Glamour, Magic and Chewing Gum – October 2010
Glamour and Envy
The Chanel advert is glamorous. The advert associates glamour with the product. John Berger writes that: Glamour cannot exist without personal social envy being a common and widespread emotion. Berger goes onto argue that adverts create ‘envy’ by offering us a vision of a possible future version of ourselves. A future more glamorous version. So in the Chanel advert we are seeing a possible version of ourselves, transformed by Chanel perfume. The problem is, that when we buy the product we may feel momentarily glamorous but we quickly realise that our lives have not been transformed. We then look to the next advert and product to provide us with more glamour.
Some products, such as chewing gum, cannot really be glamorous. So the advertisers try to make them look cool or desirable in other ways. The recent Trebor Gum campaign is a good example of a campaign that tries to make the product appear ‘cool’. To do this the advertisers have created a whole satirical campaign – ‘the mint people’. To see the full campaign, go to:
How do less glamorous campaigns like this promote the product? Raymond Williams, writing in 1980, called advertising the ‘Magical system’ arguing that adverts added ‘magic’ to products. Culture and materialism: selected essays By Raymond Williams p.188-189
What do Berger and Williams have in common? Any differences?