What if, when we interacted with advertisements, it was in a way that built us up? What if, after seeing an ad, we felt feeling empowered, validated, hopeful or even empathetic?
Unfortunately, that’s far from the case today. Advertisements are often designed to make us feel like we are inferior unless we buy a product or service or fit an unrealistic stereotype. Luckily, there is a new type of advertisement that has the potential to appeal to our shared humanity: branded content.
Branded content is a type of advertising that plays to people’s hearts and minds. It starts with human stories that are creatively and subtly linked to the benefits of a product or brand. The beauty of branded content is that it truly gives brands voices, and it allows advertising to focus on the positives and making powerful statements about the world. This is the type of work we enjoy most at Ezra Productions.
Advertisements like the one below from Victoria’s Secret take a toll on the way women view themselves, make them feel less than, ugly, not thin enough, alone, or just plain not meeting society’s ever-climbing standards. The ad is for “The Perfect Body,” a collection of bras and underwear that fit up to a “DDD.” We can all agree that not one of those models has anywhere close to a “DDD” let alone a body that is remotely easy or even healthy to obtain. Labeling that body type as “the perfect body” places an image in the minds of both men and women that this is what women need to look like to be “perfect,” and that is damaging to society. It’s also a lie. There is no such thing as “perfect body” and perpetuating that myth truly hurts people.
And it’s not just grownups who are suffering. Eating disorders among teenagers are disturbingly common, and girls as young as SIX are worrying about their weight. More than half of teenage girls use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives, according to the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC).
But don’t worry. We fixed it by adding in the facts.
OUT WITH THE OLD:
IN WITH THE NEW:
Take another look at our work on this Tom Ford ad below:
Are they selling summer totes or a physically-impossible-to-obtain thigh gap? Is there even a tote there, because it’s a little distracting looking at a woman with digitally lengthened limbs standing over the product.
At Ezra Productions, we believe that women should walk away from a brand’s advertisements feeling better about themselves and more compassionate towards others, not beating themselves up about what they had for lunch or for having that extra scoop of ice cream.
Our goal is to approach people authentically in a helpful way, rather than in a demoralizing way. We believe that subtly shaming people for not making time for their families or not making enough money or not being skinny enough should be part of the advertising past. We believe that the best way to reach people is to build them up. Help them. Educate them. Entertain them. Speak to them like humans. Approach them on their level, and have the goal be for people to walk away feeling more empowered, and associating that good feeling with the brand that paid for that piece of content.