First, the paper provides the reader with the general description of the poster. Second, it goes on to mention every detail in the prospect of the named criteria. Third, the paper discusses the points regarding the poster’s impact on social values. In general, the paper takes into account morality and ethical behavior as two main criteria of advertising. Finally, the paper concludes the analysis by discussing Burger King’s poster effectiveness in terms of morality. The reader has an opportunity to get in touch with analysis which helps to conduct further research in the aspect of persuasive advertising. The paper represents the idea of taking into account social moral values and ethical standards of human performance.
Keywords: advertising, pattern, morality, society.
How Sex in Advertisements Affects Society Morality
Advertising plays a significant role in shaping social moral values. It influences on the sustainable development of psychological nature and emotional response to the diversity of phenomena running within society. Advertising is a reflection of human development demonstrating both the negative and positive sides of human activities. However, it is a fact that the contemporary world contains many examples of immoral and abusive advertisements which have a destructive impact on human nature. Burger King’s advertisement is one of the examples of projects which influenced the social perception of a hidden message dictated by the company. It is impossible to leave this advertisement unnoticed as long as it touches upon moral values, principles of ethical behavior, and standards of normal human performance. It cress-crosses standards of morality and attracts attention with its sharp influence on the society. The following poster is a focus of the paper which will analyze its peculiarities and impact on social morality.
Figure 1. Burger King’s Super Seven Incher (Burger King, 2009).
The presented advertisement aroused many critics in society. In general, the poster created a negative response from the public which considered it immoral. A deep analysis of the advertisement can give an insight into the social response and explain its negativity regarding the poster. The contemporary world is full of persuasive advertisements which formulate a vast segment of elements influencing on the set of moral values appropriate within the society (Bolatito, 2012). It is necessary to take into account three sides of the analysis including ethos, logos, and pathos. These three elements help to build a comprehensive nature of perception explaining the touching points between the poster and social moral values (Gross & Gonchar, 2014).
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Burger King’s poster has a reflection of ethos only in the form of its logo, which makes the poster credible and recognizable. It is an element which meets the company’s requirements of ethical behavior and represents an ethical side. In addition, it is the only element of ethics presented in the advertisement. The company uses text and perception of visual forms of promotion as a fundamental of the poster. In general, the main ethos side of the paper needs to prove credibility of the object. The analyzed advertisement supports this point in the form of logo. An ethical side of the advertisement is not deep enough to meet individuals’ moral values and principles. The company did not take enough attention to the ethical side of the advertisement. However, it took into account other elements, which made this advertisement catchy and appealing.
The majority of posters presented by the company formulate a powerful message through pathos. Burger King’s poster has an influence on individuals’ perception of the context through different elements. The first thing an individual might see is a woman’s head with a mouth wide open. It is a first element which makes this poster appealing to men. A seven-inch burger next to the woman’s head is another part of the poster which starts formulating a doubtful message brought by the company. As if an individual did not recognize the track of the company’s thoughts, the poster contains a slogan in its bottom saying "It’ll blow your mind away". The poster’s verbal penetration supports the point that eating a burger is equal to oral sex. This is the point which makes this advertisement immoral and unacceptable for distribution within the social segment. Burger King did not put any shame into its actions as long as it created a provocative poster being able to attract men to the delicious fast-food product. The focus of the poster has a sexual character which cannot be a standard of acceptable human perception and behavior. Pathos is an element of the advertisement which makes it edgy and eye-catching. Burger King successfully achieved the goal of making its advertisement noticeable and appealing (Miller, 2009). However, this form of pathos in advertising crosses the line of morality. A shameful message does not seem to bother Burger King along with its intention to attract more customers with the help of sex messages in the advertisement.
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In the aspect of logos, Burger King’s advertisement seems to satisfy the needs of social standards. First, the poster includes the price of the product. It encourages individuals to look at the poster and consider a future purchase of the product. Price is the focus of the decisions made by potential customers (Higgins & Walker, 2012). Second, the poster contains a description of the product’s ingredients. It takes place in the poster in order to inform the customer what they are going to pay for. The company also included a new name of the product – a "seven-incher". It made a product appealing and fresh for customer’s perception. At the bottom of the poster, it is possible to see the warning put by the company. It informs potential customers that a product may contain raw or undercooked ingredients. In this form, the company took care of informing its customers of a risk of finding raw meat. It is not a fact that the company makes low-quality products. It is a representation of the company’s care about its customers. It means that the company warns its customers in order to avoid misunderstanding.
In conclusion, it is possible to state that advertisement created by Burger King has a negative impact on social development. It reflects the negative influence of advertisement along with its immoral construction. In fact, the presented poster can be appealing to men. However, society does not find this advertisement useful or appropriate for distribution in masses. Thanks to the analysis of the poster, it became obvious that the company used the elements in advertising which should be intimate and personal. It is important to remember that posters penetrate the world everywhere. Children formulate a vast segment of the audience which can fall under the influence of advertising. It means that the company neglected the moral side of parent’s intention to teach their children to behave according to the social norms. Burger King also emphasized the sexual side of the advertising with the slogan and the product’s name. In general, all elements of the poster create a representation of shameful and immoral values. Finally, it is unacceptable to create an advertisement based on the sexual aspects of human development.
Advertising is a powerful instrument of persuasion. Burger King’s advertisement is a perfect example reflecting three elements including pathos, ethos, and logos. The paper analyzes the presented poster from three perspectives which focus on the moral values and ethical standards accepted in the society.
- The point of advertising
- The role of advertising in society
- Burger King’s provocative poster
- The general meaning of the poster
- Analysis of the poster
- Bolatito, O. (2012). Linkage between Persuasion principles and Advertising. New Media and Mass Communication, 8, 7-11.
- Burger King, (2009). Burger King’s Super Seven Incher – It’ll Blow Your Mind Away [Image].
- Gross, S. & Gonchar, M. (2014, Jan. 22). Skills Practice | Persuading an Audience Using Logos, Pathos and Ethos. The Learning Network.
- Higgins, C. & Walker, R. (2012). Ethos, logos, pathos: Strategies of persuasion in social/environmental reports. Accounting Forum, 36, 194-208.
- Miller, J. S. (2009, June 30). Critics Cringe at Ad for Burger King’s Latest Sandwich. FOX News Network, LLC.