Kristin’s Blog

Research Paper Outline

I. Opening

*a. Discuss advertisements in general as targetting women & sexuality

*b. Focus in on Clairol Herbal Essences

*c. Thesis: Clairol Herbal Essences advertising strategies use sexual appeal to gain marketing attention, meanwhile taking the focus off of the actual product being sold.

II. History of Clairol (Reference #1)

*a. First only produced hair die

*b. The name Herbal Essences- focuses in on the organic basis of the product.

III. Ads (within Clairol) that appeal to sexuality

*a. The commercials with the orgasmic sounds (Reference #2)

III. Ads play on sexual emotions…response to paragraph II

*a. Explain why this works (Reference #3)

*b. Explain how this works

*c. subliminal messaging in advertisements (may expand into two paragraphs)

IV. Ads target women to attract men’s attention

*a. Describe ads

*1. physical appearance

*2. similarities

*3. differences from other ads

V. Sex Roles in ads

*a. Social Learning Theory (Reference #5)

*1. Mostly focus on women, but also compare men

*2. Show how this relates to Clairol Products

VI. Ads target younger girls

*a. Britney Spears as spokewoman for campaign (Reference #4)

*b. Sexuality incorporated

VII. The loss of the product being sold

*a. Product is dramatized

*b. Describe other types of ads that dramatize products

*1. Differences

*2. Similarities

VIII. Clairol Products differences in marketing

*a. The actual product being sold

*b. “Organic Experience”

*c. Differences in the presentation of ads

*c. Differences in the target group of ads

IX. Conclusion

*a. Summarize key points in thesis

*1. The sexuality of Clairol Ads

*2. Loss of product being sold

*b. Reiterate other key points

*1. Women as target groups

*1. How Clairol ads and ads as a whole have changed over time


Research Paper

My research paper is going to be on Clairol Herbal Essences. I’m going to focus on the sexual campaign whose slogans include “A totally organic experience” and “I’ve got the urge to Herbal”.

My argument: Clairol Herbal Essences’s advertising strategies include exploiting women as sexual beings and using sexual appeal to gain marketing attention. When compared to advertising strategies of the past, the basic function of what is advertised is lost and sexual appeal is the main component of marketing. This technique demonstrates how society has changed to an appearance dominated society in which the focus rests in the appearance and appeal of the advertisement rather than the actual product being sold.

So far, I expect to find more advertisements and campaigns that exloit sexuality as a way to gain attention. One of the sources I found discuessed the campaign that uses pop icon, Britney Spears, singing the tune “I’ve got the urge to Herbal”. This advertisements focuses in on the sexual appeal that women can relate to, and after the connection is made they are more inclined to purchase the product. Another source that I found, discussed the sexuality of the commericials involving fake orgasms in which women would proclaim “Yes! Yes! Yes!”. This is yet another way sexaulity is incorporated to a product as unsexual as shampoo and conditioner.

I still need to do more research on the appearance of the ads. So far I have found ads that state “I don’t need your attention…but, then again, it never hurts to get it” and “Until now you’ve only fantasized about it being this intense”. A lot of opinions of mine are generated from the slogans and presentations of the ads. However, back up support to these opinions is my next step in research for my paper.

Second Reading Questions for Freire

1. According to Freire, the “problem-posing” class is one in which the educator is merely a creator with the students rather than a creator of the students. Therefore, the role of the students is no longer a passive one. When placing this type of educational method in an english class, the students work with the teacher in discussions. They argue back and forth, proving that no one way of thinking is superior. In the atmostphere of a math class, problems can be attempted and solved in more than one distinct way. The “problem-posing” educational approach is one in which communication is encouraged and thoughts and ideas are liberated, instead of restrained. The “authentic form of thought and action”does not consider abstract ideas, instead it focuses on concrete images and no freedom of knowledge. The term “reflection” refers to the knowledge that is given out from what is believed. According to this definition, teachers should allow their students to think creatively on their own so that their “reflections” may bear new ideas and theories that may otherwise have been restrained in an authentic form of education.

“Conscious of Consciousness”…I am taken back to a time when I was in psychology class and had to write a paper about my dreams. Because of this realization that is existant in the banking concept of education, I could better understand how the things that I view in my world, whether it is in dreams or not, are my own perceptions of reality, no one else’s. This helped me to write my paper because, since my dreams were mine only, no one else could share the same experience. Although people view the world each day in much of the same aspects as I do, no two visions are exactly alike.

