The images that we have to look at day after day in advertisements invade our conscious minds are overpowering. These images eventually begin to control how we feel about others and ourselves. In their book Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers, authors Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon state, " there is perhaps no better field for semiotic analysis than advertising, for ads work characteristically by substituting signs for things, and by reading those signs you can discover the values and desires that advertisers seek to exploit (123)."" Exploit is a perfectly chosen word because exploit is exactly what advertisers try to do. They prey on innocence and try to make superfluous desires appear necessary. .
The largest three desires that advertisers commodify are class, race and sexuality. While searching for an ad to complete this assignment, I found one that attempts to sell all three of these images. Imagine yourself at the largest and hippest social venue of the season. You arrive at an upscale condominium complex in your best cocktail dress waiting for Mr. Right to come along and sweep you off your feet. A waiter in a monkey suit offers you a drink and before you realize what is happening you end up in the pool with a fellow partygoer. This is certainly unexpected, right? Well, "unexpected- is exactly what the advertiser's selling line is in this Bacardi Limon advertisement taken from a recent Cosmopolitan Magazine. .
The ad is promoting and attempting to sell a particular lifestyle. In this case, it is that of the heterosexual upper class. The setting of the party is the first piece of evidence in my case. The party being presented is obviously not a college kegger, but rather an evening cocktail party in an upscale neighborhood. The balcony of the condo overlooks the lit city, implying that everyone at the party is "higher- than the people of the city, both literally and symbolically.