful cars. A commodity serves the purpose of
satisfying human wants. The advertisement reproduces commodity fetishism when
it manages to relate social relations to a material object. Commodities
manifest social labor so they can communicate social relations in their
exchange. This car has a high exchange value because of
the amount of materials and human labor that have gone into the process of assembling
it. In the eyes of the businessman, its use value is the modern technology that
enables itself to change the mood is what makes this car unique, rather than
just an automobile that can transport you from one place to another.

 

The
signifier of this advertisement is the new Mercedes Benz S-class and the
signified is the superiority and luxury that comes with the car. A Mercedes
Benz serves the same purpose of a Toyota, but does the Toyota bring the same
connotation of a successful businessman who is the boss of a company? No,
because the public does not think that of the Toyota in that way. The Mercedes
Benz already has a prestige for being a car that people of a higher
socio-economic class drive. The advertisement uses differentiation of the new technology
to separate this product from the rest. They have added the new function called
“Energizing Comfort Control”. This new technology changes the lighting to a
colorful one, and his senses are pleasantly stimulated. In this scene, the advertisement
makes the connections between the pleasures of a day at the spa and places the
same experience in the car. For example, images of a stone massage appear,
suggesting that they have car seats that massage or relax you. Then, there is a
mist, suggesting that there is a pleasant fragrance wafting around in the car.

Also, the music has changed to a more up-beat tempo. With a touch of the
button, he is relaxed and his mood is uplifted. When he is stuck in traffic,
there is a scene where the Alpha Male laughs at the person next to him. This compares
and contrasts them in different cars and possibly, different professions or
class. The advertisement is suggesting that this man is superior to the male next
to him because the Alpha Male drives a Mercedes Benz, and the other male does
not. On another note, the male next to him is not portrayed as a lion, so he is
not a businessman, or an Alpha Male.

 

According
to Goldman (1992), advertising tells us that we are interchangeable with commodities
(p. 23). Therefore, advertising sells us to ourselves, or an identity that we
want the world to perceive us as. This product uses the concept of pseudo-individuality
by using specific images, codes of dress, and specific activities to convey the
message that this product is unique and intended for a specific demographic. In
our consumer culture today, the public uses commodities to highlight our unique
individualities and identities. We always try to create meanings of a product
in an advertisement because in a culture where we do not have the markings of
rank on our uniforms, we often try to identify ourselves through objects. Therefore,
we look for indicators of social class in mass media. The commodity form
disassociates human characteristics from people and treats them as exchangeable
things. The process of abstraction is the severance of use value and exchange
value caused by the continuation of the commodity form (Goldman, p. 21). The
tagline “Feel Intelligent Drive” can also imply that the person is intelligent
for choosing a Mercedes Benz over everything else. A driver of this particular
car makes intelligent decisions, therefore the decisions are rewarding.

Abstraction is a separation of means and ends. Hence, the individuals and the
intelligence have no relation if not connected by the product. Therefore, the
commodity creates a new, but false context in which by consuming it would make
sense. Reification is defined as human beings and social relations being
transformed into material objects. Reification can be seen here when the senses
of a human can be stimulated and mimicked by a mechanized car. The car is
equipped with the ability to stimulate touch, smell, sight and sound. 

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