2. The term “praxis” refers to a custom and according to the educational system this goes along with the whole banking system in which individuals are not encouraged to come up with new theories but to practice and learn existing customs. As part of this system, students feel alienated. It is not until they are granted freedom of thought and expression that they can truly avoid this type of educational alienation.

3. I don’t think that Friere enacts his own principles of “filling” students or reader minds like deposits in the bank. I feel that he is stating what he has theorized, and instead he is trying to open our minds to be more revolutionary and free. He offers these new ideas of the problem-posing method in an attempt to change the way in which we approach education. However he states ahead of time how these teachings are embedded into students minds. Thus, this being said, Freire hopes to “fill” the readers minds with knowledge that he or she can determine whether they want to follow or develop their own ideas from.

Research Paper- start of research

I’m going to focus on Clairol advertisements for my research paper. To narrow my research even more, I’m going to focus on hair products (Herbal Essences) because they are very widely marketed. My reasoning is explained in previous blog!

So far some research I have done…
Clairol’s Influence on American Beauty and Marketing

I’ll have whatever she’s having

Clairol joins forces with Britney Spears in an effort to sell more shampoo to teenagers

Research Paper Topics


When thinking about a research topic on an product, the first thing that came to my mind was all of the shampoo ads, like Herbal Essences. This probably came to my mind because there are SO many! The ads nowadays seem to target all women, whether it is women with dry hair, frizzy hair, too thick, too thin, too straight, too curly. This makes me think of the breast advertisement that implies that no type of breast is acceptable. Women must strive for perfection. The Herbal Essences advertisements today, especially the commercials, emphasize the almost sexual feeling that comes out of the feeling of having great hair. The commercials would have women in the shower screaming “oh yes, yes, yes”. I thought that these commercials were funny, but interesting because they were getting people to buy a product as non sexual as shampoo by appealing to their sexual side. Also, the ads present a lot of celebrities who most likely have a hair stylist by their side.

Bordo’s Second Reading Questions

*1. Susan Bordo’s lengthy essay certainly emphasizes her own opinions and reactions as well as the ideas of others. I found that her essay was prolonged at certain times, especially ones in which she emphasized a lot of emotion. For example, one of her longer segments, Male Decorativeness in Cultural Perspective focuses on the history of male representations in the media. She discusses the emergence of the middle class in the nineteenth century. She then goes into World War II and how independence is celebrated in women, thus creating the notion that “men act” and “women appear”. She finally discusses the issue of emancipation of African Americans and how their styles were incorporated into advertisements. This section seemed very informative, yet still emphasized Bordo’s opinions. In this segment, Bordo also shifts direction many times. Although the essay is rather extensive, it is broken down into subsections, then further broken down, as in the case of the history of male decorativeness. This is a way in which Bordo can organize her text into a comprehensive essay, rather than a blog of ideas. This type of relief to the text worked for me because it kept my attention. However, I did think her points were a little overstated in areas. this strategy of more rahter than less can be adaptable to writing. I suport this because a point can be over emphasized through repetition and example after example, as in Bordo’s essay. However, if a point is under emphasized and not enough support is presented to back it up , the argument may not be clearly understood or may be not be proved as a viable argument.

*2. Bordo’s essays are divided into many subsections. I noticed that she tended to start the sections with an argument or point she is trying ot make. Bordo also asks a lot of questions when discussing her argument. “How do male bodies in the ads speak to us nowadays?”…”Are American males just an anomalous species?” Bordo further emphasizes her point by expressing how the ad made her feel or what her reaction was to a particular idea. The ads seem to be arranged in a way that further emphasizes the previous subsections. For example, the first section discusses basically how men are displayed as sex symbols and the following section, Thanks Calvin, continues this argument by saying that the emergence of the new age of sexuality in ads was implemented by Calvin Klein. She further states that he did this in part due to his bisexuality that led him to explore the male body as a symbol of advertisement. Then the argument arises of the gayness of ads and how men are perceived in feminite ways. Therefore, through this example of how Bordo’s essay is organized, the reader can gain a basic insight into Bordo’s thoughts as well as a more general understanding of how she came to this assumption, which is attainable through pictures, and outright observations. The pace and rhythm of the text seems to be flowing, and the attitude is very cinical. The slowest section would be the backround and history section and the loudest would be the places where Bordo’s attitude becomes very passionate and she poses questions and concerns about certain ads. These “loud” aspects of the essay are placed throughout the text, not in one general area. This ads a dimension to the essay that makes it not so rigid and historical.

