Deconstruction of an Advertisement

Categories: Advertising

Every day we are flooded with countless ads which add to shaping and defining our world views. As a capitalist society ads are vital to attract the attention of the consumer. They are all over, whether it be a billboard, a business or a radio announcement, marketing reaches out and touches almost everybody living in our modern-day world. The effectiveness of an advertisement project has a substantial influence on the buyer.

Advertisements are carefully constructed to appeal to the customer in order to offer an item and to earn a profit.

An efficient advertisement appeals to the feeling of the consumer as "80% of decisions are affected by "dormant" emotions in the subconscious. "(...) through the innovative building of advertising campaign a consumers purchases are significantly affected. The CK one advertising campaign for the Calvin Klein brand is an excellent of the example of the idea and assembly needed in order to create a reliable advertisement.

Through the deconstruction of the CK one advertisement discovered in the April 2011 issue of Elle Canada it will be shown why the ad was developed, how it's utilized to grab the attention of its target audiences, and making use of covert messages and social issues that are being revealed.

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The target audience of the CK One advertisement is clearly directed towards females as it appears in a publication called Elle! Elle Canada has a 90% female readership (...) whose ages usually vary from a younger segment to a middle sector (18 to 34 and 35 to 54).

Elle Canada has a big age demographic due to the fact that their posts include a broad audience and the magazine contains ads that concentrate on the younger market along with advertisements focusing on middle aged women.

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Although Elle Canada has a large readership age range, the CK One ad seems to be targeting more straight the 18-24 and 24-35 age range. The ad includes a concentrate on social networks and a 'defiant' appearance which is typically directed towards the younger market.

Young people who are still questioning authority and who are still defining themselves will see the dark eye makeup and lassiez-fair ‘detached’ attitude of the model and feel attracted to the ad. Furthermore the ads target audience is aimed towards 18-34 year olds because it uses ‘technology’ to capture the audiences attention. The model is ‘trapped’ in the CK One box and in order to get in the box, the bottom left hand corner of the ad tells you that you can “Download the App at CKONE. COM”.

The ad is definitely towards the 18-34 age group because ‘getting in the CK box’ with a rebellious young woman is ridiculous notion unless you’re a young person with very little responsibility. Finally, although the spending power of the older age groups is greater (Diversity: Targeting the Ever-Changing Marketplace, p35) it is trendy to market to and advertisers remain youth obsessed. The targeted income level for this advertisement seems to be for those from the middle-middle, or upper-middle class. Calvin Klein is an iconic American brand that is moderately expensive and is featured in respected magazines.

The median income of and Elle Canada reader is around $70 000 (... ) therefore is it logical to assume that Calvin Kline is directing its ads at those who are willing to spend a little more. This advertisement would also be directed towards the Emulator-Achiever or Emulator groups. Emulators are young and impressionable people who will buy products to help them fit in (Duncan, p75). Emulators would be attracted to this ad because it offers the chance to fit in and join the CK One box; all you have to do is download the app!

On another note, this ad would also be directed towards Emulator-Achievers because this group feels more comfortable with uptown brands such as Tiffany, Gucci or Stella Mcarthy and Calvin Klein is a very well known and respected American Brand. This brand offers prestige and it fits in with typical ideas of American wealth. Finally it appears that this advertisement is slightly more targeted for Caucasian’s. The model is Caucasian and there isn’t a single background model or object indicating the inclusion of any other racial groups.

Although minorities represent a huge market and are predicted to exceed 1. 5 trillion in buying power, ( Diversity: targeting the ever changing market) Calvin Klein still uses mainly Caucasian models. Despite the fact that the ad features a white woman it could still be directed to a variety of racial groups because the model doesn’t necessarily represent a stereotypical white american girl; almost anyone can be a rebellious youth regardless of your ethnicity. Although her beauty and figure represent the social ideal her ebellious look is not necessarily the ‘norm’ and therefore enables more people to relate to it. Determining the target audience enables us to better interpret and understand the construction of an advertisement. Based on a target market, advertisers use eight main elements to create an ad that speaks to the heart. Ads that create emotional appeal are based on these eight elements; models, setting, copy, sound, color, point of view and details (Duncan, p77). In terms of the CK One ad, the model that was chosen was a young white attractive looking female.

The model is in black lingerie and she is in a sexual pose. There is a hyper-sexualization of the model as her cleavage is very prominent and being pushed up against her bra. The models hair and makeup are messy with a ‘bed head’ look which suggest rebelliousness and late night partying which is considered both fun and exciting. Finally the facial expression of the model suggests a sexual and confident attitude. More over the model is very slim and her skin is flawless, her face is clear and her hair is blonde. The ‘perfection’ of the models skin and face reflect the ideals of society.

Despite the models dark makeup and ‘bed head’ look she is our societies ideal with her blonde hair and beautiful figure. These ideals that the ad is promoting are completely unrealistic for the average female and it creates body image issues and warps both female and males idea about what an average person should look like. Furthermore through the continual use of impossibly beautiful models our society becomes body obsessed and through this many women and men experience body image issues. The CK One ad has been specifically and ingeniously positioned to promote the preferred reading.

Most notable is the is the models physical position within the ad; her body, more specifically her cleavage, is framed between her hands which are pressed against the screen. The positioning of the models hands also frames the word, fuck, which has been discreetly positioned within the ad. The F is seen by the table which is cut off by the models buttocks, the U is seen in the models cleavage and the CK is to the right of the model, at chest level. Furthermore, through the technical code of camera angles the model is close-up with a slight low angle.

