Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Commercial Analysis

This commercial begins with a model walking dramatically in what appears to be the desert as music builds. The camera fades to black and the line “This Christmas” is shown on the screen. We see the model again briefly, then “Victoria’s Secret presents” is shown. Again with the model, and now the line “One gift” is shown. They are really driving up the suspense here. The doors open to a big house with a model in a chair in the middle of the room, and we see the line “A thousand fantasies.”

Now the action happens. The music comes in strongly and suddenly there are models coming out of helicopters, hanging out on motorcycles, walking through fire, and throwing knives. It is all very entertaining and exciting, and nobody even questions why these women are all in lingerie since that is typical of the kind of movies the commercial is emulating anyway.

Of course there are also random shots thrown in of the models just posing in the lingerie and looking at the camera in their seductive and slightly pouty way. No Victoria’s Secret commercial would be complete without them. The typical “fierce walking shots” are included as well. The commercial seems to be more concerned with featuring the models than the actual lingerie, since in some of these shots you cannot even really see what the model is wearing and may just see a close-up of her face.

Various “movie set” props are shown so that it appears that we are watching the models as they star in a movie. Intertextuality is used in the ad to refer to action movies. The entire commercial is really just a condensed version of an action thriller. Basically it is Victoria’s Secret meets Transformers, which is fitting since the commercial is directed by the explosion-loving Michael Bay.

The commercial is done in typical Michael Bay style, complete with helicopters and explosions. Even though these things may not be what people normally associate with lingerie, an association is created for the theme and product through the story of the commercial and its focus on fantasy. This association portrays Victoria’s Secret as a brand that is exciting and their product as something that will fulfill the consumer’s wildest fantasies.

This Victoria’s Secret commercial explores the theme of fantasy fulfillment. It features the models in various larger-than-life, straight out of a movie scenes that are meant to represent the fantasies of the audience. The fantasy fulfillment theme appeals to the consumer’s sense of lack by interpellating that they are unsatisfied with their normal lives and wish that they could be hanging out with Marisa Miller in her underwear on a pool table (or that they could be Marisa Miller.) Since that is not a realistic goal for most people, why not buy the lingerie she is seen in for yourself or your special lady friend so that you can feel a little bit like you’re a part of that fantasy scenario? Buying the lingerie is probably as close as you’re ever going to get to that particular fantasy. The fact that the commercial is set up to look like the models are filming a movie adds another dimension to the fantasy aspect. Wearing Victoria’s Secret lingerie is not only enough to make you feel like a supermodel; you get to feel like a supermodel filming a high budget action flick. Who knew buying a bra could make all of someone’s wildest dreams come true?

This commercial utilizes a soft sell approach to sell the product. Even though the product is featured prominently (though not as prominently as the models themselves), very little information about the product is actually given other than what it looks like on a supermodel and where it can be purchased. Emotional appeals are used to hook consumers. The whole premise of the commercial is that you should fulfill your fantasies, which presumably consist of being with or actually being a Victoria’s Secret model, by purchasing lingerie from Victoria’s Secret. The company uses beautiful models in the ad because seeing them wearing the product creates a desire for the consumer to want to emulate them, which they can accomplish somewhat by buying the product.

No matter how outlandish the fantasies portrayed in the commercial may actually be, the exciting feel of it is likely to make people associate the lingerie with the way they felt when they were watching the commercial. Even people who do not necessarily want purchase lingerie to emulate a Victoria’s Secret model are likely to be entertained by the commercial, so the positive associations the commercial makes on an entertainment level are effective. After all, the great majority of people have to buy underwear, even the ones that don’t really care about underwear models. The commercial is memorable and this action movie strategy must have paid off, since Michael Bay has directed other commercials with similar themes for the company since this one.

Here is the full commercial:

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