*3. Subject Postition: (affected by) gender, race, ethnicity, age, stereotypes, culture, religion, education, social class, beliefs, pre-conceived notions (symbolic complex)…etc.

All of these examples show how the dysjunction between self-conception and external judgement can be harsh. Bordo is most convincing when she proposes examples like a black man walking down a street and a white woman clutches her purse. My own subject positon does affect how I view others in society. I may look at a magazine ad and purchase a specific shampoo because the actress on the cover is of high class and of attractive appearance. “We may all have felt shame…”, Bordo states. I strongly agree with this idea because I have learned to imitate and act on ideas and images in the media, and I have seen people doing the same thing.

*4. (See my previous blog on the “Coca-Cola” advertisement!)

Comparing two advertisements (Coca-Cola)


The two advertisements for Coca-Cola are from two different time periods; the first one is from 1969 and the second from 2004. The first ad, like the Kotex ad from the 1950s, has a lot of writing. However the ad from 2004, has only the writing of the product and no real reference to the product. The first ad shows the practicality of drinking coke because it shows a “person on the go”, also known as the workers. This is very relevant to the time period because the men were naturally the “bread winners” and went off to work. The man is also wearing a suit showing the rise in business/corporate jobs, unlike the once industrial society. The second advertisement shows the pleasure and entertainment one will receive from the drink. The only writing that is in the ad states “Always Coca-Cola”. This shows that every-time the group wants to have fun or dance, they drink coca-cola to get their caffeine flowing and their bodies moving.

After viewing these ads, the argument that can be made is that back in the late 1960s, ads targeted the working class and the everyday consumer. However, ads several years ago and today target the emotions and outright consequences that a product will have on consumer. “Because you drink coke, you will be happy and able to enjoy the company around you…If you use Kotex, you will be feminine and intriguing to others”. These assumptions are what drive the consumers in today’s society and are the leading force behind the exploitation of certain products. Thus, the value system in today’s ads are about appearance, pleasure, and enjoyment, and the value system of the 1969 ads are about practicality. The ads can be deconstructed by Douglass because this idea of deconstructing uncovers the truth behind the image. Therefore to deconstruct each image, one would find the underlying truths and motives of each time period. The motives have changed over time and inevitably show that the consumer driven society has changed in how products are viewed.

Analyzing Advertisements (Kotex)

The two advertisements for Kotex present the product in unique ways. The first advertisement from the 1950s depicts the practicality of the Kotex pads. The pictures are of everyday occurrences, back in the 1950s. The people viewing the advertisement have to read the captions underneath the pictures in order to gain insight as to how Kotex will help them. The comfort, safety, and discreteness of Kotex is emphasized in the three pictures. Unlike the first advertisement, the more recent advertisement pictures a single woman. The woman, Cybil Sheppard, is attractive, thin, and blond. This ad draws attention because of the intriguing face that she makes, as well as the mist that comes from her body, which represents the womanly smell that will attract others in a positive way, much like the ad is doing to people. This ad only touches on one aspect of the product, rather than many like the 1950s advertisement.

According to the specific time periods and the preconceived knowledge that each person has of these time periods, the advertisements can be better analyzed. There is clearly a shift in what is presented in the media. The more recent ad depicts a woman, and is literally a picture of this woman. The 1950s ad shows cartoon characters. Also, the recent ad of the woman clearly is using the woman as a means of appeal. As a contrast to the earlier ad, ads today are much more appearance motivated. Not only are they generated by the ideal image, but this takes away from the original product. Where as the woman in the picture seems to have nothing to do with the product, the women depicted in the earlier ad all show the different ways in which Kotex can create a normal lifestyle, without interruptions. “The way we see if affected by what we know or what we believe,” (Berger 134). Berger’s assumptions holds true in this situation because, as people view these advertisements they are influenced by upheld beliefs and motives present in today’s society. If the 1950s ad was displayed today, people most likely would not put in the time to read each caption and appreciate the meaning. However, the ad of the woman draws attention to it and therefore, people observe it more closely. I don’t think that the reason for this is that people are more self indulged and conscious of appearance, however. I believe this is because of the shift in advertisements that have made advertisements promoting sexuality and appearance acceptable.

