2014 Bad Ad Contest winner
by Jordan Eckl, 12th grade, Arrowhead Union High School in Hartland, WI
This ad for American Crew appeared in Car and Driver. There is one white man, possibly in his early twenties, leaning up against an expensive car with three, white, very young women with long flowing hair to emphasize their product. The three women are half naked and wearing provocative clothing with very small shirts exposing a lot of cleavage and significant amounts of stomach. Their jean shorts would be more accurately described as underwear, revealing half, if not more, of their butt. The three women are all located around the man. In the top left of the ad there is the logo and motto, “American Crew, Official Supplier to Men.” Next to the brown bottles it states, “You can never be sure where your night is going to take you. But when you’ve got the kind of look that drives her wild, you can be sure it’s going to be good. Find your look, your grooming product and your hairstylist at americancrew.com.” Along with the people and product locations there is a quote in all capital letters, “DRIVE HER WILD.”
The target audience for this ad is younger men in their late teens and twenties, suggested by the male in the advertisement. This ad appears to be targeting men who would like to spice up their appearance and become more involved with women. This is bad because fixing your hair won’t bring in more women, and women aren’t something to have surrounding you in a sexual manner. The ad tells the consumer that if they go out and buy this product, they too will be good looking, more attractive, and gain this ability to “Drive Her Wild.” This is misleading to the men that buy this product because no amount of product you put into your hair can give you the ability to become some attractive guy who drives an expensive car. This ad tells us that if they use this product, women will be schooling around the person, half naked and with hands down his pants. This is bad because you throw away what you mean on the inside. These women only become attracted to your physical appearance, getting rid of the most important part of you, and this ad tells us that it’s okay to do so. Also with all these women around him it supports a monogamous lifestyle and tells us in order to be a man you have to surround yourself with sexy women.
The main persuasion techniques in this ad are association, simple solution, beautiful people, and intensity. Association is used when the advertiser links this product to having women irresistibly become attracted to men and to want men irresistibly. This ad objectifies women and uses women who seem to want this man sexually to prove that with the hair product sex will enter your life and these women are here for you. The women in the picture are all over him with their hands in his pants on his crotch area, showing us you can have women doing this to you if you buy this product. Also, it gives us an assumption that this hair product will only work if you are heterosexual, which leaves out homosexual men. This again shows us that it’s okay to see women as sexual objects. This could also be linked to a simple solution because not all people are good with the ladies. People put this hope into the product that instead of trying to fix it they just throw money at it and maybe it’ll change. Most of us know that this won’t actually work, so the ad fills people with a false hope for what they’re going to buy. They end up disappointed.
This ad uses beautiful people as a persuasion technique. The man in the middle looks trendy like a singer from One Direction, flawless and obviously has modeled before, making us think we could be like a model. The three women look like models and also appear to be flawless and half-naked, crowded around the male in a heap of perfection in front of a bright shiny red car.
This ad fails to include important pieces of information as well, such as price and how much contents are in the bottle. It doesn’t tell us what the product is made of, and it certainly doesn’t tell us what or where it was tested on. It gives us sort of a suspicious feel because there is barely any information other than the name of the product, where it’s distributed, and if you buy it you will become simply irresistible.
In conclusion American crew used many persuasion techniques in order to attract men to their products. However, when the buyers realize a hair product isn’t their solution they will turn away from their product.