When the Image Lies


Welcome back to Media Myth busting week 2. Todays lesson…ADVERTISING.

Advertising works based of connotations, the things that we take on the image past what is prominently shown to us. Many advertisements globally take this approach to make their audience thing past what they are being shown. The likes of many brands like to use controversial topics within there ads to drive conversation about their brand and their products.It’s a clever technique however it can sometimes cause controversy within the branding making an unhappy audience.

The image above portrays 10 women in stylish lingerie, they are all very different girls with different colour, hair and some body differences. It’s the typical lingerie advertisement for Victoria Secret, however when we read the writing on the page there is a much different story. The campaign was for a new line of lingerie they were distributing known as the body line. But not everybody saw the branding in the shine of light.

From my own perspective I see 10 supermodels branding the “perfect body”. The message behind the image is that with this lingerie you can have the perfect body, making you feel comfy and confident however many other people did not interpret the image this way. The public had a strong opinion that Victoria Secret were body bashing anybody who didn’t have this body shape. The label of “The Perfect ‘Body'” is definitely what caused the advertising to have such an impact on the audience. The problem being it wasn’t a positive impact and did in fact cause the company to lose many customers.

With body image being such a problem in todays society especially with the female population, it is crazy that somebody would think that this image would bring positive interpretations.

The audience who interpret this image are going to be women looking at buying the Victoria Secret Product, they have knowledge and ideologies on what is and isn’t right within todays society and this is something that is not.

Everybody is going to see the image in a different way. Many will not judge it out of possibly fitting into the stereotype that the image created, others who do not fit the common stereotype may see it as an insult that they are not perfect the way that they are.

In today’s society where we can, and are, all very different sizes, shapes and sorts it is extremely important that advertising not be overly offensive in regards to body image. I think that it is alright to cause controversy within advertising but when it comes to a hot topic that is quite influential such as body image, it is safer to avoid offending the viewers.

What are your opinions on the connotations that come with advertising in regards to body image? Should we believe them? Or should the industry stop using them?

See you for next weeks blog post!



7 thoughts on “When the Image Lies

  1. The majority of people know or have heard of The Victoria Secret Models, so what makes it different if it was an ‘ordinary’ model compared to these super models? These women are advertising lingerie that hopes to make women feel ‘sexy’ and ‘confident’ in their own body – and a majority of us do. I understand why some people would critique this image, but my opinion is that it comes down to jealousy.
    If you google the dove campaign about the perfect body, you’ll find a lot more info on the topic
    Well done xo


  2. Such an interesting post! I think within contemporary society, the issue of ‘body image’ is an incredibly sensitive topic to a wide sphere of people – in particular women. The media’s repetitive imagery and ideology of the ‘perfect body’ through advertisement, both underlying and overt, has stirred widespread discussion and debate as to the ethical ramifications on the perceived ‘perfect’ body image of women and its role in the responsibility the modern spike in eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. This particular image, although (apparently) created to encourage positive effects for women’s perception of their bodies, features 10 thin and fit women – hence contradicting the ideology behind their campaign. It must be questioned whether these techniques of controversial advertisement are actually creating an increase in customers, or whether its effects are not only negative to consumers, but also the company.
    Well done lovely!


    1. Yeah totally in agreement with you. I think they definitely tried to put out the message of confidence but did not take into consideration the fact that many people are going to interpret the connotations in many different ways! Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic example – I loathe the way they’ve done the small print to cover their asses, but at the same time from an advertising standpoint I admire their cleverness.
    This strikes a nerve for me – as someone who does not fit the media model for “perfect”, this is a repulsive ploy to make their audience and consumers feel even more elite. As if they didn’t already, with the media telling them they have the Perfect Body, Victoria’s Secret has had to spell it out for them in this ad.
    My reaction to this compared with @georgiastjeljia’s further cements the idea of semiotics is in this – that audiences of different backgrounds interpret semiotic imagery differently.
    This is such a touchy subject, and it begs the question whether the so-called “message behind this” was just a PR cover up of the REAL connotations behind this advertisement. (See A&F’s CEO controversy for perspective )
    Some companies just have no idea what tact is.
    Great work!! 🙂


  4. Great blog post, this image is very controversial where different people would have a totally different perspective on the advertisement. Victoria Secret is known for images such as this so it isn’t much of a surprise when they continue to use the same tactic throughout their advertising campaigns. I like how you have used this idea of the ‘perfect body’ as very subjective, however it is dependant on the persons context and beliefs not just stereotypes. You could back up your point with this article (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2811281/Lingerie-campaign-Victoria-s-Secret-sparks-outrage-Twitter-use-phrase-perfect-body-users-say-sends-wrong-message-girls.html) which backs up your point about the backlash that Victoria Secret received.

    Also, to link it even tighter to the theory of semiotics, you could talk about Ferdinand de Saussure as a key theorist. With this theory you could mention that if the ad was placed in different places( eg. a preschool) it evokes different messages–thus different ways of interpretation. Here’s just a little bit more information on that (http://visual-memory.co.uk/daniel/Documents/S4B/sem01.html)

    I totally agree with the points you have made throughout the blog post and believe that companies such as this manipulate the public into believing what the ‘perfect body’ should be–however, it is also the way one interprets the denotation that makes it a controversial image. Great job!


  5. ‘The perfect body’ is there such a thing? Humans, especially women are made in all different shapes and sizes. I don’t believe there is one way to define what the ‘perfect body’ is.

    Victoria Secret is a household name that everyone knows, loves, and loathes. Most women will ‘tune in’ to watch the Victoria Secret runway show each year, shop in the stores at least once in their lives, or at the very least be somewhat familiar with the brand. The Victoria Secret angels are known for being beautiful, tall, and thin women; every girls dream body.

    The advertisement illustrates the angels as having a ‘perfect body’. In 2011 Victoria’s Secret and model Candice Swanepoel sparked controversy and became the topic of discussion in many magazines for her super-thin body at the runway show.

    With increasing mental health issues attributed to body image issues, I do not believe this advertisement campaign is neither sensible nor responsible. Many teenage girls aspire to have the ‘perfect body’ like these women and can resort to taking drastic measures. Mental health issues can develop as a direct result of where these girls fail to achieve this idealistic Victorias Secret model body.

    In future posts I would recommend relating the post more clearly back to the ideologies and theories discussed in lectures.

    You are to be commended on your hard work and clarity in this post which enables the reader to understand your point of view.


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