“Narcissism as Liberation” Questions for a Second Reading

1. Douglass views women as being very self-indulgent and only caring about themselves and their appearance. She uses witty descriptions of women like “…snuggling with their white angora cats while wearing white silk pajamas” (Douglass 117) to make the reader visualize this stereotypical view of women. Douglass stresses the idea of narcissism, saying that women have taken on a narcissistic personality. This personality is “other-directed” and consumed by self doubt. The many images of women that Douglass expresses poses women as self-absorbed in their own beauty. She discusses how women strive for perfection, whether it is thinner thighs, less wrinkles, or flawless skin. Douglass criticizes women saying that this strive for perfection almost makes them look silly and less perfect than before. “…the various forms of white goop that we [women] slopped on our faces had amazing names that cloaked the products in mystery were keeping supposedly technophobic and techno-dumbo females engaged and credulous” (Douglass 123). This stereotype of women is one that Douglass spends a lot of time discussing. She portrays women to be liberated in the sense that they are free to try more things. However, they are less intellectually capable to make decisions to try new things; therefore, they remain “techno-dumbos”.

2. Douglass uses many different types of interpretive strategies in her writing, including lingo. She talks extensively about women’s liberation and how narcissism has played a role in this movement. She also incorporates the “narcissistic personality” to this idea of liberation. This is the self-absorbed way in which women act. Douglass stresses how the media and advertising is responsible for determining the meaning of women’s bodies. Unfortunately, the media can interpret women any way they like. According to Douglass, this is done through representations of appearance and self-indulgent behavior. A woman’s personality and individuality is at stake here. Because of these media representations of the “ideal” woman, women lost their own sense of self when they try to be more like the woman in the magazine or the woman on tv.

Alternate Representations of Women in the Media


Tanning salon advertisement:

As Douglass expressed in her essay, too much emphasis is placed on beauty rather than on health. Women are portrayed as having to use certain products, or in this case, paying for a bronze glow, to be attractive. The girl in this advertisement is blonde, attractive, and smiling. However, no where in this advertisement does it show the effects of UV rays on the skin. What if Hollywood Tans had showed a wrinkled older woman with sun spots and skin cancer? The public would certainly have gotten the bare truth of the matter. However, the tanning salon would have lost customers and ultimately would have lost revenue. “The key to high profits was to emphasize beauty over health…” (Douglass 127). The media has made appearance and overall physical attractiveness marketable. Therefore, this advertisement will gain attention because other women may think that if they go tanning or use a tanning oil to enhance their skin color, they will be happy and attractive. (


Victoria’s Secret advertisement:

When Victoria’s Secret came out, women were presented as having flawless figures, including long legs, tight abs, and most importantly big breasts. However, this is not how most women are built. According to Douglass, “A 1993 survey reported that while 6 percent of women wished their breast were either bigger or smaller [in order to live up to the model standard], a whopping 72 percent wished they had ‘better thighs’ ” (Douglass 130). These model representations of the ideal woman, because not many fit into the dimensions, adds to the level of insecurity of women. Ultimately, women may resort to treatments in order to equate to ideal body type presented in the media. Also, Victoria’s Secret presents women as goddess angels. Therefore, if a woman looks like these models, they are more femine and powerful. (


Smoking advertisement:

This “Camel” cigarettes advertisement is very hypocritical. Thw woman on the ad says “I would walk a mile for a Camel”. Ironically, smoking attributes to health problems, cancers, and other effects. The advertisement shows that the woman is in relatively good shape. “There have been a few clumsy starts in the 1970s, like the Virginia Slims “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby” campaign, which equated liberation with the freedom to give yourself lung cancer” (Doulass 117). Both of these cigarette ads show how women and the overall public are misinformed of the actuality of certain products. However, due to the actuality of products, many products or businesses would lose profit because our society has made these things acceptable. (