These technical codes suggest power and intimacy with the model. The Ck One ad could be promoting their products by relating the suggested feelings of power and sexuality with the purchase of the product. The oppositional reading who be through a critical point of view that it is impossible to obtain any type of lasting feeling with a purchase of a material item. As for the captions, they are the only thing that has any coloring which draws attention to them. The most noticeable caption in big bold lettering that says CK One _Jeans_Underwear_Fragrance_ which is right next to the models cleavage.

This caption is necessary to inform the reader what is being advertised because the model is only wearing plain black underwear it would be likely to assume that it was the only product. On the bottom left-hand corner of the Ad is says “Get in the CKONE box >>Download the app at CKONE. com” this caption really allows us to tie in the key concepts of the ad. The Calvin Klein ad also employs a font that ads to the incorporation of digital media. Lastly the fifth line of writing on the bottom left-hand corner says “Scan Ad to Reveal More” which could be referring to the hidden message (the word fuck) within the ad.

Through the captions is it’s very clear that this Calvin Klein ad is trying to incorporate digital media and sex with the purchase of there products. In terms of the coloring of the advertisement, it is very unique because it supposed to represent screen to a computer or gaming device. The coloring is mostly black and white apart from the bright green which is used to draw attention to the captions. The color green is generally a calming color which represents wealth and well-being however it can also be used to symbolize envy or jealousy. The use of green indicates that Calvin Klein is a desired brand.

Furthermore the green coloring is also placed just above the models forehead, this use of specific placement of the color could indicate 1st level cropping in which a models forehead is removed. By covering the top part of the models head with a different color advertisers objectify the model and remove any signs of her intelligence. On another note, the lighting that is used is artificial however it ties in with the setting. The setting is white relatively bare room, which is the ‘Ck One box’. The only furnishings are a stool, a table, two wooden boxes and game console.

There is also a door with a visible knob; this indicates that the model is trapped in the ‘box’, however it is an exclusive place that you can get into- if you purchase the product and download the app. However this is where the oppositional reading come in; through the download of an ‘app‘ you will not enter the Ck one box you will not become a gorgeous model. The Ck One ad is trying to promote digital media therefore the bare setting could be used to represent whats behind your screen when you download the app. The limited settings also enable us to focus more closely on the model and the attitude she is giving.

Gender representation also plays a key role the preferred reading of this Ad. Although the model is selling lingerie there is an irrelevant sexualization of the model ( Duncan, p. 46) The bra and panties that are being advertised are relatively plain and not the focal point of the ad; instead the ad is marketing the models body. The models cleavage is pouring out of her bra which actually distracts the audience from the bra itself, instead readers are led to believe that this lingerie will help them have the ‘perfect’ body. Furthermore, as mentioned previously, the ad also includes dismemberment.

The presence of the green color above the models forehead which suggests objectification. Also the models legs are cut off below the knee which causes the reader to mostly focus on the core body of the model. This greatly objectives the model and females as a whole in advertising. Furthermore, there is also a bit of clowning present because majority of people do not stand in such a contorted position as the stance of the model. Although the model isn’t necessarily in a foolish or silly position her stance certainly is unnecessarily contorted in order to appear more sexual.

These gender representations lead to the final conclusion that women are sexual objects to be looked at and played with (Duncan p. 48) All the elements used to construct the ad lead us to the general meaning of the ad: Sex. The meaning is so clear that it is even explicitly written within the ad. The models ‘look’ establishes the preferred reading. The preferred interpretation is that through the purchase of the CK One clothing line you will gain confidence and become sexually appealing while being fun and rebellious.

Advertisers use body obsession and female insecurities to help sell products because through the preferred reading consumers believe that will look like the model through the purchase of the product (Duncan p14-15). This leads to us the oppositional reading, it is completely impossible and unrealistic to think that through the purchase of a product you will automatically you will automatically become beautiful and sexualy appealing. The reality is that most photographs of models have been retouched and realistically even the models don't look as good in real life.

Calvin Klein has always used a variety of controversial ads ranging from pictures of a half-naked Kate Moss to an ad featuring young children wearing only Calvin Klein underwear. Shock advertising is used in order to generate more press and more profits. The Ck One is not an exception with its use of the subliminal message featuring the word fuck it is a clear example of shock advertising. Ultimately the theme of the ad comes down to rebellious sex. The CK One ad uses a variety of different elements in order to sell its products. First it employs the use of stereotypical gender representations.

Although the model is in a ‘powerful’ position as she is staring directly at the camera and looking slightly downwards, she still in an overly sexual stance with very little clothes on. The models brain has been covered with a different color giving off the impression that she is laking intelligence. The model is beautiful and has a ‘perfect’ body. The advertisers played upon female insecurities and there desire for perfection in order to attract customers and make a profit. Another aspect that the advertisers used to attract attention to the ad was the rebellious look and the incorporation of digital media.

The ad gives false promises that through the purchase of Calvin Klein clothing you will be a sexy, young rebel who fits in to the CK One box. Consumers should alway be aware of the image a brand is trying to portray and the affect it has on its target audience. Advertisers are trying to sell a message and our consumer society should be aware of how the advertisements shape and impact our everyday lives.

Updated: Jul 20, 2021
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Deconstruction of an Advertisement. (2018, Sep 27). Retrieved from

Deconstruction of an Advertisement essay
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