Yes, I know you can't read the magazine I used to write this essay. You could look it up in the library if you really want to.
Real Simple Advertising
"Life made easier." This is the claim of Real Simple magazine, designed for the sophisticated, classic, work-and-family oriented woman. Everything about this magazine screams simple and easy. From unstylized fonts to uncluttered pictures, Real Simple aims to organize and simplify a life on the go, for the woman who needs to find a way to get it all done and look good doing it. This is even more apparent in the many advertisements found in the pages of the September 2006 issue of Real Simple magazine. The advertisements of Real Simple target the classic, sophisticated women by their appeal to fashion, family, and convenience.
One of culture codes for the classic, sophisticated woman is the need to always look her best, especially in the office. She must dress to impress, whether at the office or around town. Of the first ten advertisements in the September 2006 issue for Real Simple magazine, five of them depict a major designer or store that sells classic fashions with minimal trend influence. These stores and designers cost more but are worth their weight in gold, because of the versatility of their products. Classic fashions are incorporated into any trend, and therefore can flit from trend to trend without the worries of buying a whole new wardrobe.
The advertisement for Banana Republic on pages two and three is a perfect example of this. Straightforeward photography on the first pages shows a woman leaving the scene showing only her leg, wearing a black dress flat and swinging a leather bohemian style handbag, also in black, as she leaves. On the opposite page a model wears a black A-line skirt and white button down shirt with a wide black belt, however the central focus of the camera is the skirt and belt. We never see the model's face or even a majority of their posture. Splayed in the center of the advertisement in unmistakable white lettering is the store's name: "Banana Republic." The classic colors of black and white, along with the classic styles of A-line skirts and simple, wearable flats appeal to the refined, career-oriented woman. The trend influence is seen in the wide black belt and the bohemian style of the purse, which mixes new with tried-and-true styles for a trendy, sophisticated look; perfect for the workplace and in the city.
The advertisers of Real Simple also appeal to skin fashion, or cosmetic use among their target demographic. Of the first ten major advertisements, four of them are for cosmetic companies such as Estee Lauder, and Loreal. These are typical cosmetic advertising, with the beautiful model on one side and the product on the other side. What is different about these advertisements is not how they look, but what they say. Instead of simply advertising a lipstick or foundation, the culture code of youth-is-more-desirable-than-age is deeply ingrained in every advertisement.
Real Simple cosmetics advertisers appeal to the older woman who still want to look youthful. The Maybelline advertisement on pages ten and eleven advertises "Instant Age Rewind Cream Foundation," is a perfect example of this. One one side is a head shot of a model who is being presented in a timeless way by wearing natural looking makeup and non-distracting diamond stud earrings. On the opposite page is the product shown both in the bottle the consumer would buy, and as a liquid so as to show all the colors the foundation comes in. "Maybelline" is stated across the bottom, running the length of both pages. Unlike the Banana Republic ad, there are several sentences explaining the product in the Maybelline advertisement. Sentences reading, "Helps renew suppleness for firmer, younger looking skin," and "Get younger looking skin instantly!" impress on the target reader, a woman in their early thirties, that "Instant Age Rewind Cream Foundation" is the perfect product for them.
The cultural code of the wife keeping the home still pervades our American culture, and is also found within the pages of Real Simple. Despite the increasing amount of women in the workplace, advertisers still see women connected to the home, and rightly so. Today, a wife works a nine to five job, and is still expected to be involved with her children's lives, keep the home, and caring for her husband. Time is always in short supply, and advertisers such as Dyson, Honda, and Samsung take advantage of this modern fact of life.
Dyson appeals to the homemaker's, and working-woman's, desire to shorten cleaning time. The Dyson ad is simply a black page with white and gray lettering and a small side view of a Dyson vacuum cleaner in the bottom right hand corner, which provides the only color for the page. The statement is, "You wouldn't buy a car that loses power the first time you drive it. So why buy a vacuum that clogs the first time you use it? Other vacuums begin to clog and lose suction as you use them. A Dyson never does." Essentially the ad states, "Dyson will reduce your vacuuming time, because we don't ever lose suction," implying that the wife or mother would have more time for other items and activities that need her attention.
