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Can 'Real Life' Survive in Advertising?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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In advertising, life and society are blown up to be bigger than what they actually are. The themes of luxury, self-worth, belonging, and sex fill the offline and online channels. Much of the advertising we all see is meant to show us how our lives can be improved by the goods and services that are available. That makeup you see will make your face even prettier. That deodorant will make you smell more manly, or bring out the scent of man you have.

So, if advertising is meant to show you how your life can be, can advertising that shows you how your life is be effective?

The advertising under the most scrutiny in this mold is fashion and beauty, especially targeted at women. No doubt the fashion advertising went out of control, showcasing women and photos that were not only unattainable, but also unhealthy. But should the advertising scale back a little to make the theme of glitz and glam achievable — with effort — or should it do a 180° and tell women that this fashion or beauty product will show the real you, as you are?

Ah, the balancing act.

Now, let's be clear. There is indeed something awesome about being comfortable with the way we look, feel, act, and interact. In our opinion, "keeping a simple eye" is the way to go. But when it comes to advertising, can simplicity and life as we know it be the most appealing message? 

What happened to life as we wanted it to be?

The trend will continue to show people in everyday situations, looking like everyday people. It's not a bad thing, it is just interesting to see a society that is moving away from advertising's old theme of continual progress; the "American Dream," where anyone could become rich, beautiful, and loved. A place where people can own property and climb the social and commercial ladders. 

Now advertising is reflecting what our society thinks. 

"We like where we are. I'm just trying to be me."

And so it goes.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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