September 24, 2008

Should magazine ads have a concious?

Lights! Cameras! Action! Will Vogue-India August issue reach its target market and/or satisfy their customer base via this ad? Vogue ads are famous for creating fantasy and illusion. From the magazine’s inception in the late nineteenth century to the present-Vogue has been the magazine to watch. The magazine has always set a photographic standard for its readers. But is that enough? Does Vogue need to start thinking about advertising with a conscious? Depends on who you ask; “the editorial spread was not just tacky, but downright distasteful” said Kanika Gahlaut, a columnist for the daily newspaper Mail Today based in the United States. “The magazine does not even bother to identify the subjects” of the photos, said Gahlaut, instead, Vogue names the brands of the accessories in the captions, and says they are worn by a lady or a man. Nearly half of India’s population—about 456 million people—live on less than $1.25 a day-according to figures released by World Bank and most will never accrue $1000 in their lifetime. The mud-hut chosen for this particular ad is also the location to the suicide of thousands of Indian farmers, because they were deep in debt.

Garments worn by the man and woman in the ad above are designed by Alexander McQueen, international designer, he is best known for his contrasting fashion sense with a touch of arts and crafts. McQueen’s clothing line cost range is $500 to $12,000. The umbrella in the ad is by Burberry, which cost $200. Vogue-India editor Priya Tanna’s response to critics about the August shoot: “Lighten up,” she said in a telephone interview. “Vogue is about realizing the “power of fashion” and the shoot was saying that “fashion is no longer a rich man’s privilege. Anyone can carry it off and make it look beautiful,” she said. Both Gahlaut and Tanna make valid points, however I agree with Tanna, Vogue’s first responsibility is to its audience. Their ads invite women to day dream, fantasize, relax, and shop.

Most Vogue models are paid very well, which raises the question was the “lady or man” in the Vogue-India ad paid for their efforts? If so, was the payment conducive with the value of the ad? *shrug* I’m not privy to that information, but I’m leaning towards, probably not. So if they weren’t paid, I’m wondering did they jump at the opportunity to be a part of the photo shoot, because it allowed them to be “pampered” for the day or week and live in a fantasy. And if that’s the case, well shouldn’t that be enough or should Vogue become more culture conscious? All comments are welcome.

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