I want to challenge your critical thinking and decoding skills in an “adbusting” challenge. I want you to find an advertisement image (it should be visual but not a video) that uses “politicized” images of heterosexuality to sell a product. Politicized means that it has an agenda or perspective; in other words, the ad has an embedded bias that encourages the viewer to think something in particular about heterosexuality. This might mean that the image represents a very liberal or very conservative idea of heterosexual couples. Or it might mean that the advertisement targets heterosexual people in a particular way. It could be that the advertisement shows a married couple as the only happy, “normal” unit of love. Perhaps the advertisement has an embedded argument about what “real” marriage is. Whatever ad you choose, make sure that the ad politicizes heterosexuality in some way – that it has an embedded perspective about heterosexuality that it intends to get across to the viewer.
Post the image and provide a short discussion using the following questions. Your response doesn’t need to answer each question in order, but it should in some way touch on each topic below:
- What is the advertisement actually selling? What is the company and product?
- Who is the intended audience? Who is it targeting?
- What techniques are used to attract your attention?
- What values and points of view concerning heterosexuality (and, in relation, gender, race, class, and other social categories) are represented in or omitted from the ad?
- What are the implicit messages this ad sends concerning gender, race, and class?