BONGO....Always American Made
This ad for Bongo jeans is from the April issue of Seventeen magazine. The ad gives no written description of the product. Only symbols and hidden messages are used to draw in the reader and stir up interest in the product.
There is an attractive young couple engaged in what appears to be a strip-poker game. The man is obviously losing. He is apparently nude behind a card table, wearing only his shoes, with his jeans draped over him. His briefs are on the floor under the table, reinforcing the fact that he is nude. He has a look of disbelief on his face, but at the same time, he looks happy and content. It is almost as if he is thinking, "Oh no, now I am nude. What will I do now?".
The young lady has obviously not lost a single hand. She is fully clothed and seems to be in total control of the game and her life. This makes sense since the magazine the ad appears in is geared towards teenage girls. She sits in a somewhat sensual pose, leaning forward, with a look of confidence and achievement on her face. She obviously knows that her hand is a winner, and that her companion will soon be without even his shoes.
On the table are two glasses of milk. This is one of the most powerful images in the ad. I believe they are there to counteract the sexual overtones and idea of risk-taking in the ad. Milk is included as if to say, "Even though these two young people are probably going to have sex when the game is finished, they are wholesome, good people." Milk works much better than using soft drinks, for example. If the makers of the ad had used cola for instance, the reader could not have really known if the liquid in the glasses was cola, dark beer, or liquor. By using milk, the people who produced the ad made certain that the reader could make no mistake about what the glasses contain.
Surrounding the border of the ad are playing cards. I believe they represent the idea of gambling and a "Devil may care" attitude. The cards convey to the reader that its all right to gamble and take chances. They seem to say, "If you wear our jeans, you can take chances and still be in control." Teen age girls are looking for this type of message, so this ad is very effective in relaying this thought.
At the bottom of the ad in large yellow type is "BONGO..Always American Made". This reassures the us that these jeans are not made in some third world sweatshop. They are good, wholesome, American made jeans. Along with the glasses of milk, the ad is telling the reader, "Its OK! These two are good, clean American young people who just happen to be playing strip poker in their Bongo jeans."
This ad is a classic example of how companies use visual images and hidden messages to sell their products. This ad definitely tells the teen age female readers of this magazine, "Buy Bongo jeans and you too can be a risk taker who is in total control!", without using any text except for the name brand of the product.