The world of ladies and gentlemen has been surrounded by allure since its invention by the Victorians. Being regarded by these titles illustrated one’s social status and prestige.
The online fashion company Parisian Gentleman has maintained that same, age old sentiment. With the help of ad agency DLV BBDO in Italy, the company has aired its first commercial in late January. The spot was one that garnered a lot of attention and people have taken notice of its premise: a world without gentlemen is a world without ladies.
Note: The following video is NSFW for brief nudity.
I have a few thoughts about this, but because I’m an advertising major, I’ll divide my thoughts into two categories.
The Advertising Standpoint
This next sentence is about to alienate a lot of feminists, so beware. With the warning out of the way, I can see the idea that Parisian Gentleman was attempting to portray. While this ad is completely gendered, it’s important to keep in mind that the message is directed TO men, FOR men. With that in mind, I think the ad was successful in that regard. However, I didn’t get the connection between the ad’s message and the purpose of the company. The ad did not inform me of what Parisian Gentleman is. Before looking them up, I thought it was probably some upscale “gentlemen’s club” looking to boost their consumer base.
Now, of course, the whole idea behind ladies and gentlemen is heavily rooted in appearance and behavior to begin with. So, again, they nailed that on the head. I would have just liked to see men at least interacting with the women in the ad instead of having an all-women cast with a tagline at the end speaking to men.
The Feminist Standpoint
Before I get into the issues that I have with this commercial, I will start by saying that it was refreshing to watch a depiction of women that strayed away from the perfectly-polished, makeup-wearing robo women that are all too prevalent in mainstream media. I’m sure the shock value was high for those who aren’t used to seeing women in a more ‘natural’ state.
The only real issue that I have with this ad is the premise itself, that women would be less “ladylike” if there were no gentlemen. Now, it’s easy to get into an argument about semantics, so I’ll do my best to not even go there. If you asked 10 different people on the street what they thought “acting like a lady” means, you’d probably get 10 different answers. However, no matter how you personally interpret the premise, it leads back to the same thought process: that men set the stage for women’s behaviors.
So…what do you think? Did you enjoy the ad or not?