Online Maybelline Cosmetic Ad

This Ad was used as in a banner ad format.

Maybelline’s banner ad- Explosive Eyes with Ruby Rose touches on a key semiotic concept- metaphor. By using a young thin and by society’s view ‘attractive’ female it aims to make a connection between beauty and being trendy and the Maybelline product. Sean Hall (2007) in his book This Means This This Means That makes a similar argument for the commercial for Chanel. He says that Carole Bouquet is the signifier, the linking notion is the abstract concept of beauty and elegance and the signified is the object, or the perfume that is being advertised (p. 38). In a similar way the signifier is Ruby Rose, the linking notion is beauty and being trendy, and the signified is the eye shadow.

In this Maybelline ad the model is not an average looking woman. Instead she is very thin and what the creators the ad would view and beautiful. I do not think there is much different in this ad then from make up ads of almost  fifty years ago. If we look at this older advertisement from Maybelline (seen below) we see the same themes of beauty being signified by a thin white woman with short brown hair.

This banner ad and the vintage ad touch on another subject – that the ideal woman wears make.  The entire ad is about how she is being made up and that will re-invent her as a woman who is beautiful and following the trends. Jean Kilbourne in her article “Beauty and the Beast of Advertising”(  makes some insightful observations. She points out that the entire point of cosmetic ads is to create an artificial image. More than one million dollars is spent every hour on cosmetics. “A woman is conditioned to view her face as a mask and her body as an object, as things separate from and more important than her real self, constantly in need of alteration, improvement, and disguise. She is made to feel dissatisfied with and ashamed of herself, whether she tries to achieve “the look” or not. Objectified constantly by others, she learns to objectify herself”.

Hall, Sean.(2007). This Means This This Means That, A User’s Guide to Semiotics. London. Lawrence King Publishing

This entry was written by tonidibona and published on March 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm. It’s filed under Semiotics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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