If Ads Were Realistic

By: Madelyn Starritt

We are constantly immersed in media and advertising; getting bombarded with messages even if we don’t want to. These messages often feature unrealistic beauty standards and try to convince us that we will not be happy unless we buy these products. This constant intake of messages and images has an effect on us and it is not for the better. These companies are just trying to make money and will do whatever it takes to do so. Below I have recreated popular ads that are often directed toward women to be more realistic.

  1. Razor Ads
    Someone Shaving in a bathroom
    Shaving in a regular bathroom with hairy legs because that is how it usually happens.

    Advertisements trying to sell razors is what inspired me to do this project. Every single ad or commercial I have seen with a woman shaving her legs, she is completely hairless. It makes sense to show the results of what a product can do but shaving hairless legs is kind of crazy. My ad has a realistic slogan because seriously all razors work pretty much the same. It emphasizes the fact that things are made in different colors and sold to women usually for a more expensive price. It is ridiculous. There are also bottles of soap and shampoo in the background because who doesn’t have these in their normal bathroom where they most likely shave? The perfect, wonderfully lit fake TV commercial bathrooms is who. Also, it is difficult to see because they are blonde but there is actual hair being shaven off and in places that have not been shaved yet.

  2. Mattress Ads
    Someone stretching in bed after just waking up with a giant bear next to her
    Sleeping isn’t always sexy and glamorous and the ads don’t have to be either.

    Ads for mattresses often feature beautiful women who sleep in a single dainty position and apparently wear flawless makeup and cute pajamas when sleeping. This does not happen in real life, at least not in my experience. People don’t wear makeup to bed on purpose and hair is not beautifully styled when just crawling out of bed. They also don’t often have blankets on this mattress they are supposed to be sleeping on. I mean, where do you hide from the monsters? Completely unrealistic. My ad features myself and my sleeping buddy, Charlie the giant bear. Messy hair, no makeup, and one of the many comfy shirts I usually sleep in. This is pretty much what I look like in the morning but usually with messier hair. In case you are wondering, the pillow behind the bear has Natalie Portman’s face on it, one of my husband’s purchases (oh, and he sleeps in the bed with us too).

  3. Underwear Ads
    Someone wearing underwear and a T-shirt.
    We shouldn’t be ashamed of what we look like in our underwear. Including body fat and stretch marks.

    Almost every ad I have seen for underwear is beautiful people in sexy poses. It’s like they are trying to get us to think that we will look like the retouched models in the photos if we buy that brand of undergarments. Much like the razors, there is a variety of products but they all do the same job decently. Mostly these ads, like those by Victoria’s Secret, help bring out my own body insecurities because I do not look like these women and make me feel bad about all the money I have to shell out just for underwear and boob holders. My ad shows the natural body of someone complete with her unedited skin, stretch marks and all. It highlights the underwear without using sex to try and glamorize the product. Most of the underwear ads I have seen it seems like they are more for men to ogle instead of trying to convince women that they need to buy them. I’m not saying men can’t buy women’s undergarments but most of the ads are oversexualized and not necessarily marketed to the main audience that would be buying them.

  4. Pad Ads
    A pad with red liquid to imitate blood
    Bloodless periods don’t exist.

    Let’s talk about period products. Most of us have probably seen the ads of ridiculously happy women frolicking around in all white clothing without a care in the world. Because somehow the tampons we use influences our happiness. I mean, come on, really? The only happiness tampons bring is the reassurance that we aren’t pregnant because we get to use them and they are less messy than other products. Then there are the advertisements for pads. The ones where they pour mysterious blue liquid on the pad to show how absorbent it is. Why blue? It is a period product they are trying to sell, are people so afraid of periods that they can’t use red liquid to sell period products. For some reason, they are trying to get us to buy a period product without reminding us of periods. That is utterly ridiculous. My ad shows a real-life pad soaking up life liquid that looks like blood, the actual substance this product will be absorbing. Oh, but ads like this can make people feel uncomfortable and gross them out. Well, I am really not sorry. Periods are uncomfortable. It is blood gushing out of a human body for days on end, often gets in the way of things and ruins our underwear and clothes. So, I think people can deal with seeing a realistic ad to sell period products.

  5. Shampoo Ads
    Before and after of using shampoo and conditioner
    Shampoo and conditioner is soap for our hair. It can’t perform miracles but can make it cleaner.

    There is what seems like an endless supply of hair products, every time I go down the shampoo isle I get overwhelmed with all the choices. They claim to make our hair shiny and healthy and luscious and just about everything else. Many products live up to these claims but not to the extent shown in the commercials. The shiniest, softest looking hair I have ever seen is on celebrities in hair commercials. These results could be possible if the products are used over a period of time but, it still won’t look like the hair in these commercials. This is another way for us to try to attain almost impossible beauty standards. My ad shows before and after using shampoo and the only difference is it is cleaner and styled. It is not a magic transformation like they show in the commercials.

Products are not going to magically turn us into happy, successful, amazing people. Companies are trying to tell us that we won’t be happy or desirable if we don’t have these products, which is not true. Happiness doesn’t depend on things we have but it comes from within. These things might make us look better according to the messed-up beauty standards of US society but they aren’t going to make our lives better. These companies are trying to sell their products and will do whatever it takes to do so. So, let’s stop feeding this giant beast that makes us feel less of ourselves because we don’t look like the models in ads. Let’s stop pretending that only one type of person is beautiful because our differences are what make us unique and gorgeous and we don’t need products to change that or companies to tell us otherwise.

What ads do you think are unrealistic? Let us know in the comments!

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