The Honda advertisement appeals to the mother who has children involved in everything. Spanning two pages, several family rooms are first shown with the caption reading, "Family Room." The opposite page shows the interior of the Nissan Quest from an aerial view, emphasizing the roominess of the minivan. The caption next to the aerial picture reads, "Family Room2.0," implying a upgrade from a physical family room inside a house. This advertisement implicitly states there will not only be room enough for all the family as she drives them to and fro, but they will also be able to spend time together as a family in the Nissan Quest even though they are not inside their physical home. In the chaotic lives of modern Americans, every mother seeks to spend more time with her family, and Honda has "found" a way to accomplish this while being on the go.
A Samsung advertisement for the new SilverCare washer, tells the mother, "Samsung's revolutionary SilverCare washer uses silver ions in cold water to eliminate 99.9 of bacteria in clothes. And because it sanitizes in cold water, it helps preserve clothes and save energy." The implication is there will be less trips to the department store for clothes, the energy bill will be less, and that blouse you wear every week will always look like and feel new. The sleek, modern design of the washer dryer duo, raised on economical and usable drawers so the launderer does not hurt their back appeals aesthetically to the woman reader of Real Simple. A beautiful looking machine that works well is the desire of any homemaker.
The advertisements of Real Simple also appeal to the woman seeking convenience in their lives. With the hectic fascination with work, home, and doing it all, there is little time left for women to spend on themselves. Advertisers use the situation of "getting away from it all" in their advertisements often, in an attempt to connect their product with convenience and relaxation. Because even if the reader makes time for herself, there is always the desire for more time to rest and recharge from the stressors of day to day life. If the connection is made by the consumer, there is the real possibility of brand loyalty.
The Wal-Mart Pharmacy advertisement is a brilliant example of this. In this single page ad, there is a picture of a woman laying down, relaxing on grass with her date book, cell phone, and other personal effects laying beside her as she ignores them. Below this photograph like picture is a prescription for "15 minutes of whatever." In an informative paragraph, it is stated, "Order your prescriptions at get a few extra minutes a day." In other words, you will not have to keep track of your prescriptions, we'll do that for you, so you can take some time for yourself and relax for a bit. This is a crucial service for women who do not have time to stop at the corner pharmacy and chat with the neighborhood pharmacist. While many will not have time to stop to order prescriptions, many working women will multi-task at their computers, and would be able to order many products online, not the least of which are their prescriptions.
The California Closets advertisement also suggests the idea of "let us organize and simplify your life, while you do something else." In this single page advertisement, There is a female model seated on a bed, with ear phones on, holding an electric guitar, which is plugged into an amplifier. On top of the amplifier, is a sound board where two iPods are plugged in. Within the picture of the small bedroom, what eventually catches your attention is the open closet that is custom built and organized simply and plainly for easy access to shoes, shirts, and accessories. The custom builds of California Closets are designed around the client, and how they live. The company's aim is to make clothes more organized for their clients so they have less to worry about, freeing time for the more important things of life.
According to Jib Fowles, there are fifteen basic appeals of advertising. Real Simple's model of advertising appeals to many of these appeals: the need for achievement, prominence, attention, autonomy, escape, etcetera. It is through these appeals that the central focus of the advertisers comes out: Every advertisement in the Real Simple magazine is formulated to encourage an aspect of the sophisticated woman's life that is usually bypassed for other things. Every woman desires to look her best, and the older a woman gets the more she focuses on the timeless styles that will make any fashion season viable. Every working wife desires to take care of her family, and encouragement towards more family time catches her divided attentions. Specialized products that reduce household duties and promote more free time and family time, help to create the brand loyalty that many companies desire from the older female demographic. The advertisers that advertise in Real Simple magazine appeal to women's desires and needs for a better life, a livable life, for a "life made easier."